React components for implementing UI experiments
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README.md

react-experiments

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react-experiments is a set of React components for implementing UI experiments.

For additional context behind why we built this, check out the accompanying blog post

Installation

npm install react-experiments

Usage

If you are using React 0.14 the latest supported version is 4.1.0

react-experiments was built to work with PlanOut.js and most of its constructs are inspired by the structure of PlanOut.js. This library will work out of the box if you pass it an instantiated PlanOut Namespace or Experiment class, but if you want to use your own methods of assigning experiment parameters and logging exposure then you can extend the base experiment class and pass that as the experiment class prop.

Implementing a simple experiment

This library serves as a way to declaratively implement UI experiments that are defined via PlanOut. The standard usage of this library is as follows:

  1. Define experiment via PlanOut script / API. The PlanOut parameters that you set should map to the props on which you want to run an experiment. Let's use the sample PlanOut.js experiment as an example, which is effectively:
signupText = uniformChoice(choices=['Signup', 'Join now'])
  1. Wrap the component where you want to implement your UI experiment with the parametrize function provided by the library along with an instantiated experiment class and the specific parameter names that you want to parametrize the component with. As an example,
const Signup = parametrize(DummyExperiment, ['signupText'], React.createClass({
  render() {
    return (
      <div>
        {this.props.signupText}
      </div>
    );
  }
}));

Now you should be all set to run the sample experiment. The Signup component will render 'Sign up' or 'Join now' based on the randomized parameter assigned by PlanOut.js.

To put it all together,

exp = new DummyExperiment({ id: 'this_is_the_user_id'});

let Signup = parametrize(exp, ['signupText'], React.createClass({
  render() {
    return (
      <div>
        {this.props.signupText}
      </div>
    );
  }
}));

let Parent = React.createClass({
  render() {
    ...
    <Signup />
  }
});

Base Parametrize Component

The implementation of all the components provided by this library are wrappers around a base Parametrize component. The Parametrize component allows for parametrizing a given component with experiment parameters. The following are the props that the Parametrize component takes:

experiment: This is an instance of a PlanOut.js experiment/namespace class or the base Experiment class. [REQUIRED]

params: This is the list of experiment parameters that you want to use to parametrize the component. They should correspond to the parameter names defined in your PlanOut script / experiment definition. [REQUIRED]

[any arbitrary prop]: You can pass arbitrary props to the Parametrize component and they will be available via context.experimentProps in all descendants of the Parametrize component.

Higher-order Parametrization Components

There are two primary higher-order components to use for parametrization.

parametrize: The parametrize function takes an instantiated experiment class, either an experiment name or a list of params, and a React component. It takes the given component and sets the deterministically and randomly assigned experiment parameters of the experiment class as props.

parametrize(exp, ['signupText'], React.createClass({..}));

withExperimentParams: The withExperimentParams function is used in combination with the base Parametrize component. It is useful when running an experiment with nested components, but generally the parametrize function should be preferred.

const Parent = createReactClass({
  render() {
    return (
      <Parametrize experiment={exp} params={['signup_form_text', 'signup_nav_text']}>
        <SignupHeader />
        <SignupForm />
      </Parametrize>
    );
  }
});

const SignupHeader = withExperimentParams(createReactClass({
  render() {
    return (
      <div>
        {this.props.signup_nav_text}
      </div>
    );
  }
});

const SignupForm = withExperimentParams(createReactClass({
  render() {
    return (
      <div>
        {this.props.signup_form_text}
      </div>
    );
  }
});

Running A/B Variation experiments:

There are two common types of experimental parameters:

  1. Parameters that correspond to parametrizations of existing variables and components. For instance, if one is running an experiment to test which shade of blue optimizes the click rate of the button, then the values to which your experiment parameters map would correspond to something such as the different hex codes for the different shades of blue.

  2. "Branching" parameters where the parameter values correspond to different "variations" of the experiment. For instance, if one is testing two completely different user interfaces then it wouldn't make sense to parametrize every aspect that has changed, but rather to bin users into either 'Variation A' or 'Variation B'.

While the core component of this library focuses on the first type of parameter, it also includes some convenience components built around the Parametrize component for running "branching" experiments using the ABTest component.

<ABTest on='foo' experiment={TestNamespace}>
  <When value='foobar'>
    variation 1
  </When>
  <When value='bar'>
    variation 2
  </When>
  <When value='test'>
    variation 3
  </When>
  <Default>
    variation default
  </Default>
</ABTest>

The ABTest component above branches off the value of this.props.experiment.get(this.props.on);, TestNamespace.get('foo') in this case, and renders the When component where ABTest.props.experiment.get(ABTest.props.on) === ABTest.props.value. If it doesn't find a corresponding When component to render then the Default component will render. This component makes implementing an experiment using "branching" parameters easy.

The ABTest component takes the following as props:

experiment - an instantiated PlanOut namespace/experiment class or a custom Experiment class. [REQUIRED]

on - the parameter name to "branch" off [REQUIRED]

Customized Experiment Components

If you want to create your own experiment component you can extend the base Parametrize component.

Logging

react-experiments deals with logging experiment exposure. All the components provided by this library trigger an exposure log when the component is mounted.

Development

This project is written using ES6 and all build steps / transpilation are done by webpack. Be sure to run npm install to install the necessary development dependencies. In order to develop and test locally, it is necessary to simply run the build.sh shell script which will take care of transpiling to ES5 and running tests.

To test API changes locally, open the examples/index.html file locally after building with your most recent changes. The index.html file contains a simple example of using this library paired with the PlanOut.js sample experiment.

Please be sure to add tests to this project when making changes. This project uses Jest for running tests. Tests can be run either by building the project using build.sh or by using npm test.