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Simple API to embed Elm 0.19 elements in React
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README.md

@elm-react/component

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The goal of this library is to make trying out Elm in your existing React code-base as easy as possible! After all most companies that decide to try Elm do so incrementally. Try it out!

If you're looking for a library with more explicit control over ports, check out react-elm-components.

Install

Using npm:

npm i -S @elm-react/component

Using yarn:

yarn add @elm-react/component

Setting up Elm & React

This readme only covers the most common setup for Elm + React web projects. If your needs deviate from this, you should find the information you need on the Elm website.

Webpack

Regardless of which method you choose, please visit the Assets section of the readme to ensure you are only bundling a single Elm runtime in your application.

Adding Elm to your existing webpack configuration is fairly easy through the use of elm-webpack-loader, which has instructions to set it up here. After you've set this up, you should be able to import Elm modules as seen below.

If instead you are using Create React App (which significantly limits configurability), you can visit the CRA example in this repo which should guide you through that process.

Parcel

Although Webpack is the most well known file bundler, Parcel is a great alternative, especially if you're using Elm! Converting your existing webpack configuration is often just a matter of deleting all of your webpack configuration files and packages, installing parcel instead and changing your npm scripts. It supports Elm, React and many other common tooling with no configuration. Best of all, there are plans with Parcel 2.0 to potentially resolve the assets issue!

Usage

The goal of this library is to adopt familiar patterns from both React & Elm. With React we just use props:

// Counter.jsx

import wrap from '@elm-react/component'

import Counter from './Counter.elm'

export default wrap(Counter)
// App.jsx

import React, { useState } from 'react';

import Counter from './Counter'

function App() {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0)

  return (
    <div className="App">
      <Counter
        className="counter"
        value={count}
        onChange={(change) => setCount(count + change)}
      />
    </div>
  );
}

And with Elm you just create an element and use ports:

-- Counter.elm

port className : (String -> msg) -> Sub msg


port value : (Int -> msg) -> Sub msg


port onChange : Int -> Cmd msg

...

main : Program Flags Model Msg
main =
    Browser.element
        { view = view
        , update = update
        , init = init
        , subscriptions = subscriptions
        }

The library will automatically convert React props to Elm ports:

  • function props are converted to outgoing ports in Elm
  • all other props are converted to incoming ports in Elm (subscriptions)

these functions are capable of receiving a single argument from the Elm element

Opts

path?: string[]

path is only necessary when using an Elm instance containing multiple modules. This happens when you pass multiple Elm files to the compiler.

Example:

module Page.Home translates to the path: ['Page', 'Home']

Complex Props

There are two things you can pass in as props to an Elm component (provided you have defined their respective ports). As you saw above, you can pass in functions which will automatically be translated to outgoing ports, and you can pass in objects & primitives which get translated to incoming ports. Where this breaks down is objects that contain functions as properties.

For example:

const MyElmComponent = wrap(MyElmModule)

export default () => (
  function onChange () {
    console.log('I changed!')
  }
  <MyElmComponent info={{ onChange, value: 1 }} />
)

This snippet is passing a complex object that contains a function as one of its properties. While this is completely valid, this will be translated to an incoming port, giving you no way to access the function because you can't decode it! In most cases, it's better to flatten your state like this:

const MyElmComponent = wrap(MyElmModule)

export default () => (
  function onChange () {
    console.log('I changed!')
  }
  <MyElmComponent onChange={onChange} value={1} />
)

Now you can access all values, with the added benefit of having an easier time writing the decoder for the port.

Common Pitfalls

There is a drawback to having props automatically injected into an Elm element in that you have to be more aware of what is rendering your Elm components. For example, react-router injects props into every component it renders, which is probably not what you want. Currently the advice is to explicitly pass props to your Elm component. If this affects you and you have ideas on how to improve it, please feel free to open an issue with your ideas.

Asset Size

Generally, Elm produces very small assets when compared to other frameworks (like React and Angular). Similar to those other frameworks though, it requires a runtime to operate. This is dealt with by the Elm compiler and isn't typically something you have to worry about, but in the case of using multiple Browser.element's, it's easy to accidentally bundle multiple instances of the Elm runtime into your app. Luckily, it's also easy to avoid!

With elm-webpack-loader

elm-webpack-loader documents how to bundle multiple modules with the same Elm runtime here.

With CRA

There is currently an issue open on the @elm-react/rescripts-elm package to deal with this problem.

With Parcel

There is currently an issue open on the [parcel](https://github.com/parcel-bundler/parcel) package to resolve this issue.

Create React App

Create React App (CRA) abstracts the configuration away from the user. This is great when you don't have the time or knowledge to maintain a react configuration, but it results in roadblocks when you want to customize behaviour yourself.

Fortunately, @rescripts/cli alleviates this difficulty to some extent. And paired with @elm-react/rescripts-elm, it's actually quite easy to get started with Elm in a CRA project.

You can see an example of this in action here

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