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React autodoc is the foundation for generating the documentation for your React Components. React provides a built-in mechanism for runtime property validation. If you opt-in to using these, you can use this tool to automate your documentation similar to what JSDoc provides for raw functions.

react-autodoc contains two pieces. The primary piece is the Autodoc React component.

The second piece is opt-in. It is a webpack esprima-loader transformer that will modify your source code to include the annotations that Autodoc requires.


// button.js
var Button = React.createClass({
  propTypes: {
    state: React.PropTypes.oneOf(['active', 'disabled', 'focused']),
    modifier: React.PropTypes.oneOf(['primary', 'secondary']).isRequired,
    children: React.PropTypes.any.isRequired,

  render() {
    // using Suit.css semantics
    var uiState = this.props.state ? `is-${this.props.state}` : '';
    var modifier = this.props.modifier ? `Button--${this.props.modifier}` : '';
    return (
      <button className={`Button ${uiState} ${modifier}`}>

// button.autodoc.js

var React = require('react');
var Autodoc = require('react-autodoc');
var Button = require('./button');

var AutodocButton = React.createClass({
  render() {
    return (
      <Autodoc component={Button} />

This will produce a table that looks like a richer version of the following:

Autodoc for Button

Property Key Type Required Default Value
state enum<active/disabled/focused> false 'active'
modifier enum<primary/secondary> true
children any true

Why the webpack loader?

Webpack is a module loader that understands your entire dependency graph. It also has great support for loaders and transformations for pretty much anything.

Using webpack provides the convenience of builds for different environments so you don’t have to add the any overhead to your project in production, but can easily include in development or qa environments.

The inline version of the propType annotations looks something like this:

  propTypes: {
    state: (
      (var tmp = React.PropTypes.oneOf(['active', 'disabled', 'focused'])),
      tmp.annotations = {type: 'enum<active|disabled|focused>'}, tmp
    modifier: (
      (var tmp = React.PropTypes.oneOf(['primary', 'secondary']).isRequired),
      tmp.annotations = {type: 'enum<primary|secondary>', isRequired: true}, tmp
    children: (
      (var tmp = React.PropTypes.any.isRequired),
      (tmp.annotations = {type: 'any', isRequired: true}), tmp

Alternatives to inline annotations that can still be explored are:

  1. Output the annotated date to a dynamic file for react-autodoc which can resolve the annotations by looking up a given ReactComponent.displayName.
  2. Monkey patching React.PropTypes with runtime hints to what properties are available. Some immediate trade-offs is we can’t provide rich views into CallExpression propTypes such as oneOf or shape.

React Autodoc Expected Annotations

The tests/annotationsFor.js file contains the expected annotations for Autodoc. Implementing this interface will give you the freedom to build on top of either side of the Autodoc. You are free to reimplement <Autodoc /> or add your own build-step transformations to handle the annotating.

MIT License

Copyright 2015 Skookum Digital Works, Inc. All Right Reserved


React component to display documentation and accompanying esprima-loader transformers.




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