React forms made simple
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README.md

LinkValue

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LinkValue is a tiny library designed for making complex forms in React easier to build. It allows you to take a large, complicated state object and create value/onChange pairs for smaller chunks of that object. Passing these pairs down to child components allows you to break your form up into small, manageable pieces that remain decoupled from the larger form.

Example

Let's solve the classic problem of making a form to edit items in a list of values. Our container holds the state and renders a Form taking a value (a list of books) and an onChange listener.

class Container extends Component {
  constructor() {
    super()
    this.state = {
      books: [
        {title: 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar', author: 'Eric Carle'},
        {title: 'Possum Magic', author: 'Mem Fox'},
        // ...etc
      ]
    }
  }

  // update the state with a new books array
  handleChange(newBooks) {
    this.setState({books: newBooks})
  }

  // render the Form component taking the array of books and our change handler
  render() {
    return (
      <Form value={this.state.books} onChange={this.handleChange} />
    )
  }
}

Now we can make the Form component. This is taking the entire list of books as its value and will emit the entire list of books on each change. Note the decorator we're using here to add LinkValue to the component then using it with {...this.props.makeLink(path)}.

import linkValue from 'link-value'

@linkValue
class Form extends Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <ul>
        {this.props.value.map((book, i) => (
          <li><BookForm {...this.props.makeLink(i)} /></li>
        ))}
      </ul>
    )
  }
}

That makeLink call in the render of BookForm just made a new value/onChange pair from the value and onChange supplied to the Form. Each of these pairs contains a single book as a value (found using the index (i) passed to makeLink) and an onChange handler that knows how to update just that book. Now we can use these values to render the actual book form:

import linkValue from 'link-value'

@linkValue
class BookForm extends Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <div>
        Title: <input {...this.props.makeLink('title')} />
        Author: <input {...this.props.makeLink('author')} />
      </div>
    )
  }
}

Again, we've used makeLink to make value/onChange pairs for individual fields in a single book. Editing one of these fields will trigger the onChange for the BookForm, which triggers the onChange in the Form which triggers the handleChange up in the Container. At each step, our values are combined so that by the time the event has reached the Container component, the handleChange function receives the entire array of books with just a small part modified.

API

The primary way to use LinkValue is through the decorator. This adds three extra properties to your component, makeLink, makeMergeLink and makeCheckedLink, each taking a path. These are just the following functions with the value and onChange bound to the value and onChange provided to the component. The functions are also available with import { makeLink, makeMergeLink, makeCheckedLink } from 'link-value'.

makeLink(value, onChange, ...path)

Generates an object containing a new value and onChange for a given path.

const books = [{title: 'Old Title', author: 'Old Author'}, ...]
const logChange = newVal => console.log(newVal)

const link = makeLink(books, logChange, 0, 'title')
console.log(link.value) // logs 'Old Title'
link.onChange('New Title') //logs [{title: 'New Title', author: 'Old Author'}, ...]

makeMergeLink(value, onChange, ...path)

Sometimes you don't want the value passed to the onChange to completely replace the contents in the value. In these cases, you want to use makeMergeLink to add the properties to the object instead.

const weather = [
  {city: 'Melbourne', high: 28, low: 12},
  {city: 'Sydney', high: 24, low: 15},
  ...
]
const logChange = newVal => console.log(newVal)

const link = makeMergeLink(value, logChange, 1)
console.log(link.value) // logs {city: 'Sydney', high: 24, low: 15}
link.onChange({high: 30}) // just update the high, logs...
//[
//  {city: 'Melbourne', high: 28, low: 12},
//  {city: 'Sydney', high: 30, low: 15}, // (Note the new high!)
//  ...
//]

If we tried to use makeLink here, the 'Sydney' object would have been completely replaced by an object only containing the 'high'. Using makeMergeLink updated the 'high' on the existing object.

makeCheckedLink(value, onChange, ...path)

Checkboxes are handled a little differently to other inputs in React. For this reason, makeCheckedLink is provided alongside makeLink to deal with these slight differences. Instead of a value/onChange pair being produced, a checked/onChange pair is produced instead.

Contribute

Pull requests welcome. Please make sure tests pass with:

npm test