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ReactPhoenix for Phoenix < 1.3

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Functions to make rendering React.js components easy in Phoenix.

Combined with the javascript also included in this package, rendering React components in your Phoenix views is now much easier. The module was built with Brunch in mind (vs Webpack). Since Phoenix uses Brunch by default, this package can make getting React into your application much faster than switching over to a different system.

Installation in 3 (or 4) EASY STEPS!

This package is meant to be quick and painless to install into your Phoenix application. It is assumed that you have already brought React into your application through npm.

Would you rather watch a video? Watch me set it all up from mix to rendering a React component in 4 minutes here.

1. Declare the dependency

The package can be installed by adding react_phoenix to your list of dependencies in mix.exs:

def deps do
  [{:react_phoenix, "~> 0.4.3"}]

After adding to your mix file, run:

> mix deps.get

2. Add the javascript dependency to package.json

In order to correctly render a React component in your view templates, a provided javascript file must be included in your package.json file in the dependencies section. It might look like this:

  "dependencies": {
    "babel-preset-react": "^6.23.0",
    "minions.css": "^0.3.1",
    "phoenix": "file:deps/phoenix",
    "phoenix_html": "file:deps/phoenix_html",
    "react": "^15.4.2",
    "react-dom": "^15.4.2",

    "react-phoenix": "file:deps/react_phoenix" <-- ADD THIS!

Then run

> npm install

3. Import and initialize the javascript helper

In your main application javascript file (usually web/static/js/app.js), add the following line:

import "react-phoenix"

4. (optional) Import the module into your views for less typing

If you'd like to just call react_component(...) in your views instead of the full ReactPhoenix.ClientSide.react_component(...), you can import ReactPhoenix.ClientSide into your web/web.ex views section. It might look like this:

def view do
  quote do
    use Phoenix.View, root: "web/templates"

    import Phoenix.Controller, only: [get_csrf_token: 0, get_flash: 2, view_module: 1]

    use Phoenix.HTML

    import MyPhoenixApp.Router.Helpers
    import MyPhoenixApp.ErrorHelpers
    import MyPhoenixApp.Gettext

    import ReactPhoenix.ClientSide # <-- ADD THIS!


Once installed, you can use react_component in your views by:

  1. Making sure that the component you'd like rendered is in the global namespace. You can do that in app.js like this (for example):

    import MyComponent from "./components/my_component"
    window.Components = {
  2. In your view template, you can then render it like this:

    # with no props
    <%= ReactPhoenix.ClientSide.react_component("Components.MyComponent") %>
    # with props
    <%= ReactPhoenix.ClientSide.react_component("Components.MyComponent", %{language: "elixir", awesome: true}) %>
    # with props and a target html element id option
    <span id="my-react-span"></span>
    <%= ReactPhoenix.ClientSide.react_component("Components.Characters", %{people: people}, target_id: "my-react-span") %>

    This will render a special div element in your html output that will then be recognized by the javascript helper as a div that should be turned into a React component. It will then render the named component in that div (or a different element specified by ID via the target_id option).


  • I keep getting a compilation error like this

      19 Apr 20:52:40 - error: Compiling of web/static/js/component.js failed. SyntaxError: web/static/js/component.js: Unexpected token (10:6)
       8 |   render() {
       9 |     return (
    > 10 |       <h1>You rendered React!</h1>
         |       ^
      11 |     )
      12 |   }
      13 | } ^G

    Most likely, you haven't set up your brunch config to know how to handle JSX files. I recommend the following:

    1. Run npm install react babel-preset-react babel-preset-env --save

    2. Modify your brunch-config.js file to include those presets

      // ...
      // Configure your plugins
      plugins: {
        babel: {
          presets: ["env", "react"], // <-- ADD THIS!
          // Do not use ES6 compiler in vendor code
          ignore: [/web\/static\/vendor/]
      // ...

Documentation and other stuff

This package is heavily inspired by the react-rails project.

For more detailed documentation, check out the hex docs at