Demo for article showing how to use TS and TSX with Vue
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README.md

Create a new app by running vue create tsx_adder.

For each of prompts:

  • The only feature we want is TypeScript and Babel, so select those two.
  • We do not want the class-style component syntax
  • no need for babel in this simple demo
  • select "in dedicated files" for the config

Once that has finished installing, cd tsx_adder. We need one dependency to be able to use TSX. That is vue-tsx-support. Install in by running vue add tsx-support. We will also demonstrate Vuex with TypeScript, so add it with yarn add vuex.

The app we are building will look like this:

You can select a sign, and it will perform the calculation.

Structure

The application will have two components: App.tsx and Adder.tsx. The App.tsx will connect to the Vuex store and pass props to the Adder, which is the presentation component that will handle the layout and UI. As per the container/presenter pattern (also known as smart/dumb, container/component), In a large app, you would probably have an AdderContainer.tsx, but for simplicity I am just using App.tsx to interface with the store. Adder.tsx receives data from the store via props, and communicates with the parent by emitting events. This will let us demonstrate:

  • typesafe props, including complex types like Enums and Objects
  • typechecked events between the parent/child component
  • how to get type inference and type safety with Vuex State in components

Start off by converting App.vue to App.tsx. Update it to contain the following:

import * as tsx from 'vue-tsx-support'
import { VNode } from 'vue'

const App = tsx.component({
  name: 'App',

  render(): VNode {
    return (
      <Adder />
    )
  }
})

export { App }

Since we haven't created Adder.tsx yet, create it: components/Adder.tsx. Inside components/Adder.tsx, add the following bare-bones component:

import * as tsx from 'vue-tsx-support'
import { VNode } from 'vue'

const Adder = tsx.component({
  name: 'Adder',

  render(): VNode {
    return (
      <div>Adder</div>
    )
  }
})

export { Adder }

Now import it in App.tsx: import { Adder } from './components/Adder'. Lastly, head to main.ts and change import App from './App.vue to import { App } from './App'. Run yarn serve (or npm run serve). localhost:8080 should show the following:

Typesafe Props

The first thing we will demonstrate is typesafe props, including both primitives (like Number and Boolean) as well as complex types, like Enum. In Adder.tsx, add the following:

props: {
  left: {
    type: Number,
    required: true as true
  },

  right: {
    type: Number,
    required: true as true
  }
},

One caveat is you need to type true as true to get TypeScript to check the props at compile time. It is discussed breifly here. One you add that, if your editor supports TypeScript (for example VS Code), head back to App.tsx, and you should see an error, and <Adder > has a red line under it. Towards the end of the error message, it says Type '{}' is missing the following properties from type '{ left: number; right: number; }': left, right. Let's provide left and right in App.tsx:

render(): VNode {
  return (
    <Adder 
      left={5}
      right={3}
    />
  )
}

Try passing a string instead - TypeScript will warn us the prop type is incorrect.

Next, let's add a more complex type - an enum. Create a directory called types under src, and inside it a sign.ts file with the following:

enum Sign {
  'x' = 'x',
  '/' = '/',
  '+' = '+',
  '-' = '-'
}

export { Sign }

Next update Adder.tsx:

import { Sign } from '@/types/sign'

// ...

props: {
  selectedSign: {
    type: String as () => Sign,
    required: true as true
  }
}

Another unforunately hack, which shows some of the limits of Vue's TS support is `String as () => Sign`. Since our `Sign` enum is just Strings, we do `String as () => ...`. If it was an enum of `Object` or `Array`, we would type `Array as () => MyComplexArrayType[]`. More information about this is found [here](https://frontendsociety.com/using-a-typescript-interfaces-and-types-as-a-prop-type-in-vuejs-508ab3f83480).

Head back to `App.tsx`, and you'll see another error around `<Adder />`. Fix it by adding the following:

```tsx
// ...
import { Sign } from '@/types/sign'

// ...

  render(): VNode {
    return (
      <Adder 
        left={5}
        right={3}
        selectedSign={Sign['+']}
      />
    )
  }

Typesafe Events

Now let's see how to have typechecked events. We want the adder to emit a changeSign event when any of the four signs are clicked. This can be achieved using componentFactoryOf, documented here. Start by updating App.tsx:

// imports...
const App = tsx.component({
  name: 'App',

  methods: {
    changeSign(sign: Sign) {

    }
  },

  render(): VNode {
    return (
      <Adder 
        left={5}
        right={3}
        selectedSign={Sign['+']}
        onChangeSign={this.changeSign}
      />
    )
  }
})

export { App }

<Adder /> has an error again: Property 'onChangeSign' does not exist on type '({ props: .... That's because we are passing a prop that Adder doesn't expect.

Add the following to Adder.tsx:

interface IEvents {
  onChangeSign: (sign: Sign) => void
}

const Adder = tsx.componentFactoryOf<IEvents>().create({

  // ...
})

Now the error is gone. Try changing the signature of changeSign(sign: Sign) to changeSign(sign: Number) - TS warns you the parameter has the incorrect type, very cool. Read more about componentFactoryOf here.

Two last things to complete the Adder.tsx component. First, add the following interface at the top, and data function:

// imports ...
interface IAdderData {
  signs: Sign[]
}

const Adder = tsx.componentFactoryOf<IEvents>().create({
  // ...
  
  data(): IAdderData {
    return {
      signs: [
        Sign["+"],
        Sign["-"],
        Sign["x"],
        Sign["/"]
      ]
    }
  }

Lastly, let's add the render function for Adder.tsx. It isn't anything special, so I won't go into detail.

render(): VNode {
  const { signs, left, right, selectedSign } = this

  return (
    <div class='wrapper'>
      <div class='inner'>
        <div class='number'>
          {left}
        </div>

        <div class='signs'>
          {signs.map(sign =>
            <span 
              class={sign === selectedSign ? 'selected sign' : 'sign'}
              onClick={() => this.$emit('changeSign', sign)}
            >
              {sign}
            </span>)
          }
        </div>

        <div class='number'>
          {right}
        </div>
      </div>

      <div class='result'>
        <span>
          Result: {this.$slots.result}
        </span>
      </div>
    </div>
  )
}

One small caveat is we define the event interface as onChangeSign, but we emit changeSign.

To make the app look a bit better, here is some css. Create components/adder.css and insert to following:

.wrapper, .signs {
  display: flex;
  flex-direction: column;
  width: 200px;
}

.signs {
  align-items: center;
}

.sign {
  cursor: pointer;
  border: 2px solid rgba(100, 100, 20, 0.4);
  padding: 5px;
  width: 30px;
  height: 30px;
  margin: 5px;
  display: flex;
  justify-content: center;
  align-items: center;
}

.selected {
  background-color: rgba(0, 0, 255, 0.4);
}

.inner {
  display: flex;
  justify-content: space-between;
}

.number {
  font-size: 2.5em;
}

.result {
  font-size: 3em;
}

Then do import './adder.css' at the top of Adder.tsx. The page now looks like this:

Let's add Vuex and make the buttons work now.

Adding a Typesafe Vuex store

The next step for the app is adding a (somewhat) typsafe Vuex store. Make a store folder inside of src, then inside of store create index.ts and calculation.ts. Inside store/index.ts, add the following:

import Vue from 'vue'
import Vuex from 'vuex'

import { calculation, ICalculationState } from './calculation'

Vue.use(Vuex)

interface IState {
  calculation: ICalculationState
}

const store = new Vuex.Store<IState>({
  modules: {
    calculation
  }
})

export { store, IState } 

Nothing especially exciting - we just define a new Veux store, and pass a calculation module, which we are going to make now. In calculation.ts add the following:

import { Module } from 'vuex'

interface ICalculationState {
  left: number
  right: number
}

const calculation: Module<ICalculationState, {}> = {
  state: {
    left: 3,
    right: 1
  }
}

export {
  calculation,
  ICalculationState
}

We define a calculation module, with the left and right values in the state. Import it in main.ts:

import Vue from 'vue'
import { App } from './App'
import { store } from '@/store'

Vue.config.productionTip = false

new Vue({
  store,
  render: h => h(App)
}).$mount('#app')

Let's use these values in the app now. Update App.tsx:

import * as tsx from 'vue-tsx-support'
import { VNode } from 'vue'
import { Adder } from './components/Adder'

import { Sign } from '@/types/sign'
import { IState } from '@/store'

const App = tsx.component({
  name: 'App',

  computed: {
    left(): number {
      return (this.$store.state as IState).calculation.left
    },

    right(): number {
      return (this.$store.state as IState).calculation.right
    }
  },

  methods: {
    changeSign(sign: Sign) {

    }
  },

  render(): VNode {
    return (
      <Adder 
        left={this.left}
        right={this.right}
        selectedSign={Sign['+']}
        onChangeSign={this.changeSign}
      />
    )
  }
})

export { App }

We need to type (this.$store.state as IState) to get typechecking on the store modules. There are other alternatives that will let you get type checking without casting this.$state to IState, but I've been using this pattern and found it pretty good so far.

Adding a Mutation

Let's add a mutation. The goal will be to save the selectedSign in the state, and update it with a mutation. Update calculation.ts:

import { Module } from 'vuex'

import { Sign } from '@/types/sign'

interface ICalculationState {
  left: number
  right: number
  sign: Sign
}

const SET_SIGN = 'SET_SIGN'

const calculation: Module<ICalculationState, {}> = {
  namespaced: true,

  state: {
    left: 3,
    right: 1,
    sign: Sign['+']
  },

  mutations: {
    [SET_SIGN](state, payload: Sign) {
      state.sign = payload
    }
  }
}

export {
  calculation,
  ICalculationState
}

We added a SET_SIGN mutation. The type of state is interferred, since we passed in ICalculationState to Module when we declared the calculation module. We can use the new mutation in App.tsx:

// ...
  methods: {
    changeSign(sign: Sign) {
      this.$store.commit('calculation/SET_SIGN', sign)
    }
  },
// ...

We do not get any typechecking on the commit handler or payload. This is still a problem I'm exploring solutions to. There are a few solutions out there, but none of which feel clean enough, or require a level of abstraction I'm not happy with. I hope Vuex itself can evolve to provide a better TS experience out of the box in the future. I will propose my solution in a follow up article.

Let's finish the app off. Update App.tsx with the final code, which includes a computer property, result, to calculate the value based on the sign:

import * as tsx from 'vue-tsx-support'
import { VNode } from 'vue'
import { Adder } from './components/Adder'

import { Sign } from '@/types/sign'
import { IState } from '@/store'

const App = tsx.component({
  name: 'App',

  computed: {
    left(): number {
      return (this.$store.state as IState).calculation.left
    },

    right(): number {
      return (this.$store.state as IState).calculation.right
    },

    sign(): Sign {
      return (this.$store.state as IState).calculation.sign
    },

    result(): number {
      switch (this.sign) {
        case Sign['+']:
          return this.left + this.right
        case Sign['-']:
          return this.left - this.right
        case Sign['x']:
          return this.left * this.right
        case Sign['/']:
          return this.left / this.right
      }
    }
  },

  methods: {
    changeSign(sign: Sign) {
      this.$store.commit('calculation/SET_SIGN', sign)
    }
  },

  render(): VNode {
    return (
      <Adder 
        left={this.left}
        right={this.right}
        selectedSign={this.sign}
        onChangeSign={this.changeSign}
      >
        <div slot='result'>
          {this.result}
        </div>
      </Adder>
    )
  }
})

export { App }

Now the app looks like this:

Clicking the signs updates the result based on the calculation.

Improvements and Conclusion

This article demonstrates:

  • creating Vue components using tsx
  • Typesafe props and events
  • Typesafety for this.$store by using an interface

Some improvements I'd like to cover in a future article include:

  • Typesafe getters, commit(mutation) and dispatch(action)

The source code for this article is available here.