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ShakaCode's JavaScript Style Guide (Also see our Ruby one:
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ShakaCode's JavaScript style guide. (You should also check out our Ruby style guide)


  • See eslint-config-shakacode for setting up your linter to follow these style guidelines.
  • We recommended:
    • Using a linter to implement any style guideline. We've found style guidelines without linting to be only marginally useful. With a linter, the style guideline is only used as a reference.
    • Minimizing deviations from the community standard unless you have a good reason for your project. The typical reason is that due to some quirk in your project or bug in the linter, then you will get warnings that you can't disable via configuration.
    • You can use eslint-disable and eslint-disable-next-line and eslint-disable-line to locally turn off a linter rule. Typically, you want to minimize doing this as it will clutter your source.
    • Consider using errors for things you must fix before merging to master, and warnings for things your team eventually plans to fix. Then create a script that uses the eslint option --quiet so that eslint only prints errors.
    • Use a YAML file for your eslint rules so you can add comments, such as why you are disabling a linter rule, as well as links to github issues where you've reported a problem.

ShakaCode JavaScript Style Guide

Our JavaScript Style Guide is relatively simple because we're leveraging the Airbnb JavaScript Style Guide and its associated .eslintrc and .jscsrc files.

Here's a few notes on top of that:

  1. Check out the AirBnb React Guide keeping in mind the exceptions listed below.
  2. Use ES6 classes for React components.

Exceptions From AirBnb JavaScript Style Guide (React Guide only)

Use the Official Docs from Facebook

We mostly follow the official FB docs on ES6 for React. We initialize state in the constructor.

Notable differences:

  1. ES7 static syntax for the propTypes and defaultProps
  2. Use lodash _.bindAll for callback bindings.

An example React component:

import React, { PropTypes } from 'react';
import _ from 'lodash';

export default class Counter extends React.Component {

  static propTypes = {
    initialCount: PropTypes.number,

  static defaultProps = {
    initialCount: 0,

  constructor(props) {
    this.state = { count: props.initialCount };

    _.bindAll(this, 'tick');

  tick() {
    this.setState({ count: this.state.count + 1 });

  render() {
    return (
      <div onClick={this.tick}>
        Clicks: {this.state.count}

Root Components

AirBnb on Root components

However, for root components of a directory, use index.jsx as the filename and use the directory name as the component name.

We keep React components together with their styles and test files (GOOD):

  |-- MyComponent.jsx
  |-- MyComponent.scss
  |-- MyComponent.spec.jsx

The following is according to the AirBnb rule, which we believe to be somewhat inconsistent-looking (BAD):

  |-- index.jsx
  |-- MyComponent.scss
  |-- MyComponent.spec.jsx


Airbnb on Ordering

Ordering is almost the same, except for one change: we keep all statics before the constructor.

Here is why:

  • Since we use props in the constructor, it makes sense that we define propTypes as a class static property first.
  • We use static methods as router transition hooks (especially onEnter). These methods run first (before any instance is created) and are not related to the instance, so it makes sense to group them separately by placing them above the constructor.
  • Besides propTypes, there are sometimes other cases where static may be used to describe constants for a component. Since these very well may be used in the constructor, they should be declared first.

Miscellaneous JavaScript

  • Use Redux for your state container.
  • Use Lodash rather than Underscore.
  • With a Rails app, place all JavaScript for the client app in /client
  • Organize your app into high level domains which map to JavaScript bundles. These are like mini-apps that live within your entire app. Create directories named like /client/app/<bundle> and configure Webpack to generate different corresponding bundles.
  • Carefully organize your React components into Smart and Dumb Components:
    1. "dumb" components (also known as "presentational components") live in the /client/app/<bundle>/components/ directories. These components should take props, including values and callbacks, and should not talk directly to Redux or any AJAX endpoints.
    2. "smart" components live in the /client/app/<bundle>/containers/ directory. These components will talk to the Redux store and AJAX endpoints.
  • Place common code shared across bundles in /client/app/libs and configure Webpack to generate a common bundle for this one.
  • Prefix Immutable.js variable names and properties with $$. Doing this makes it clear that you are dealing with an Immutable.js object and not a standard JavaScript Object or Array.
  • Use ES6 classes rather than React.createClass.
  • Bind callbacks passed to react components with _.bindAll in the constructor unless you need to bind additional parameters. In that case, you can call _.bind within the rendering.

Ternary Conditionals Formatting

Ternary conditionals in a method that return JSX should take this form:

someMethod(someBoolean) {
  return (
    someBoolean ?
    <SomeComponent /> :
    <OtherComponent />

When we use parenthesis, we can easily find the end of the expression by the indent guide. Otherwise, we have to scan the lines for the end of the expression, and indent guides look like a fence (they actually lose their meaning):

return (
| ...
| ...

The same can be applied to assignments:

const myConst = ( // <-- Invitation to see the expression on the next line. Result of the expression will be returned.
 ... //  <-- Expression encapsulated here and looks solid, easier to read

Ternary conditionals appearing directly in JSX should take this form:

render() {
  return (
        someBoolean ?
        <SomeComponent /> :
        <OtherComponent />
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