KendallB KendallB - 3 months ago 29
React JSX Question

Pass props to parent component in React.js

Is there not a simple way to pass a child's

props
to its parent using events, in React.js?

var Child = React.createClass({
render: function() {
<a onClick={this.props.onClick}>Click me</a>
}
});

var Parent = React.createClass({
onClick: function(event) {
// event.component.props ?why is this not available?
},
render: function() {
<Child onClick={this.onClick} />
}
});


I know you can use controlled components to pass an input's value but it'd be nice to pass the whole kit n' kaboodle. Sometimes the child component contains a set of information you'd rather not have to look up.

Perhaps there's a way to bind the component to the event?

UPDATE – 9/1/2015



After using React for over a year, and spurred on by Sebastien Lorber's answer, I've concluded passing child components as arguments to functions in parents is not in fact the React way, nor was it ever a good idea. I've switched the answer.

Answer

This answer simply handle the case of direct parent-child relationship. When parent and child have potentially a lot of intermediaries, check this answer.

Other solutions are missing the point

While they still work fine, other answers are missing something very important.

Is there not a simple way to pass a child's props to its parent using events, in React.js?

The parent already has that child prop!: if the child has a prop, then it is because its parent provided that prop to the child! Why do you want the child to pass back the prop to the parent, while the parent obviously already has that prop?

Better implementation

Child: it really does not have to be more complicated than that.

var Child = React.createClass({
  render: function () {
    return <button onClick={this.props.onClick}>{this.props.text}</button>;
  },
});

Parent with single child: using the value it passes to the child

var Parent = React.createClass({
  getInitialState: function() {
     return {childText: "Click me! (parent prop)"};
  },
  render: function () {
    return (
      <Child onClick={this.handleChildClick} text={this.state.childText}/>
    );
  },
  handleChildClick: function(event) {
     // You can access the prop you pass to the children 
     // because you already have it! 
     // Here you have it in state but it could also be
     //  in props, coming from another parent.
     alert("The Child button text is: " + this.state.childText);
     // You can also access the target of the click here 
     // if you want to do some magic stuff
     alert("The Child HTML is: " + event.target.outerHTML);
  }
});

JsFiddle

Parent with list of children: you still have everything you need on the parent and don't need to make the child more complicated.

var Parent = React.createClass({
  getInitialState: function() {
     return {childrenData: [
         {childText: "Click me 1!", childNumber: 1},
         {childText: "Click me 2!", childNumber: 2}
     ]};
  },
  render: function () {
    var children = this.state.childrenData.map(function(childData,childIndex) {
        return <Child onClick={this.handleChildClick.bind(null,childData)} text={childData.childText}/>;
    }.bind(this));
    return <div>{children}</div>;
  },

  handleChildClick: function(childData,event) {
     alert("The Child button data is: " + childData.childText + " - " + childData.childNumber);
     alert("The Child HTML is: " + event.target.outerHTML);
  }
});

JsFiddle

It is also possible to use this.handleChildClick.bind(null,childIndex) and then use this.state.childrenData[childIndex]

Note we are binding with a null context because otherwise React issues a warning related to its autobinding system. Using null means you don't want to change the function context. See also.

About encapsulation and coupling in other answers

This is for me a bad idea in term of coupling and encapsulation:

var Parent = React.createClass({
  handleClick: function(childComponent) {
     // using childComponent.props
     // using childComponent.refs.button
     // or anything else using childComponent
  },
  render: function() {
    <Child onClick={this.handleClick} />
  }
});

Using props: As I explained above, you already have the props in the parent so it's useless to pass the whole child component to access props.

Using refs: You already have the click target in the event, and in most case this is enough. Additionnally, you could have used a ref directly on the child:

<Child ref="theChild" .../>

And access the DOM node in the parent with

React.findDOMNode(this.refs.theChild)

For more advanced cases where you want to access multiple refs of the child in the parent, the child could pass all the dom nodes directly in the callback.

The component has an interface (props) and the parent should not assume anything about the inner working of the child, including its inner DOM structure or which DOM nodes it declares refs for. A parent using a ref of a child means that you tightly couple the 2 components.

To illustrate the issue, I'll take this quote about the Shadow DOM, that is used inside browsers to render things like sliders, scrollbars, video players...:

They created a boundary between what you, the Web developer can reach and what’s considered implementation details, thus inaccessible to you. The browser however, can traipse across this boundary at will. With this boundary in place, they were able to build all HTML elements using the same good-old Web technologies, out of the divs and spans just like you would.

The problem is that if you let the child implementation details leak into the parent, you make it very hard to refactor the child without affecting the parent. This means as a library author (or as a browser editor with Shadow DOM) this is very dangerous because you let the client access too much, making it very hard to upgrade code without breaking retrocompatibility.

If Chrome had implemented its scrollbar letting the client access the inner dom nodes of that scrollbar, this means that the client may have the possibility to simply break that scrollbar, and that apps would break more easily when Chrome perform its auto-update after refactoring the scrollbar... Instead, they only give access to some safe things like customizing some parts of the scrollbar with CSS.

About using anything else

Passing the whole component in the callback is dangerous and may lead novice developers to do very weird things like calling childComponent.setState(...) or childComponent.forceUpdate(), or assigning it new variables, inside the parent, making the whole app much harder to reason about.