If you’re getting started with trying to understand Redux, it can get a bit daunting especially for beginners. There’s a number of blogs out there on the topic, but they all fall short as they fail to cover the topic comprehensively. In this one, we’ve tried to compile all you need to know to get started with Redux and how begin using it to manage your React apps.

If you’re more comfortable with Video tutorials, you can go through this one by Learn Coding to get a grasp of the basics before reading on.

So, what is Redux actually?

Redux is a conventional state container for JavaScript applications. This state management tool is frequently used with the React JavaScript library, and it helps build web applications that can easily operate in different environments and behave consistently. 

Redux has a large ecosystem of add-ons that ultimately makes it suitable to be used together with React website templates as well as other view libraries. On top of all that, React Redux can easily provide a great and dynamic developer experience, along with many amazing benefits. 

Redux is an efficient framework that controls various states in a JavaScript application. Although this state management tool is frequently used with React admin templates, it’s also works with many other frameworks such as Angular, plain JavaScript, Inferno, and PReact.

Redux framework is a way to manage the  complete state of a JavaScript application through a centralized interface. In Redux each component of a web app can directly access the application’s state without sending down the props to child components.

There are several states in a JavaScript web app that keep on changing on the basis of user behavior, time, and other reasons. For example, creating a new to-do item in a ‘To Do list’ app will eventually change the current state of the application to the new state with the to-do item involved.

Since the state of the application is changed, the view through which the current state is presented with changes, and it eventually allows users to see the new to-do item in their view. However, if the state of an application doesn’t behave as expected, then it’s possibly the right time to debug the app.

As a matter of fact, real-world applications are very complex, and there are certain factors that could actually make the app debugging process eccentric and unconventional. Some of these factors include framework design flaws, bad coding habits, less time invested in writing unit tests, etc.

Now, this is where the Redux frameworks come into play. Redux frameworks are specifically designed to alleviate the debugging process. This state management tool of JavaScript applications not only simplifies redundant aspects but also helps extend the ideas of Flux.

How does the Redux framework work?

Redux is one of the JavaScript libraries that allow users to integrate as well as implement sophisticated state management into their web applications. The Redux framework goes beyond React’s local state of a component, and this is why React web applications are best suited for Redux frameworks.

The Redux framework can further be broken down into the following:

1. Store – This component is meant for managing the state of the application. In fact, there is a ‘dispatch’ method within the Redux framework that is used to dispatch an action. In a React Redux web app, you can obtain the states with the help of the command  ‘store.getState ()’. 

2. Action – It’s basically a plain and simple JavaScript object, and it’s also considered to be the main command for changing the state of web apps. 

3. Reducer – This JavaScript object decides on changing the state once the action is received, and hence, it is considered as the entrance of a state change. It’s essential to learn that a reducer is well integrated with functions, and it’s meant to change the state of web apps by accepting actions as arguments.

4. Middleware – This JavaScript component acts as a middleman between a reducer and a ‘store.dispatch’ file. The main purpose of middleware is to intercept a dispatched action, and modify or cancel the action before it reaches the reducer.

Basics of React Redux

React Redux has espoused a handful of limitations and restraints from the Flux architecture. It includes actions that are responsible for encapsulating the required information for the action state update. It also incorporates a Redux Store to save the current state of the application. However, the Redux Store is a singleton entity and React Redux does not include multiple storing, like in the Flux architecture.

In addition to Actions and Redux Store, React Redux also comprises multiple reducers. These reducers basically pick up the information/data from actions and reduce it to a new state. So, after the state of the Redux Store is changed, the apps view act on the state by subscribing to the Redux Store.

Redux combines two major terms: Reducer and Flux. Redux doesn’t allow the app’s state to live in the view. Being a part of the unidirectional data flow, Redux frameworks are connected on two ends.

One end is responsible for triggering an action whereas the other end receives the state from the store. This is the main reason why the web app’s view updates according to the app’s state changes. However, in this case, the app’s view is React, and Redux is used as a standalone or in connection with other libraries.

Action(s)

Action is a JavaScript object in React Redux that has a particular type along with an optional payload. This JS object’s type is string literal and is often referred to as ‘action type.’ On the other hand, the payload in Redux can vary from a string to an object.

Executing any action in React Redux is called dispatching. React Redux allows the users to dispatch an action to change the current state in the Redux Store. However, an action can only be dispatched when the current state of JS apps need to be changed or altered.

In addition to this, the dispatching of an action is often triggered in the view, and it’s as simple as clicking on the HTML button. As a matter of fact, the payload in the Redux action is not compulsory, which means that the users can define actions only according to the action type.

Reducer(s)

Reducers are the next essential part in the React Redux chain of unidirectional data flow. A reducer is basically a pure function that produces the same output every time in case of the same input.

As a matter of fact, the reducer is the only input/output operation that has two inputs: state and action. It not only reduces the previous state but also alters the incoming action to the new state. Reducers have no side effects, and apart from the functional programming principles, this JavaScript object encompasses immutable data structures.

Action Type

React Redux uses only payload to produce a new state while ignoring the action type. Basically, when the action object connects with the reducers, its action type is evaluated. It’s only when the reducer cares about the action type that the new state is produced for JavaScript based web applications.

However, if the reducer ignores the action type, then it simply returns to the previous state. It’s essential for you to know that in a JavaScript based framework or library, such kind of a switch case proves to be extremely helpful in evaluating different action types.

The functionalities like actions and reducers are plain JavaScripts that do not require any additional function from the React Redux library. It’s only the JavaScript framework with functional programming principles and no hidden library magic that alters as well as manages the state of JavaScript based applications.

Redux Store

React Redux includes no multiple states, and it’s the Redux Store that holds one global state object. The Redux Store offers ways to trigger the state updates alongside reducing the previous states and actions to new states. 

The store is actually one instance in every JavaScript based web application that glues the basic components of React Redux, and at the same time, delegates the actions to the reducer. The users and web app developers can easily use Redux Store to craft a store singleton instance.

Simple Styling for React Redux Components

It’s a well-known fact that web applications look very dull without proper styling of its components. Therefore, you can consider choosing some unique and interactive styles for your JavaScript app’s components in order to make them catchy and impressive.

● Firstly, you can consider adding some wide application style to your JavaScript based web application. You can define this wide application style in the ‘src/index.css’ file.

● Secondly, you can define a few CSS classes for your JavaScript based app’s components within the ‘src/components/App.css’ file.

● After defining the CSS classes, you can consider defining the style in the Stories component within the ‘src/components/stories.css’ file.

● Finally, you can define styles for story components in the ‘src/components/story.css’ file.

Once you start your JavaScript based application again after defining styles for basic React Redux components, it will eventually seem a lot more organized and well-styled. However, make sure that the columns of each story within your JS app are properly aligned and there is a heading for each column.  

Integrating React Redux within a User interface

Using or integrating React Redux templates with any user-interface layer requires a certain number of steps.

Step 1 – Create a Redux Store.

Step 2 – Subscribe to updates

Step 3 – Get the current store state

Step 4 – Extract the data that is required by the UI and update the UI with the data.

Step 5 – Render the UI with its initial state

Step 6 – Dispatch the Redux actions by responding to various UI inputs.

It’s important for you to know that an efficient UI binding library like React Redux can easily handle the store interaction logic, which allows you to skip the complicated tasks of writing hefty code segments by yourself.

Why do developers prefer React Redux?

Although React JavaScript frameworks are a great option for writing complete web applications, it’s not that straightforward as the applications get more and more complicated. However, using a state management library such as Redux can ease some of the issues that usually arise in complex web applications.

Here are the major benefits that React Redux framework offers to its users: 

1. Predictable State Updates – This feature of the React Redux makes it a lot easier and straightforward for users to understand the data flow that works in a web application.

2. Pure Reducer Functions – React Redux uses pure reducer functions that enable useful features like ‘time travel debugging’ alongside simplifying the test logics.

3. State Centralization – React Redux centralizes the state of web apps that makes it convenient to implement certain essential things like logging data changes, persisting data between web page refreshes, etc.

In addition to these general benefits, React Redux also offers certain exclusive advantages for maintaining the current state in React JavaScript web applications.

Why should you use Redux?

It’s the official Redux UI binding for React JavaScript – Although Redux was originally designed to be used with React, it can be easily used with any user-interface layer. React Redux is one of the most popular UI binding layers for other frameworks, and it is mainly directed by the Redux team. 

It’s always Up-to-dateReact Redux is the official Redux binding for React, and hence, it is kept up-to-date with any kind of API changes from React as well as Redux library. The updating of React Redux ensures that the React components behave normally and in an expected manner. The intended usage of React Redux eventually adopts the React JavaScript design principles and assists users as well as web app developers with writing declarative components.

Encourages Good React Architecture – React components are pure functions that allow the users and web app developers to write hefty code segments in a single function. It’s usually better to split these React functions into smaller functions because it eventually allows the React Redux to handle specific tasks alongside simplifying them and making them easy to understand. You can consider splitting the components on the basis of responsibilities. You can also opt for container components that can be of great help in collecting as well as managing some valuable data alongside controlling the presentational components for simple UI display.

Helps to generate container wrapper elements – The connect function of React Redux is extremely helpful in generating container wrapper components that are responsible for handling the store interaction process. This way, you can consider using React Redux to collect valuable data, display interactive and distinctive UI, and control your UI components to perform several essential tasks. In addition to all this, the connect abstract of React Redux eventually makes the UI components easily testable and more reusable.

Implements Performance Optimization – It’s a well-known fact that React JavaScript frameworks are faster, but any component updates eventually cause these powerful frameworks to re-render all of its essential UI components within the component tree. In addition to this, if the data for the given UI component doesn’t change, then re-rendering of such components is of no use because every time, the requested output is the same for the same inputs. 

This is where React Redux comes into play and improves the performance by skipping the unnecessary re-renders after the change of data. It is essential for you to learn that React Redux implements several performance optimizations on an internal basis, and it eventually results in proper re-rendering of UI components. Therefore, you can easily connect multiple components to your React component tree in order to make sure that each linked component extracts the specific data sections from the store state. It will not only facilitate less re-rendering of components but also optimize their performance in the best possible manner. 

Exceptional Community Support – React Redux is the official binding library for React and Redux, and therefore, it has a large community of users. It eventually makes it a lot easier to learn about the best practices of React Redux, use appropriate libraries that are built on React Redux, and reuse the practices across various JavaScript based web applications.  

React Redux to the Rescue – React Redux can prove to be extremely helpful in various tricky scenarios where numerous UI components that are not even closely related to each other, want to share the same data. React Redux offers a central store that is responsible for holding the data from anywhere in the JavaScript based web application. React Redux also allows several individual components to stay connected to the store and extract the essential pieces of data. As a matter of fact, a lot of web app developers consider putting their application’s data into the Redux store. However, the React Redux allows app developers to store some data in the local state of different components. It simply means that with React Redux, the valuable data doesn’t need to be passed down through multiple components’ levels, and it eventually makes the code simpler alongside improving the rendering performance of web applications.  

Data Updates – React Redux follows a strict unidirectional data flow, and hence, it is beneficial for many reasons. All data within the application follows the identical lifestyle pattern, and it eventually makes the logic of JavaScript based web applications more predictable and easy to understand. The unidirectional data flow of React Redux also encourages data normalization that ultimately allows the web app developers to skip the long and hefty process of creating multiple independent copies of the app’s data.

The way forward: The best online tutorials to master Redux from scratch.

Egghead.io (Free)

Comprehensive tutorial by Dan Abramov, the creator of the Redux framework. This course will show you the fundamentals of the framework, it’s split up into several easy to digest lectures with comprehensive video walkthroughs guided by Dan himself.

Learn Redux (Free)

If you’re already fairly comfortable with Redux as a framework, this tutorial will take you through React.js, Redux and React Router. It covers everything from setting up a Redux Store to creating your own Redux application. 

Full Stack Redux Tutorial (Free)

A deep dive into all things Redux. This comprehensive tutorial will guide users through building full stack Redux application from scratch. It will take you through the entire process of constructing a Node+ Redux backend and React + Redux frontend for a consumer facing app. 

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