Using context correctly

Using React context for rarely-occuring changes such as theme providers, or internationalization is harmless. However, when context starts to be used for other things, it can affect performance badly.

A context provider causes its whole subtree to rerender. This can result in noticable slowdowns. Even Redux has used React Context in v6, then reverted it in v7 due to some recurring complaints. This was also mentioned in The History and Implementation of React-Redux by Mark Erikson.

There's an article by Michel Weststrate on using Context efficiently. In summary, the article argues that "we should not store state directly in our context. Instead, we should use context as a dependency injection system". xoid can be used to do exactly that.

Let's say, we're going to share a state with the following interface: {alpha: number, beta: number}. Instead of feeding it directly as a context value, we can make it an atom. We can create that atom only once, inside a useSetup hook.

./App.tsx
import { create } from 'xoid'
import { useSetup } from '@xoid/react'
import { MyContext } from './MyContext'
import { ConsumerComponent } from './ConsumerComponent'
export const App = () => {
const contextValue = useSetup(() => create({ alpha: 3, beta: 5 }))
return (
<MyContext.Provider value={contextValue}>
<ConsumerComponent />
</MyContext.Provider>
)
}
./MyComponent.tsx
import { useContext } from 'react'
import { use } from 'xoid'
import { useAtom } from '@xoid/react'
import { MyContext } from './MyContext'
export const MyComponent = () => {
const atom = useContext(MyContext)
const { alpha, beta } = useAtom(atom)
return (
<div>
alpha: {state.alpha}, beta: {state.beta}
<button onClick={() => use(atom, 'alpha')(s => s + 1)}>increment alpha</button>
</div>
)
}

Only the components that subscribe to the content of MyContext explicitly via useAtom will rerender. Also note that, any component now has the chance to subscribe to a subtree/leaf of the same context such that: useAtom(atom, 'alpha'). This can greatly improve performance when needed.

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