React — State and lifecycle

  • When you call setState(), React merges the object you provide into the current state.
  • A component may choose to pass its state down as props to its child components.
  • This is commonly called a “top-down” or “unidirectional” data flow. Any state is always owned by some specific component, and any data or UI derived from that state can only affect components “below” them in the tree.

CSS Tricks — React “state” from the ground up

  • state is a JS object that allows you keep track of a component’s data.
  • Changes can be based on user response, new messages from server-side, network response, or anything.
  • Component state is expected to be private to the component and controlled by the same component.
  • To make changes to a component’s state, you have to make them inside the component.
  • The constructor is the right place to initialize state.
  • State is accessed in the render() method.
  • State is only updated using the setState() method. Never assign to this.state directly.
  • State can be passed as props from parent to child components.

CSS Tricks — Understanding React “setState”

  • Treat setState() asynchronously.
  • Pass an object to setState() when updating state once.
  • Pass a function to setState() when updating state multiple times.
  • Don’t depend on this.state immediately after calling setState(). Use an updater function instead.

Inline updater function:

handleIncrement = () => {
    this.setState((prevState) => ({ count: prevState.count + 1 }));
    this.setState((prevState) => ({ count: prevState.count + 1 }));
    this.setState((prevState) => ({ count: prevState.count + 1 }));

External updater function:

changeCount = () => {
    this.setState((prevState) => {
        return { count: prevState.count - 1}

handleIncrement = () => {

Uber React Guide — Props vs State

  • If an attribute of a component may change at some time, it should be part of state. Otherwise use a prop.
  • State is optional. Since state increases complexity and reduces predictability, a component without state is preferable.
Usage props state
Can get initial value from parent Component? Yes Yes
Can be changed by parent Component? Yes No
Can set default values inside Component?* Yes Yes
Can change inside Component? No Yes
Can set initial value for child Components? Yes Yes
Can change in child Components? Yes No