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Multiple calls to state updater from useState in component causes multiple re-renders

I’m trying React hooks for the first time and all seemed good until I realised that when I get data and update two different state variables (data and loading flag), my component (a data table) is rendered twice, even though both calls to the state updater are happening in the same function. Here is my api function which is returning both variables to my component.

const getData = url => {

    const [data, setData] = useState(null);
    const [loading, setLoading] = useState(true);

    useEffect(async () => {

        const test = await api.get('/people')

        if(test.ok){
            setLoading(false);
            setData(test.data.results);
        }

    }, []);

    return { data, loading };
};

In a normal class component you’d make a single call to update the state which can be a complex object but the “hooks way” seems to be to split the state into smaller units, a side effect of which seems to be multiple re-renders when they are updated separately. Any ideas how to mitigate this?

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Answer

You could combine the loading state and data state into one state object and then you could do one setState call and there will only be one render.

Note: Unlike the setState in class components, the setState returned from useState doesn’t merge objects with existing state, it replaces the object entirely. If you want to do a merge, you would need to read the previous state and merge it with the new values yourself. Refer to the docs.

I wouldn’t worry too much about calling renders excessively until you have determined you have a performance problem. Rendering (in the React context) and committing the virtual DOM updates to the real DOM are different matters. The rendering here is referring to generating virtual DOMs, and not about updating the browser DOM. React may batch the setState calls and update the browser DOM with the final new state.

const {useState, useEffect} = React;

function App() {
  const [userRequest, setUserRequest] = useState({
    loading: false,
    user: null,
  });

  useEffect(() => {
    // Note that this replaces the entire object and deletes user key!
    setUserRequest({ loading: true });
    fetch('https://randomuser.me/api/')
      .then(results => results.json())
      .then(data => {
        setUserRequest({
          loading: false,
          user: data.results[0],
        });
      });
  }, []);

  const { loading, user } = userRequest;

  return (
    <div>
      {loading && 'Loading...'}
      {user && user.name.first}
    </div>
  );
}

ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.querySelector('#app'));
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react@16.7.0-alpha.0/umd/react.development.js"></script>
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react-dom@16.7.0-alpha.0/umd/react-dom.development.js"></script>
<div id="app"></div>

Alternative – write your own state merger hook

const {useState, useEffect} = React;

function useMergeState(initialState) {
  const [state, setState] = useState(initialState);
  const setMergedState = newState => 
    setState(prevState => Object.assign({}, prevState, newState)
  );
  return [state, setMergedState];
}

function App() {
  const [userRequest, setUserRequest] = useMergeState({
    loading: false,
    user: null,
  });

  useEffect(() => {
    setUserRequest({ loading: true });
    fetch('https://randomuser.me/api/')
      .then(results => results.json())
      .then(data => {
        setUserRequest({
          loading: false,
          user: data.results[0],
        });
      });
  }, []);

  const { loading, user } = userRequest;

  return (
    <div>
      {loading && 'Loading...'}
      {user && user.name.first}
    </div>
  );
}

ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.querySelector('#app'));
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react@16.7.0-alpha.0/umd/react.development.js"></script>
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react-dom@16.7.0-alpha.0/umd/react-dom.development.js"></script>
<div id="app"></div>
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