Pass props to parent component in React.js

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() {
Click me
}
});

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

}
});

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.

Solutions/Answers:

Solution 1:

Edit: see the end examples for ES6 updated examples.

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.

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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.


Edit: ES6 examples

As many people now use ES6, here are the same examples for ES6 syntax

The child can be very simple:

const Child = ({
  onClick, 
  text
}) => (
  <button onClick={onClick}>
    {text}
  </button>
)

The parent can be either a class (and it can eventually manage the state itself, but I’m passing it as props here:

class Parent1 extends React.Component {
  handleChildClick(childData,event) {
     alert("The Child button data is: " + childData.childText + " - " + childData.childNumber);
     alert("The Child HTML is: " + event.target.outerHTML);
  }
  render() {
    return (
      <div>
        {this.props.childrenData.map(child => (
          <Child
            key={child.childNumber}
            text={child.childText} 
            onClick={e => this.handleChildClick(child,e)}
          />
        ))}
      </div>
    );
  }
}

But it can also be simplified if it does not need to manage state:

const Parent2 = ({childrenData}) => (
  <div>
     {childrenData.map(child => (
       <Child
         key={child.childNumber}
         text={child.childText} 
         onClick={e => {
            alert("The Child button data is: " + child.childText + " - " + child.childNumber);
                    alert("The Child HTML is: " + e.target.outerHTML);
         }}
       />
     ))}
  </div>
)

JsFiddle


PERF WARNING (apply to ES5/ES6): if you are using PureComponent or shouldComponentUpdate, the above implementations will not be optimized by default because using onClick={e => doSomething()}, or binding directly during the render phase, because it will create a new function everytime the parent renders. If this is a perf bottleneck in your app, you can pass the data to the children, and reinject it inside “stable” callback (set on the parent class, and binded to this in class constructor) so that PureComponent optimization can kick in, or you can implement your own shouldComponentUpdate and ignore the callback in the props comparison check.

You can also use Recompose library, which provide higher order components to achieve fine-tuned optimisations:

// A component that is expensive to render
const ExpensiveComponent = ({ propA, propB }) => {...}

// Optimized version of same component, using shallow comparison of props
// Same effect as React's PureRenderMixin
const OptimizedComponent = pure(ExpensiveComponent)

// Even more optimized: only updates if specific prop keys have changed
const HyperOptimizedComponent = onlyUpdateForKeys(['propA', 'propB'])(ExpensiveComponent)

In this case you could optimize the Child component by using:

const OptimizedChild = onlyUpdateForKeys(['text'])(Child)

Solution 2:

Update (9/1/15): The OP has made this question a bit of a moving target. It’s been updated again. So, I feel responsible to update my reply.

First, an answer to your provided example:

Yes, this is possible.

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You can solve this by updating Child’s onClick to be this.props.onClick.bind(null, this):

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

The event handler in your Parent can then access the component and event like so:

  onClick: function (component, event) {
    // console.log(component, event);
  },

JSBin snapshot

But the question itself is misleading

Parent already knows Child’s props.

This isn’t clear in the provided example because no props are actually being provided. This sample code might better support the question being asked:

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

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

It becomes much clearer in this example that you already know what the props of Child are.

JSBin snapshot

If it’s truly about using a Child’s props…

If it’s truly about using a Child’s props, you can avoid any hookup with Child altogether.

JSX has a spread attributes API I often use on components like Child. It takes all the props and applies them to a component. Child would look like this:

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

Allowing you to use the values directly in the Parent:

var Parent = React.createClass({
  getInitialState: function () {
    return { text: "Click here" };
  },
  onClick: function (text) {
    alert(text);
  },
  render: function() {
    return <Child onClick={this.onClick.bind(null, this.state.text)} text={this.state.text} />;
  }
});

JSBin snapshot

And there’s no additional configuration required as you hookup additional Child components

var Parent = React.createClass({
  getInitialState: function () {
    return {
      text: "Click here",
      text2: "No, Click here",
    };
  },
  onClick: function (text) {
    alert(text);
  },
  render: function() {
    return <div>
      <Child onClick={this.onClick.bind(null, this.state.text)} text={this.state.text} />
      <Child onClick={this.onClick.bind(null, this.state.text2)} text={this.state.text2} />
    </div>;
  }
});

JSBin snapshot

But I suspect that’s not your actual use case. So let’s dig further…

A robust practical example

The generic nature of the provided example is a hard to talk about. I’ve created a component that demonstrations a practical use for the question above, implemented in a very Reacty way:

DTServiceCalculator working example
DTServiceCalculator repo

This component is a simple service calculator. You provide it with a list of services (with names and prices) and it will calculate a total the selected prices.

Children are blissfully ignorant

ServiceItem is the child-component in this example. It doesn’t have many opinions about the outside world. It requires a few props, one of which is a function to be called when clicked.

<div onClick={this.props.handleClick.bind(this.props.index)} />

It does nothing but to call the provided handleClick callback with the provided index[source].

Parents are Children

DTServicesCalculator is the parent-component is this example. It’s also a child. Let’s look.

DTServiceCalculator creates a list of child-component (ServiceItems) and provides them with props [source]. It’s the parent-component of ServiceItem but it`s the child-component of the component passing it the list. It doesn’t own the data. So it again delegates handling of the component to its parent-component source

<ServiceItem chosen={chosen} index={i} key={id} price={price} name={name} onSelect={this.props.handleServiceItem} />

handleServiceItem captures the index, passed from the child, and provides it to its parent [source]

handleServiceClick (index) {
  this.props.onSelect(index);
}

Owners know everything

The concept of “Ownership” is an important one in React. I recommend reading more about it here.

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In the example I’ve shown, I keep delegating handling of an event up the component tree until we get to the component that owns the state.

When we finally get there, we handle the state selection/deselection like so [source]:

handleSelect (index) {
  let services = […this.state.services];
  services[index].chosen = (services[index].chosen) ? false : true;
  this.setState({ services: services });
}

Conclusion

Try keeping your outer-most components as opaque as possible. Strive to make sure that they have very few preferences about how a parent-component might choose to implement them.

Keep aware of who owns the data you are manipulating. In most cases, you will need to delegate event handling up the tree to the component that owns that state.

Aside: The Flux pattern is a good way to reduce this type of necessary hookup in apps.

Solution 3:

It appears there’s a simple answer. Consider this:

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

var Parent = React.createClass({
  onClick: function(component, event) {
    component.props // #=> {Object...}
  },
  render: function() {
    <Child onClick={this.onClick} />
  }
});

The key is calling bind(null, this) on the this.props.onClick event, passed from the parent. Now, the onClick function accepts arguments component, AND event. I think that’s the best of all worlds.

UPDATE: 9/1/2015

This was a bad idea: letting child implementation details leak in to the parent was never a good path. See Sebastien Lorber’s answer.

Solution 4:

The question is how to pass argument from child to parent component. This example is easy to use and tested:

//Child component
class Child extends React.Component {
    render() {
        var handleToUpdate  =   this.props.handleToUpdate;
        return (<div><button onClick={() => handleToUpdate('someVar')}>Push me</button></div>
        )
    }
}

//Parent component
class Parent extends React.Component {
    constructor(props) {
        super(props);
        var handleToUpdate  = this.handleToUpdate.bind(this);
    }

    handleToUpdate(someArg){
        alert('We pass argument from Child to Parent: \n' + someArg);
    }

    render() {
        var handleToUpdate  =   this.handleToUpdate;
        return (<div>
          <Child handleToUpdate = {handleToUpdate.bind(this)} />
        </div>)
    }
}

if(document.querySelector("#demo")){
    ReactDOM.render(
        <Parent />,
        document.querySelector("#demo")
    );
}

Look at JSFIDDLE

Solution 5:

Basically you use props to send information to and from Child and Parent.

Adding to all the wonderful answers, let me give a simple example that explains passing values from child to parent component in React

App.js

class App extends React.Component {
      constructor(){
            super();
            this.handleFilterUpdate = this.handleFilterUpdate.bind(this);
            this.state={name:'igi'}
      }
      handleFilterUpdate(filterValue) {
            this.setState({
                  name: filterValue
            });
      }
   render() {
      return (
        <div>
            <Header change={this.handleFilterUpdate} name={this.state.name} />
            <p>{this.state.name}</p>
        </div>
      );
   }
}

Header.js

class Header extends React.Component {
      constructor(){
            super();
            this.state={
                  names: 'jessy'
            }
      }
      Change(event) {

      // this.props.change(this.state.names);
      this.props.change('jessy');
  }

   render() {
      return (
       <button onClick={this.Change.bind(this)}>click</button>

      );
   }
}

Main.js

import React from 'react';
import ReactDOM from 'react-dom';

import App from './App.jsx';

ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.getElementById('app'));

Thats it , now you can pass values from your client to the server.

Take a look at the Change function in the Header.js

Change(event) {
      // this.props.change(this.state.names);
      this.props.change('jessy');
  }

This is how you push values into the props from client to the server

Solution 6:

Here is a simple 3 step ES6 implementation using function binding in the parent constructor. This is the first way the official react tutorial recommends (there is also public class fields syntax not covered here). You can find all of this information here https://reactjs.org/docs/handling-events.html

Binding Parent Functions so Children Can Call Them (And pass data up to the parent! 😀 )

  1. Make sure in the parent constructor you bind the function you created in the parent
  2. Pass the bound function down to the child as a prop (No lambda because we are passing a ref to function)
  3. Call the bound function from a child event (Lambda! We’re calling the function when the event is fired.
    If we don’t do this the function will automatically run on load and not be triggered on the event.)

Parent Function

handleFilterApply(filterVals){} 

Parent Constructor

this.handleFilterApply = this.handleFilterApply.bind(this);

Prop Passed to Child

onApplyClick = {this.handleFilterApply}

Child Event Call

onClick = {() => {props.onApplyClick(filterVals)}