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Avoid unnecessary re renders with React memo and useCallback

Last updated : 7 May 2022

Component re-rendering is expensive and can affect performance. This article explains simple methods to avoid unnecessary component re-renders.

1. Overview

React components re-render when their state or props change. When a react component re-renders, all its child components also re-render. That is a chain reaction that affects components entire child components tree. Most of the time, these re-renders are unnecessary and negatively affect the component performance.

2. Example of unnecessary component re-render

In the below-listed example, we update the parent components state by setting showParagraph to true. As a result, React updates the <Form/> component, and the entire child component tree that belongs to Form. Note that the Form component neither accepts any properties nor updates any state variables. Therefore, its re-render is not necessary.

2.1 App.tsx

import { useCallback, useState } from 'react';
import {Form} from './components/Form';
import {Button} from './components/Button';

export const App = () => {
  const [showParagraph, setShowParagraph] = useState(false)
  const toggleParagraph = () => {
    setShowParagraph((prev) => !prev)
  }
  console.log("App Re-rendered")
  return (
    <>
    {showParagraph && <p>Information</p>}
    <Form/>
    <Button onClick={toggleParagraph}/>
    </>
  );
}
export default App;

App.tsx contains two child components, Button and Form. This button toggles a paragraph based on the showParagraph variable value. When we update showParagraph by clicking the button, Rect updates the entire component tree under App.tsx. Note the console logs in every component to detect re-renders.

2.2 Form.tsx and Input.tsx

Note that <Form/> has no dependency on App.js. But the Form component re-renders whenever the showParagraph changes. Hence, the Input component also re-renders.

import {Input} from "./Input"

export const Form = () => {
    console.log("Form Re-rendered")
    return (
        <>
            <Input name="name"/>
            <Input name="age"/>
        </>
    )
}
interface InputProps {
    name: string
}

export const Input = (props: InputProps) => {
    console.log(`Input ${props.name} Re-rendered`)
return(
    <div><input name={props.name} /></div>
  )
}

2.3 Button.tsx

The button component toggles the showParagraph. The Button component also re-renders when the showParagraph changes, although it is unnecessary.

interface ButtonProps {
    onClick: () => void
}

export const Button = (props: ButtonProps) =>{
  console.log("Button Re-rendered")
return(
        <div>
          <button type="button" onClick={() => props.onClick()}>Toggle</button>
        </div>
      )
}
Re-renders without useCallback and React.memo
Figure 1 :Re-renders without useCallback and React.memo

3. How to avoid re-renders

We can avoid these re-renders by following two simple steps.

3.1 Export the component as a React.memo

We can avoid re-renders by simply exporting the component using React.memo. React.memo tells React to compare the Component props with the previous props and only re-render if they are different.

import React from "react"
import Input from "./Input"

const Form = () => {
    console.log("Form Re-rendered")
    return (
        <>
            <Input name="name"/>
            <Input name="age"/>
        </>
    )
}
export default React.memo(Form)
import React from "react"

interface ButtonProps {
    onClick: () => void
}

const Button = (props: ButtonProps) =>{
  console.log("Button Re-rendered")
return(
        <div>
          <button type="button" onClick={() => props.onClick()}>Toggle</button>
        </div>
      )
}
export default React.memo(Button)

3.2 How about function references received as props?

The React.memo will take care of any prop changes and handle re-renders efficiently. But you will notice that doesn't solve the issue for the Button component. That's because the Button receives a function reference as a prop. This referencing function is re-created every time the App.tsx is re-rendered, so as the function reference. Therefore, the current prop and previous prop are never equal. props.onClick === prev.props.onClick is never true. Because they are different references.

3.3 Use useCallback to memoize the function

The useCallback hook memoizes the function it wraps and returns the same reference between re-renders. Meaning, that React stores the toggleParagraph function in the memory, and returns the same reference every time the App.tsx is re-rendered.

import { useCallback, useState } from 'react';
import Form from './components/Form';
import Button from './components/Button';

export const App = () => {
  const [showParagraph, setShowParagraph] = useState(false)
  const toggleParagraph = useCallback(() => {
    setShowParagraph((prev) => !prev)
  },[])
  console.log("App Re-rendered")
  return (
    <>
    {showParagraph && <p>Information</p>}
    <Form/>
    <Button onClick={toggleParagraph}/>
    </>
    );
}
export default App;

useCallback accepts two arguments.

  • Function to memoize
  • Dependency array

If any dependency argument is changed, React re-creates the function. An empty array means React will only create the function once when the App.tsx is initially created.

No re-renders with useCallback and React.memo
Figure 2 :No re-renders with useCallback and React.memo

4. Should I always use useCallback and React.memo?

useCallback and React.memo uses resources.

  • When we use useCallback, React saves the function in the memory, and calculates if re-creation is required based on the dependency array.
  • When we use React.memo, React compares components' properties with previous properties to determine whether a re-render is required.
Therefore, these optimizations come at a cost. Therefore React.memo and useCallback should only be used to avoid re-renders that impact the application performance.

Lance
By: Lance
Lance is a software engineer with over 15 years of experience in full-stack software development.
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