Dave Lovemartin

Clean, pure and simple

Functional react with hooks

last tended: 03.04.2024

If you’ve ever looked back at old code and thought, what the hell was I doing? There is a way to write code so that it reads like a book.

Clean code

Clean code is a style of programming written with clarity and purpose in mind. The idea is that the code becomes self-documenting, reducing reliance on comments and making it easier to understand what it does.

Why is clean code so important?

Clean code isn’t about following rigid rules, but striking a balance between efficiency and clarity. By prioritizing readability and maintainability, we empower ourselves and others not just to solve problems, but to solve them elegantly.

How to write clean code

Use meaningful names that reveal the intention of the function or variable you are naming. Don’t abbreviate or try to be cute.

Use small components that just do one thing. This makes your code easier to test, maintain and scale, gives good separation of concerns and performance benefits.

Limit blocks and indentation wherever possible.

In JavaScript, use modern syntax, like the spread operator — to create new objects and arrays without modifying original data. Use conditional rendering and ternary operators.

Keep your code DRY…

A core tenet of clean code is the DRY principle. Don’t repeat yourself. This means avoiding the duplication of logic or functionality throughout your codebase.

By factoring out repetitive code into functions or helper methods, you improve maintainability. If a change needs to be made, you only need to modify it in one place, ensuring consistency and reducing the risk of errors.

DRY code promotes efficiency and makes your codebase more streamlined.


The concept of clean code aligns with the principles of functional programming.

Functional programming emphasizes immutability, meaning data doesn’t change after creation, and pure functions, where the output solely depends on the input. This approach fosters code that is inherently clean, predictable, and easier to reason about.

Functional programming uses pure functions as its primary units of composition.

Pure functions have two key characteristics:

The benefits of pure functions are:

Functional programming is declarative as opposed to imperative, meaning that we specify the desired outcome or state without dictating the specific steps to achieve it.

Take a restaurant as an example, the customer says “table for two” and the restaurant takes care of the rest. That’s being declarative.

We can write this as requestTable(guestList). We shouldn’t care how that function works, just that it gets you your table and seats everyone in the guest list.

Handling requestTable may kick off to several more declarative functions:

We do need to handle the details. But we use libraries or write helpers and utilities that abstract away this imperative code.

Name your functions well and your code should read like a novel.

Simple React with Hooks

Writing React with Functional Programming has been possible since the introduction of Hooks.

Hooks are a great way to abstract logic and keep your code clean and DRY.

Hooks can only be used in functional components. So that hooks are called in the same order each time a component renders, they must not be called from inside a conditional statement, loop or nested functions. Declare them at the top of your component.

React comes with some really useful hooks out of the box:


Great for managing state. No need to reach for a library. Declare by deconstructing an array with two values (the convention is using something and setSomething) and the useState hook function which you can pass an initial value:

const [location, setLocation] = useState('Bristol');

If you declare the initial state as a function, it will only compute the first time it’s initialised (not on each re-render).

Be explicit about what’s stored in each useState hook (you can declare as many as you need) rather than storing state in an object. You can store state in an object but when you update the state, you’ll need to remember to spread the rest of the object as it doesn’t automatically merge.

When you set state, you can pass the next state directly, but when you need to calculate it from the previous state, pass in the previous state in a function.

function incrementCount() {
  setCount(previousState => previousState + 1)

If we don’t pass in the previous state, we are only passing in the value of state when the function renders.


useRef can also persists values between renders of a component but a ref won’t cause your component to re-render when its value updates.

It returns an object: { current: x } where x is the value you want to persist.

It’s mostly used to reference DOM nodes:

const inputRef = useRef(null);


  onChange={(e) => setLocation(e.target.value)}


useEffect’s intention is to utilise side-effects to connect with external systems. So, fetching data is a good example:

useEffect(() => {
      .then((data) => data.json())
      .then((json) => {
      .catch((error) => setErrorMessage(error.message || defaultErrorMessage));
  }, [location]);

As you can see, the useEffect hook takes two arguments, the effect logic and its dependencies (an array of state values). The effect will run when each time the dependencies change.

If you pass in nothing to the dependency array, it will run the effect when component renders, although if you can calculate something during render, you don’t need an effect.

Adding a return function to the useEffect allows you to create clean up functionality. For example, if you create an event listener in the useEffect set-up, you can remove them in the return statement.


Props are values passed down to a component from a parent. By using the useContext hook we can pass down values to all descendants of a component, not just its children but their children too. This avoids so called prop drilling which can get quite onerous.

In this weather widget, we can a createContext function to pass down our weather report to the elements that display the weather data:

import React, {
} from "react";
import { WeatherDisplay } from "./WeatherDisplay";
import { LocationInput } from "./LocationInput";
import { LocationButton } from "./LocationButton";

import { weatherResponse } from "./weatherResponse";

export const WeatherContext = createContext(null);

const Weather = () => {
	const [weather, setWeather] = useState();
	const [errorMessage, setErrorMessage] = useState("");
	const [inputValue, setInputValue] = useState("");
	const [location, setLocation] = useState("Bristol");

	const inputRef = useRef(null);

	useEffect(() => {
	}, [location]);

	async function fetchWeather(location) {
		try {
			const json = await weatherResponse(location);
		} catch (error) {
			setErrorMessage(error.message || defaultErrorMessage);

	function focus(inputRef) {

	return (
		<div className={style.weather}>
			<WeatherContext.Provider value={weather}>
				<WeatherDisplay />
				onChange={(e) => setInputValue(e.target.value)}
				onClick={() => setLocation(inputValue)}
				title="check weather"
			{errorMessage && <p>{errorMessage}</p>}

export default Weather;

Here we provide the weather to all descendants of the WeatherDisplay component. So, we might have an element that is part of the weather display. All we have to do is import the context and assign it to a variable.

As we avoid passing down the prop down multiple levels of components, we minimise the amount of code that needs to be written.

import React from "react";
import { WeatherContext } from "./Weather";

const WeatherTemperature = () => {
	const weather = useContext(WeatherContext);
	return (
		<div className={style.weatherTemperature}>

export default WeatherTemperature;

By following these practices and leveraging Hooks, you can write clean, maintainable, and elegant React code that makes your applications a joy to work with.

powered by: WeatherAPI.com

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