React Tips

React Tips — create-react-app, Disable Buttons, and Current Routes

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React is a popular library for creating web apps and mobile apps.

In this article, we’ll look at some tips for writing better React apps.

How to get Current Route with React Router

We can use the useLocation hook to get the current route with React Router.

For instance, we can write:

import { useLocation } from 'react-router-dom'

function App() {
  const location = useLocation();
  return <span>{location.pathname}</span>

useLocation returns the nativelocation object.

So we can use location.pathname to get the current route.

With class components, we can use the withRouter higher-order component to set the location prop to do the same thing.

For instance, we can write:

import {withRouter} from 'react-router-dom';

const App = withRouter(props => <Foo {...props}/>);

class Foo extends React.Component {
  bar() {
    const {pathname} = this.props.location;

We called the withRouter higher-order component and pass in the props from there into our Foo component.

This sets the locations prop of Foo to the native location object.

Then we can get the pathname for the path.

Services in React Application

A service is just a context-independent piece of code which we can reuse anywhere.

So to make a service in a React app, we can just make a module that exports an object with the shared methods that we want to call.

For instance, we can write:

const HttpService = {
  getTodos(value) {
     // code to get todos

  setTodos(value) {
     // code to save todos

export default HttpService;

Then in our component, we can write:

import HttpService from "./services/HttpService.js";

function TodosPage() {
  const [todos, setTodos] = useState([]);
  const getTodos = async () => {
    const todos = await HttpService.getTodos();

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

  return <Todos todos={todos} />

We just import the module and then use the getTodos method within the export object to get the data we want.

We can do the same thing for any other piece of context-independent shared code.

Disable a Button When an Input is Empty

We can disable a button when an input field is empty by checking the input’s value and determine if we need to disable button.

For instance, we can write:

class EmailForm extends React.Component {
  constructor() {
    this.state = {
      email: '',

  handleEmailChange = (evt) => {
    this.setState({ email: });

  handleSubmit = () => {
    const { email } = this.state;
    alert(`${email} subscribed`);

  render() {
    const { email} = this.state;
    const enabled = email.length > 0;
    return (
      <form onSubmit={this.handleSubmit}>

        <button disabled={!enabled}>Subscribe</button>

We created an input for entering an email address.

When we enter something into the input, then the handleEmailChange method runs.

It sets the email state which we use in the value prop of the input and in the render method for the button enabled check.

We set the enabled flag by checking if the email’s length is bigger than 0.

This means that something is filled into the box.

Then we set the disabled prop of the button to be !enabled to disable it when it’s empty.

The Use of the ‘react-scripts start’ Command

react-scripts is a set of scripts that’s provided by create-react-app .

It kicks off our project without configuration, so we don’t have to set up a React project from scratch ourselves.

react-scripts start sets up the dev environment and runs the dev server and enables hot reloading.

It has React, JSX, ES6, and Flow syntax support.

ES features beyond ES6 like the object spread operator can also be used.

CSS is autoprefixed so that we don’t have to add the prefixes ourselves.

A create-react-app project also comes with a unit test runner.

It’ll also warn us about common developer mistakes.

And it’ll compile the app for us into a production-ready bundle.

It also supports the development of progressive web apps.

All the tolls will be updated when we update create-react-app.


We can create a shared module to reuse context independent code.

create-react-app does a lot for us, so we should use it to create React apps.

There are a few ways to get the current route with React Router.

We can disable a button by setting a boolean expression as the value of the disabled prop.

By John Au-Yeung

Web developer specializing in React, Vue, and front end development.

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