Tech

TypeScript and React: An unbeatable team for web development

Bladimir Duarte

If you have more than two years of experience as a programmer, chances are you've been immersed in many technologies. Two of them have stood out in web development: TypeScript and React. If you haven't had a chance to delve into this dynamic duo, this guide will show you the benefits of using TypeScript with React and provide details on how to set up a React project with TypeScript.

TypeScript and React: An unbeatable team for web development

Why TypeScript and React?

Before we dive into the how let's first dive into the "why" behind using TypeScript with React.

TypeScript: Static Typing for JavaScript.

TypeScript offers improved code quality and predictability as a superset of JavaScript static typing. With TypeScript, you can detect errors quickly during development, making your applications more robust. This level of error checking is a great advantage that TypeScript brings to your development workflow.

React: Easy creation of powerful user interfaces

React, on the other hand, is a JavaScript library that simplifies the process of creating user interfaces. It enables efficient component-based development, allowing you to create complex user interfaces with relative ease. Best of all, it results in high-performance, easy-to-maintain applications. Combining these two technologies creates a powerful, efficient, and error-resistant platform for web development.

Setting up your environment

Getting started with TypeScript in a React project is easy. Follow these steps to set up your environment.

Step 1: Install Create React App (CRA)

First, we will install 'Create React App', a tool that simplifies the setup of new React projects.

npx create-react-app my-app --template typescript

Step 2: Explore your new project

This command creates a new project directory named "my-app" with a TypeScript template. Explore the different files and directories to familiarize yourself with the new project structure.

Step 3: Configure TypeScript

You will notice a tsconfig.json file in the root directory of your project. This configuration file is used to specify the root files and compiler options needed to compile the project.

Understanding TypeScript in a React environment

With the initial setup complete, let's dive deeper into how TypeScript operates within a React application.

Static types in React components

One of TypeScript's main strengths is its static types. This feature provides an excellent safety net for detecting potential problems during code development.

React hooks enriched with TypeScript

TypeScript can be used with React Hooks to ensure a smoother and more predictable state management experience.

Leveraging TypeScript Generics

TypeScript's generics feature allows you to create flexible, reusable components that accommodate multiple data types.

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Example application with TypeScript and React

We will use two numeric inputs and buttons for each basic arithmetic operation: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. First, a new React app must be created with TypeScript.

npx create-react-app calculator --template typescript

Navigate to the project directory:

cd calculator

Now, replace the App.tsx file in the src folder with the following code:


const App: React.FC = () => {
  const [state, setState] = useState({ num1: 0, num2: 0, result: 0 });

  const handleChange = (e: React.ChangeEvent<HTMLInputElement>) => {
    setState({ ...state, [e.target.name]: Number(e.target.value) });
  };

  const add = () => {
    setState({ ...state, result: state.num1 + state.num2 });
  };

  const subtract = () => {
    setState({ ...state, result: state.num1 - state.num2 });
  };

  const multiply = () => {
    setState({ ...state, result: state.num1 * state.num2 });
  };

  const divide = () => {
    setState({ ...state, result: state.num1 / state.num2 });
  };

  return (
    <div>
      <input name="num1" value={state.num1} onChange={handleChange} type="number" />
      <input name="num2" value={state.num2} onChange={handleChange} type="number" />
      <button onClick={add}>Add</button>
      <button onClick={subtract}>Subtract</button>
      <button onClick={multiply}>Multiply</button>
      <button onClick={divide}>Divide</button>
      <h2>Result: {state.result}</h2>
    </div>
  );
};

export default App;

This simple calculator inputs two numbers and performs basic arithmetic operations based on button clicks. You can run the application with:

npm start

This will start the development server, and you should be able to see your calculator on localhost:3000 in your web browser. This example demonstrates TypeScript with React while implementing basic state management and event handling.

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