React list with Array.from()

How to use Array.from() to render a list of React components, makes me think about how good is React software design.

React flexibility is one of its best features. Any JavaScript expression can be used inside brackets in JSX. This is a winner choice compared with Angular and Vue. I do not want to learn yet another syntax to generare HTML.

On the other hand, learning JavaScript to write JSX is something you can reuse somewhere else.

Many developers that start using React actually never heard about map. Many are backend developers that start working on frontend, but also few frontend developers never heard about Array.prototype.map() before using React.

But for sure if you use React, you already know how to render a list. Something like the following

type Props = {
  numbers: number[]
}

function NumberList ({ numbers }: Props) {
  return (
    <ul>
      {numbers.map((num) => (
        <li key={num}>{num}</li>
      ))}
    </ul>
  )
}

With that said, let’s how to use another way to render lists: Array.from().

Suppose you want to render a ghost component list as a placeholder while you are waiting for an API call to fetch the actual list. Such component should have a numItems prop, that is the number of items we expect in the list.

The first question I asked to my self was:

How can I generate a list of numbers from 1 to n?

And I found this answer

const n = 5

Array.from({ length: n }, (_, i)=> i + 1)
// [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

The Array.from signature is the following, see Array.from docs on MDN here.

Array.from(arrayLike, mapFn, thisArg)

Notice the arrayLike where something like { length: 10 } will be enough, you could use also a Set for example. But in particular we are going to take advantage of the second argument mapFn, that is a map function.

So a GhostList component, having a numItems prop will be something like

type Props = {
  numItems: number
}

function GhostList ({ numItems }: Props) {
  return (
    <ul>
      {Array.from({ length: numItems }, (_, i) => (
        <li key={i}>loading...</li>
      ))}
    </ul>
  )
}