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fsm-router

0.3.3 • Public • Published

Finite State Machine Router (for React)

A finite state machine + declarative URL routing (for React).

Summary

A finite state machine (FSM) is mathematical concept used to describe a flow of information from one layout (or state) to another according to a set of rules (or transitions). FSMs are described as "a limited number of states and corresponding transitions from these states into other states."

In front-end web development we'll use FSMs to render the proper user interface. Furthermore, we'll integrate our FSM with a routing mechanism so our URLs and state resolution can be handled automatically - hence Finite State Machine Router!

Rules:

  1. Always Atomic - State machine always resolves to an atomic node (states that have no child states).
  2. No Conditions - State machine assumes all data is present to render a state it and its entire lineage (down to an atomic node, as per rule #1). Having no conditional rendering logic within components lends itself well to determinism, making our app more predictable.
  3. Events Rule - Favor event emission instead of URL pushes in order to change states. Deriving an atomic state lineage from a URL is achievable, but not favorable.
  4. Order Matters - When no initial state is declared, the first state in document order is rendered. Similarly, when multiple transitions may apply to an emitted event, the first one in document order is selected while discarding the rest.

Examples:

Basic

First, let's compose our app in our standard index.jsx

// Index.jsx
import { Link, Machine, State, Transition } from 'fsm-router';
 
<Machine id='wood' path='/wood'>
    <Transition event='error' target='error'/>
    <Transition event='not-found' target='not-found'/>
    <State id='home' component={Home}>
        <Transition event='browse' target='browse'/>
    </State>
    <State id='browse-wrapper' path='/browse'>
        <State id='browse' component={Browse}/>
        <State id='species' component={Species} path='/:speciesId'/>
    </State>
    <State id='error' component={Error}/>
    <State id='not-found' component={NotFound}/>
</Machine>

What's going on here?

  • <Machine/> is our wrapper that contains unique naming & URL base pathing for our app.
  • <State/> conveys the UI components in a familiar tree hierarchy. Most of the time, you'll supply a component attribute which accepts a React component.
  • <Transition/> outline the rules on how we get from one <State/> to another. They are activated by emitting events, and are only valid when inside an active <State/> lineage.

Now, let's write some components.

// Home.jsx
const Home = ({ children, history, machine: { send }, match }) =>
    <div>
        <h1>Intro Page!</h1>
        <button onClick={event => send('browse')}>Browse Wood Selection</button>
    </div>

Notice the components props. You should be familiar with children, React's default argument for allowing hierarchy. What's new are history, machine, and match, which are all populated automatically when our component is supplied to <State component={Home}/>.

Pay special attention to machine.send(). This is how we dispatch events to our state machine in order to activate transitions. In this particular example, send('browse') would cause our state machine to exit the home state and enter the browse state. The URL would update automatically according to our path attributes.

Let's keep going.

// Browse.jsx
const Browse = ({ children, history, machine, match }) => {
    const selection = [
        {
            summary: 'Northern red oak is a hardwood with a pleasing aesthetic, making it ideal for sturdy home furniture.',
            id: 'northern-red-oak',
            species: 'Northern Red Oak'
        },
        {
            summary: 'Pine is a common softwood, often characterized as having many knots.',
            id: 'pine',
            species: 'Pine'
        },
        {
            summary: 'Poplar wood is a lightweight, softwood and straight-grained, making it ideal for small kit projects.',
            id: 'poplar',
            species: 'Poplar'
        }
    ];
 
    return <div>
        <h1>Wood selection</h1>
        <ul>
            {selection.map(({ summary, id, species }) => <li key={id}>
                <h2>Wood species: {species}</h2>
                <p>Summary: {summary}</p>
                <Link href={`/browse/${id}`}>Read More</Link>
            </li>)}
        </ul>
    </div>
}

Although we want to favor emitting events instead of pushign URLs, we can still push URLs. To do this, we'll use the <Link/> component. This is utlimately a wrapper for the native <a/> browser anchor tag, but uses history.push to update URls instead of replace. This is to prevent page reloads on URL changes.

// Species.jsx
const Species = ({ childre, history, machine, match }) => {
    const [ species, set ] = useCustomStoreHook();
 
    const {
        exact,  // true 
        params, // { 'speciedId': 'northern-red-oak' }
        path,   // '/:speciesId'
        url     // '/browse/northern-red-oak'
    } = match;
 
    return <div>
        <h1>Wood species: {species.name}</h1>
        <h2>Id: {match.params.speciesId}</h2>
        <p>Description: {species.description}</p>
    </div>
}

Finally, we have access to all the various routing parameters with match. This is most useful for when you need to obtain a dynamic URL variable - for example, we've declared path='/:speciesId' which may look like /northern-red-oak in the URL.

With API fetching

Here's how we're going to organize our API requests:

  1. App.jsx container component makes API request to get some data.
  2. To re-dispatch the API request in App.jsx, we can click the "refresh" button.
  3. Once the user lands on /browse, we're going to make another API request in our BrowseFetch component.

Because we don't want to include conditional render logic in our component (upholding No Conditions rule), we'll want to initially render loaders within each component that we're fetching data. Once resolved, we'll simply send machine events to transition from our loader components into our data-rich components.

// Index.jsx
<Machine id='wood' path='/wood'>
    <State id='app' component={App}>
        <Transition event='fetch' target='app-loader'/>
        <State id='app-loader' component={Loader}>
            <Transition event='resolve' target='home'/>
            <Transition event='reject' target='error'/>
        </State>
        <State id='home' component={Home}>
            <Transition event='browse' target='browse'/>
        </State>
        <State id='browse-wrapper' path='/browse' component={BrowseFetch}>
            <State id='browse-loader' component={Loader}>
                <Transition event='resolve' target='browse'/>
                <Transition event='reject' target='error'/>
            </State>
            <State id='browse' component={Browse}/>
            <State id='species' component={Species} path='/:speciesId'/>
        </State>
    </State>
    <State id='error' component={Error}/>
    <State id='not-found' component={NotFound}/>
</Machine>
 
// App.jsx
const App = ({ children, history, machine: { send }, match }) => {
    const _fetch = () => {
        fetchSomeData()
            .then(res => {
                setState(res.data);
                send('resolve');
            }).catch(err => send('reject'));
    }
 
    useEffect(() => {
        _fetch();
    });
 
    return <div>
        <button onClick={event => {
            send('fetch');
            _fetch();
        }}>Refresh</button>
        {children}
    </div>
}
 
// BrowseFetch.jsx
const BrowseFetch = ({ children, history, machine: { send }, match }) => {
    useEffect(() => {
        fetchSomeMoreData()
            .then(res => {
                setState(res.data);
                send('resolve'));
            }.catch(err => send('reject'));
    });
 
    return children;
}

useMachine hook

If you need access to the state machine outside of a standard React component, you can use the useMachine hook.

import { useMachine } from 'fsm-router';
 
const [ machine: { current, history, id, params }, send ] = useMachine();

API

References:

License

MIT License Copyright (c) 2020-present, Matthew Morrison

Install

npm i fsm-router

DownloadsWeekly Downloads

29

Version

0.3.3

License

MIT

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154 kB

Total Files

31

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