eact Hook Component

After 16+ years of experimenting with CSS & HTML, I am a bit tired. Time flies, and new technologies emerge. What would you say if, from now on, I will start doing my wild experiments with, let’s say, React and Typescript instead? In my new article, I’ll show you how easy it is to have conditional hooks in React — and more!

he <Hook> 🪝

When using hooks in React or Preact, we have to obey all of those rules. The rules of hooks. Don’t call them conditionally! You can’t use hooks inside Class components! Oh no, what is this? An update of a component from inside the function body of a different component?!

No more. React is like lego. Some people say there are illegal lego techniques. I say — who cares when we can use duct tape?

I present you the <Hook> component. It is actually pretty simple, completely valid, and suitable for productionGo to a sidenote.

he Interface

First, let’s quickly go over its TypeScript interfaceGo to a sidenote.

interface HookProps<F extends (...args: any[]) => any> {
    hook: F;
    options?: Parameters<F>;
    getValue?: (value: ReturnType<F>) => void;
        | React.ReactNode
        | ((value: ReturnType<F>) => React.ReactNode);

If we want to call a hook, we need to have a hook prop.

<Hook hook={useMagic} /> — here we go! As simple as that.

he Code

I’ll present the code with TS kept intact, but the native JS version is basically the same, just remove the <F extends (...args: any[]) => any> and : HookProps<F> parts that make the hook generic and assign all the proper types to its props.

const Hook = <F extends (...args: any[]) => any>({
    hook: useHook,
    children = null,
}: HookProps<F>) => {
    const value = useHook(...(options || []));

    useEffect(() => {
        if (getValue) {
    }, [getValue, value]);

    return useMemo(
        () =>
            typeof children === 'function'
                ? children(value)
                : <Fragment>{children}</Fragment>,
       [children, value],

As you can see, the component is pretty simple:

  1. We’re calling the hook prop as a useHook, destructuring the options inside. That works just as if we were calling a regular hook inside our component.
  2. We receive anything returned from it as a value that we could use later.
  3. We have an effect that we’re using to call the getValue callback. It allows us to retrieve the value outside. In this implementation, we’re using a regular callback for the getValue, so we must be careful when passing it to the Hook — we have to memoizeGo to a sidenote the callback properly. Having this inside a useEffect makes it safer to call things like setState from inside, as otherwise, it could happen as a part of the render, which we don’t want.
  4. We’re using useMemo around the returned JSX. It is not strictly necessary, and often the children could not be memoized, but this makes the Hook slightly more reusable, as we won’t have an issue in case we’d need the return from it properly memoized.

And that’s it! JS is flexible; a hook is just a function, so we can make a hook dynamic if we know what we’re doing and won’t break the rule of hooks by doing so.

sage Examples

Below is not a complete list of what we can do with this hook. Imagination is the limit!

onditional Hooks

Did you always want to run some complicated hook conditionally? Adding an isEnabled option, then guarding every hook inside with it, adding extra logic… What if we would… just run the hook inside a condition? Ok, not a hook, but the <Hook>.

  {isHookRunning ? <Hook hook={useMagic} /> : null}

While conditional hooks are a no-no, no-one restricts us from using conditional JSX elements. Then, when one is rendered — it runs its hook. If it is not — it doesn’t. Inside one element, the hook stays the same. All good.

ooks for Class components

You might already see how this allows us to go and use such component inside a Class component, connecting some logic from it with the logic inside our hook. Do you know those projects that provided declarative tags for states, with render props? Our <Hook> can do this as well!

Here is a sample Counter component using a Class, but using the useState inside:

class CounterClass extends Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <Hook hook={useState} options={[0]} getValue={console.log}>
        {([count, setCount]) => (
          <button onClick={() => setCount(count + 1)}>
            bump this counter: {count}

If you, for some reason, have a bunch of older Class-based components that you can’t or don’t want to convert to function ones, but you’d want to use some of your shiny hooks inside of them — <Hook> could come to your rescue!

pdating a component from inside the function body of a different component

Sometimes your code is a mess, and you don’t want to untangle it. All you want is to run that setState somewhere inside some other component’s body, like inside its render props. You try this, and when you wake up, you’re looking at this link: https://github.com/facebook/react/issues/18178#issuecomment-595846312

To work around this, we could apply any effect anywhere any JSX could go:

        () => {
            // Some code that runs inside our effect.
        [], // Our effect's deps.

rror Boundaries

Do you have your own ErrorBoundary component? And would you want to make sure if your fetching hook fails, you’d catch it with that component? Move your hook inside a <Hook>. Now your code is saferGo to a sidenote.

ive Examples

If you, for some reason, do not believe that all of this works — below I provide you with a CodePen running this hook code with a few examples. The examples are not practical and are mostly for demonstration purposes.

Note: I’m using Preact in the CodePen below, but, of course, all the same works with regular React as well. The types are using React versions of the types and interfaces because I like to live dangerously, and I have mostly just copied & pasted the code, and CodePen doesn’t seem to mind. Hooray?…

Ok, I know those examples are rather lackluster, but you should get the idea.

n Conclusion

If you’re looking at the date this post was published and are wondering: “Was all of it a joke?” — wonder no more. Some of it is, but some of it isn’t.

No way I would stop experimenting with CSS and HTML! So many things are happening, CSS evolved so much in the last few years, and HTML seems to catch up slightly — at least projects like the Open UI’s Popover API look very promising. I can’t wait to dig deeper into it: after all, it all lines-up so nicely with anchor positioning in CSS!

However, the component I’m talking about in this article is real. Even though the technique is questionable, in some cases, it could make your life easier.

In the last few years, I played with React, its hooks, the ways to write APIs for them (and for JS/TS in general) enough to have some ideas and experiments I can share. I won’t do that often — after all, I already have a few drafts about the next CSS-related things I’d want to write — but maybe I’ll start sharing some other stuff.

I do not like the “April fools” disinformation flood, so I took this day as an opportunity to share something slightly silly but still useful. Another thing — I did write this post in less than a day — which is very rare for me, so I did not try to polish it too much and took this as a way to see if I could write things faster than the month it took for my last article :)

Let me know what you think about this article on Mastodon!