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How to Create Smooth Component Transitions with the useTransition Hook?

Shivangi Rajde 8 months ago 1 18

In the world of React, delivering a smooth and seamless user experience is crucial for the success of web applications. One of the most exciting features introduced in React 18 is concurrency, which allows developers to prioritize certain states over others, ultimately enhancing the overall user experience of websites. To facilitate this, React 18 introduced the concept of startTransition, which can be leveraged using the useTransition hook. In this article, we will explore how the useTransition hook empowers developers to prioritize states, leading to quicker UI updates and an improved user experience.

React 18 introduces the groundbreaking concept of concurrency, enabling developers to prioritize certain states over others. This allows for smoother and more responsive web experiences, ensuring that high-priority states are processed and displayed to users quickly.

With the introduction of React 18, the startTransition function was introduced as a way to mark certain states with lower priority. The useTransition hook provides an intuitive way for developers to utilize startTransition and control the prioritization of states within their React applications.

By utilizing the useTransition hook, developers can inform React about states with lower priority. This prioritization ensures that high-priority states are processed first, leading to quicker updates on the UI. As a result, users can perceive substantial improvements in the application’s responsiveness, providing them with a seamless and engaging user experience.

 What is the useTransition hook?

The useTransition hook is a recent addition to the React library, introduced in React version 18. It allows developers to add smooth transitions and animations to their React applications. With this hook, you can control the timing and appearance of UI changes, improving the overall user experience.

Usage and Syntax

To use the useTransition hook, you need to import it from the React library, like this:

import { useTransition } from 'react';

The useTransition hook returns an array of two elements: startTransition and isPending. Here’s an example of how to use them:

const [startTransition, isPending] = useTransition();

The startTransition function is responsible for initiating the transition or animation, while the isPending boolean value indicates whether the transition is currently in progress or pending.

How does the useTransition hook work?

Let’s consider an example where we fetch data from an API and display it in a React component. We’ll compare the behavior without using the useTransition hook and then show how incorporating it can improve the user experience.

Without using the useTransition hook:

import React, { useState, useEffect } from 'react';

function DataComponent() {
  const [data, setData] = useState(null);
  const [isLoading, setIsLoading] = useState(true);

  useEffect(() => {
    const fetchData = async () => {
      setIsLoading(true);

      const response = await fetch('https://api.example.com/data');
      const newData = await response.json();

      setData(newData);
      setIsLoading(false);
    };

    fetchData();
  }, []);

  return (
    <div>
      {isLoading ? (
        <p>Loading...</p>
      ) : (
        <p>Data: {data}</p>
      )}
    </div>
  );
}

export default DataComponent;

In this example, when the component mounts, it triggers the data fetching process. During this time, the UI displays a “Loading…” message. Once the data is fetched, it updates the data state, and the UI renders the fetched data.

However, without the useTransition hook, the UI might freeze momentarily while the data is being fetched, resulting in a less responsive experience for the user.

Now, let’s see how we can improve this using the useTransition hook:

import React, { useState, useEffect, useTransition } from 'react';

function DataComponent() {
  const [data, setData] = useState(null);
  const [startTransition, isPending] = useTransition();

  useEffect(() => {
    const fetchData = async () => {
      startTransition(() => {
        setData(null);
      });

      const response = await fetch('https://api.example.com/data');
      const newData = await response.json();

      startTransition(() => {
        setData(newData);
      });
    };

    fetchData();
  }, [startTransition]);

  return (
    <div>
      {isPending ? (
        <p>Loading...</p>
      ) : (
        <p>Data: {data}</p>
      )}
    </div>
  );
}

export default DataComponent;

By utilizing the useTransition hook, we can wrap the state updates within the startTransition function. This informs React that these updates have lower priority. As a result, React can optimize the rendering and keep the UI responsive during state transitions.

In this example, while the data is being fetched, the UI displays the “Loading…” message without freezing or becoming unresponsive. Once the data is fetched and ready to be displayed, the UI smoothly transitions to show the fetched data, providing a more seamless and engaging user experience.

Using the useTransition hook allows React to prioritize rendering updates and optimize the overall user experience, resulting in a more responsive and delightful application.

Benefits of using the useTransition hook

The useTransition hook is used for managing the transition of components between different states. It provides several benefits when it comes to creating smooth and responsive user interfaces. Here are some of the benefits of using the useTransition hook in React:

  1. Improved User Experience: The useTransition hook allows you to create smooth transitions between different states of a component. This can enhance the user experience by providing visual cues and feedback during state changes, making the interface feel more responsive and engaging.
  2. Delays Rendering: The hook allows you to delay the rendering of a component until the transition animation is completed. This can prevent unnecessary re-renders during state changes, optimizing performance and improving the overall responsiveness of your application.
  3. Reduced Jank: Jank refers to a visual stutter or jerkiness that can occur during animations or transitions. By using the useTransition hook, you can minimize jank by synchronizing state updates and rendering with the animation frames. This helps to ensure that the transitions are smooth and visually pleasing.
  4. Fine-grained Control: The useTransition hook provides a way to control the timing and appearance of transitions. You can specify the duration of the transition, apply easing functions for more natural animations, and even handle interruptions or cancellations during the transition process. This level of control allows you to create custom and polished animations tailored to your specific use case.
  5. Simplified State Management: Managing complex state transitions can be challenging, especially when dealing with multiple asynchronous updates. The useTransition hook simplifies this process by providing a clear API to manage and coordinate state changes. It allows you to separate the concerns of state management and rendering, making your code more maintainable and easier to reason about.
  6. Compatibility with Concurrent Mode: React’s Concurrent Mode is an upcoming feature that aims to improve the performance and responsiveness of React applications. The useTransition hook is designed to work seamlessly with Concurrent Mode, allowing you to leverage the benefits of both features together.

Conclusion

The useTransition hook in React provides a simple and powerful way to add smooth transitions and animations to your applications. By understanding its purpose, syntax, and usage, you can create delightful user experiences. The useTransition hook in React empowers developers to create smoother, more responsive, and visually appealing user interfaces by managing component transitions effectively. It enhances the user experience, improves performance, and provides fine-grained control over state changes and animations.

To read more about hooks refer to the links given below:
useEffect: The Effect Hook
useState: Managing State in React functional components

Why use React?
Fundamentals of Routing
How to Improve React Performance with Lazy Loading?
Next.js: The Powerhouse Framework for React Projects

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