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To pass MobX's observable array to FlatList, .slice() is needed

acro5piano profile image Kay Gosho ・2 min read

A problem happened when using MobX and React Native together.

Problem

I encountered a Warning when I pass MobX's ObservableArray to FlatList.

[mobx.array]
Attempt to read an array index(2) that is out of bounds (2).
Please check length first. Out of bound indices will not be tracked by MobX
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This may be because FlatList receives array and render lists.
Exact Prop type Array is unexpected for FlatList.

MobX's ObservableArray is defined like this:

@observable users: Array<User> = []
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or

users: Array<User> = observable([])
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ObservableArray is not Array, but ObservableArray behave like native Array so I was confused.

ListView, SectionList also regards ObservableArray as unsuitable prop.

Solution

We can convert ObservableArray to Array by .toJS or .slice().

// @flow

import React from 'react'
import { FlatList, Text } from 'react-native'
import { observable } from 'mobx'
import { userApi } from 'app/api'

type User = {
  id: number,
  name: string
}

class SomeComponent extends React.Component<{}> {
  @observable users: Array<User>

  componentDidMount() {
    userApi.get().then(users => { this.users = users })
  }

  render() {
    <FlatList
      keyExtractor={(user) => String(user.id)}
      renderItem={({ item }) => <Text>{item.name}</Text> }
      // data={this.users} create Warning
      data={this.users.slice()}
    />
  }
}
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Other cases

ObservableArray and render() create problems of reactivity.
So if there is no Warning, passing state with .slice() is a second-good way for preventing unexpected bugs.

Particularly, reactivity problem would happen when we add an element to empty ObservableArray, or change an attribute of an Object of array.

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/44278526/react-native-flatlist-not-rerendering-row-when-props-change

Sometimes there are no need to .slice().
.slice() cause performance issue so we should not abuse it.
But, in my opinion, reactivity problem is difficult to solve so performance loss is acceptable to some extent.

For prevent further problems, I wrote MobX Store's unit test.

TODO: research and understand when rendering problem happen and not happen

Refs:

Discussion (4)

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kmvan profile image
Km.Van

mobxArr.slice() equal toJS(mobxArr) ?

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acro5piano profile image
Kay Gosho Author • Edited

As far as I know, they are the same in terms of functionality.
Now I think toJS is better because it is more meaningful. Thanks!

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zigcccc profile image
Žiga Krašovec

doing [...mobxArr] works as well and it is quite clear & clean in my opinion

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acro5piano profile image
Kay Gosho Author

I think it's up to you.