DEV Community

Cover image for Resetting Error Boundary Error State
Sung M. Kim
Sung M. Kim

Posted on • Originally published at on

Resetting Error Boundary Error State

For bunpkg, I use a Wizard component to display a series of steps to generate UNPKGlinks.

When a request to Web API fails, an error is caught with an Error Boundary component and display an error message in ErrorBoundary.FallbackComponent (from react-error-boundary, a simple but better implementation found on React documentation).

But the error boundary wasn’t reset when a user moved onto a different step in the wizard.

I would like to share my failed attempt and the proper workaround to reset Error Boundary components.

But this can apply to your custom ErrorBoundary component.

πŸ˜ͺ TL;DR

Update Error Boundary key props to let React reset the error state.

β„Ή About Demo

The following demo has a component that randomly throws an error and the error boundary shows the error message caught.

Credit: the demo program is created by Brian Vaugn on CodeSandBox.

Error Boundary Reset Demo
Error Boundary Reset Demo

πŸ™…β€β™‚οΈ First attempt (bad workaround)

react-error-boundary provides only following props (leaving out children) and no way to clear the error caught.

  • FallbackComponent – A component to display in case of error
  • onError – A callback triggered on error

Following is how ErrorBoundary.render is implemented.

FallbackComponent is displayed if an error exists.

So my first attempt was to create a reference (this.errorBoundary) and directly manipulate it as it is a 3rd party component.

Yes, stupid of me to even attempt to directly manipulate the state even without using setState…

πŸ™† Proper Workaround

I knew that the workaround was just so hacky that I created a request ticket on react-error-boundary GitHub repository, requesting to provide a way/prop to clear the error.

And Brian has replied with a proper React-way of resetting error boundary – provide a key to an instance of ErrorBoundary component to reset the instant.error in the next render phase.

You can see that as you click on reset error boundary button, it updates the key on ErrorBoundary component (<ErrorBoundary key={this.state.errorBoundaryKey}>) using handleResetButtonClick method, which will clear the internal error state by increasing errorBoundaryKey by one every time forcing a re-render.

😞 Failures

I was just too obsessed with β€œmaking things work” and overused Refs (even though ReactJS clearly recommends you not to).

Second of all, I didn’t even consider using setState but directly manipulated the error state (this.errorBoundary.current.state.error = null).

πŸ‘‹ Parting Words

Many thanks to Brian for react-error-boundary, helping me realize the mistake and providing the workaround.

I hope the post help you should you run into the situation where an error boundary need to be reset & not go through the same bad practice/failures I mentioned above.

Lastly, Bunpkg uses the workaround suggested.

The post Resetting Error Boundary Error State appeared first on Sung's Technical Blog.

Top comments (0)