You don’t always need to import React

Sung M. Kim on November 26, 2018

r/reactjs has a Weekend Reads, which is a “‘book club’ type thing where we read something every weekend”. Last week’s topic was JSX In Depth, an... [Read Full]
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So here's a question I honestly don't know the answer to: why isn't import React from "react"; inserted at the transpilation step from jsx to js? Why do we need to do this manually? For the case where all you're doing in the file is using jsx tags, the import is confusing and should be unnecessary.


Thanks Alex, that's a great question I haven't considered.

Inserting the import statement would require a babel plugin (babel-plugin-react-require or babel-plugin-auto-import, etc), which could relieve us from having to manually insert it where JSX is used.

I honestly didn't know "why" babel doesn't import it automatically so dug around a bit.

It's to prevent import name resolution errors according to following closed issues.

The gist is that, importing react automatically can clash with other imports already declared as "React" or when "React" is declared globally in your application (using "script" tag).


Here's a dirty hack to avoid importing React in every file with JSX. Just add React to window before ReactDOM.render.

import ReactDOM from 'react-dom';
import React from 'react';
import App from './App';

window.React = React;
ReactDOM.render(<App/>, document.querySelector('#mount'));

Now App.js works without throwing a React is not defined error.

// App.js 
export default function() {
  return <div>I am App!</div>

This hack is just to illustrate React dependency management. Don't use it in the production code! 😄


Holy mate... Such a convinient hack... You spoiled me 😂

Tried here and worked


You haven't explained why this would be valuable. There's a lot of stuff I can do that I shouldn't. This seems like one of those stuffs.


You are right Desmond. I wasn't being so clear why it'd be valuable.

My intention was to share what I just learned - the need to import React when it's not used in your code.

So TL;DR should have been "because JSX is transpiled to React.createElement, which requires React to be in scope".


You're welcome & thanks for the feedback.

Learned a lesson from feedbacks what's lacking 😀


And so if we now start to use Hooks avoiding the use of ES6 classes can we skip importing React altogether? hehe :D


Hooks methods such as useEffect, useState, etc are from React so one would still import from 'react' 😉.


Yeah I figured that right after I hit "Submit" and I was like "meeehh I'm not going to edit that now" ahaha silly me

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