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Francesco Di Donato
Francesco Di Donato

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Lazy Loading Image - [1/2]


In this mini-series consisting of two posts I will build a React Component Image which, using custom hooks, shows a low-resolution image that is immediately replaced when the high-resolution counterpart is completely downloaded. In the second phase, I will take care of postponing the download of the second only when the component becomes visible


Repo πŸ“‘

Table of content

  1. Low-resolution & High Resolution
  2. High-resolution only when is visible

Low-resolution & High-resolution


The rendering of a high-resolution image can take - especially for slow connections - several seconds. This lack of readiness results in worse UX

In this post, I deal with solving the problem by building a component that in addition to the high-resolution image source receives one for the low-resolution image to be shown as a replacement until the first is fully downloaded and available

In the next post, I will take care of postponing the download of the high-resolution image only when the component becomes visible within the view. Regardless, the user will not see a missing image as the relative low resolution will already be present


In a project generated via create-react-app I delete all that is superfluous

Then I initialize the construction of the Image component

mkdir src/components
touch src/components/Image.jsx
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It is actually two <img> placed one above the other and made visible alternately. To make them superimposable it is sufficient to use a wrapper with the necessary CSS properties. Furthermore, since the two images may have different sizes, it is recommended that while a wrapper defines width and height, the images contained therein adapt to its directives

const Image = ({ width = '100%', height = '100%', lowResSrc, highResSrc }) => {
  const styles = {
    wrapper: {
      position: 'relative',
    image: {
      position: 'absolute',
      width: '100%',
      height: '100%',

  return (
    <div style={styles.wrapper}>
      <img src={lowResSrc} style={styles.image} />
      <img src={highResSrc} style={styles.image} />

export default Image
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Inline CSS is used rather than another solution for simplicity's sake

Now I use the component and I provide it with the required props

App.js (but it could be anywhere)
const srcTuple = [


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At this point on the screen, there is the image related to srcTuple[0] (the low-resolution source) because that is what the style wants. For the replacement to occur, it is necessary to be able to intervene when the download of the high-resolution image is completed

To do this I can use the onLoad method of the<img> attribute. The explanatory name indicates when it is performed

The question remains of what to actually make it perform

With a view to modern React, I decided to opt for a custom hook
It must keep track of the state of the image loading and on the basis of it return a style that leads to a pleasant transition between the two images of the component. To do this it must expose a method that will be associated with the onLoad method

mkdir src/hooks
touch src/hooks/useImageOnLoad.js
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import { useState } from 'react'

const useImageOnLoad = () => {
  const [isLoaded, setIsLoaded] = useState(false)

  const handleImageOnLoad = () => setIsLoaded(true)

  const transitionStyles = {
    lowRes: {
      opacity: isLoaded ? 0 : 1,
      filter: 'blur(2px)',
      transition: 'opacity 500ms ease-out 50ms',
    highRes: {
      opacity: isLoaded ? 1 : 0,
      transition: 'opacity 500ms ease-in 50ms',

  return { handleImageOnLoad, transitionStyles }

export default useImageOnLoad
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So, just integrate the hook into the component. The method is associated with the onLoad on the high resolution <img>tag. The styles returned by the hook must be associated with its <img> tags

Image.js (snellito)
const Image = ({ ... }) => {
  const { handleImageOnLoad, transitionStyles } = useImageOnLoad()

  const styles = {...}

  const lowResStyle = { ...styles.image, ...transitionStyles.lowRes }
  const hightResStyle = { ...styles.image, ...transitionStyles.highRes }

  return (
    <div style={styles.wrapper}>
      <img src={lowResSrc} style={lowResStyle} />
      <img src={highResSrc} style={hightResStyle} onLoad={handleImageOnLoad} />

export default Image
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pulp demo


Given the very little use of the network in this demo, to make the effect more appreciable it can be convenient

  • multiply the number of <Image /> components and their contents
  • simulate throttling in the Network tab of the Developer Tools
  • disable cache

Finally, it is true that compared to a simple <img /> with a single source, <Image /> requires a few more bytes to be downloaded (AKA the low-resolution image). However, it's a small price to pay for a better UX, it's so true?

Thanks for reading, continue to the next post 🐨

Repo πŸ“‘

If you like it, let's get in touch πŸ™, 🐦 and πŸ’Ό

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