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re: How to create a scalable and maintainable front-end architecture VIEW POST

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re: How scalable is one redux store for an entire application?
 

Hi William,

My first tip would be not to depend on only one thing. It was one of my own bigger mistakes made in the past. I choose a technology and tried to apply it as much as possible, making my own life even more difficult.

That aside, state management is difficult and many different solutions exists. I do not think there is one solution you can choose for a big front-end application. You should always question yourself: do I need this state on application level, or is it only required in a more scoped environment? Some examples you can use for state-management techniques, than can be combined are:

  • Redux for your application state, mainly for sharing data between different parts of your application. Here you can also manage errors and request states (e.g. loading) with a proper reducer design. You could for instance create a generic reducer setup for CRUD operations (only the name will be dynamic), making it more scalable;
  • Redux for application settings and configurations that only need to exist on the front-end;
  • React Context on an application level for maintain states around for instance small configurations, like language. Choosing only Context, you make it only dependent on React, making it more sharable between projects, but also within the project. Otherwise choosing a correct big store-design would become more difficult. And React Hooks made this a lot easier;
  • Use the cache from API clients, if available. Apollo Client for GraphQL is a great example of a client having this. This might be sufficient for your state management;
  • Use React Context for module state. Sometimes you just need state management within the pages of a module, and nowhere else. Maybe you have a complex page with a lot of nested components, all working on the same object (or objects related to each other). Or you need to maintain a state of requests you need to send when clicking save (e.g. creating and updating multiple objects), just to keep front-end and back-end consistent in data. In such a case, React Context might be the better way to go. Personally I often combine it with a reducer (using React.useReducer), which are similar to Redux reducers. So it is like lifting one reducer up into your application and apply it more scoped. The biggest advantage of React Context here, is that you can combine state with functions, both that can be used by any component living within the context.
  • Use a Reducer for individual API calls. I used to call every API through redux, as I could easily manage states of requests (e.g. loading, successful executed, or did we get back an error). But if this is the only goal for using Redux, than just create a generic function you can use for outgoing calls, that uses a small reducer. Robin Wieruch has a great article around this, using Hooks (robinwieruch.de/react-hooks-fetch-...).

In summary: yes, Redux can be used for application state and it can be scalable. You as a developer just has to make the decision where which part of the state needs to live, as not everything needs to be in the application store.

 
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