Image credits: Rishi Chawda

Architecting React Applications - Part II

Prettifying the complex codebase

May 12, 2019  ·  6 min read

This article is a continuation of my previous article - Architecting React Applications - where I wrote about a simple way to architect almost any React application into a modular structure. In this article, I am going to write about a relatively complex codebase with things such as application state management.

We’ll build upon the same directory structure so that we can also determine whether our previously prepared codebase scales well in more complex scenarios rather than just having a few pages or components. We’ll follow the same steps, .i.e, take a look at the directory and then briefly go through the parts one by one.

Let’s add some of the redux’s magic to our application to manage its global state. ✨

But wait, we need to get the structure ready first. So, here we go –

The source directory structure for our react application
The source directory structure for our react application

This structure might seem familiar to you, and this one of the most popular ways among the developers and is pretty intuitive. All the actions go into a directory called actions, reducers in their directory, and the same for middlewares. One thing that is not very common here is a root.reducer and file at the src root. Now, many developers I have known to prefer keeping the root.reducer ( sometimes stored as an index.js ) inside the reducers directory because it is then ‘closer’ to all the reducers. I agree it might make much sense to keep it that way, but I prefer keeping my root.reducer and in the root of my src. And here’s why :

  • reducers directory is strictly kept for storing individual reducers. The index.js inside it is used as the main entry point to export all the reducers. ☝️

  • root.reducer and seem closer ( or hooked? ) rather than all the reducers closer to the root.reducer – since root.reducer here is being used to configure the reducer before we hook it up with store ( which is done inside later ).

So it pretty much makes sense – to keep all the reducers separately in a place and then just imported through a single entry point to our root.reducer, which stays close to our The simple reason is it is easier to find at the root of src directory than inside another nested directory. That is one of the reasons why it is named root.reducer and not index.js.

Similarly, our actions directory contains all our actions, an action.types file for all the action types ( we can even have a directory named shared in the src and put the type file there, I used to do it when I had started using redux ) and the main entry file which exports all the actions. Each file inside our actions directory can contain a set of actions that are related to a single aspect of our application, for example, a user, or a user interface state or perhaps some data synchronization. The same goes for the middlewares directory, which holds our custom middlewares, if any, and a single entry point which exports all of them.

Note that all three new directories added to our previous structure have the main entry point, which exports all the individual parts – mainly because it makes the imports cleaner and also makes it look modular.

So, we’re done with the basic stuff that could be added to any react application which implements an application state ( A little secret – you can do it without using redux too! ). 🤓

Let’s add some more stuff.

Let’s add more volume to the codebase. The first thing that comes to my mind is sagas – mainly because any real-world application with a considerable codebase usually has asynchronous actions going on in parallel. Let’s assume we need redux-saga for our application, and we can’t do away with thunks!

Oh wait, let’s have some services too – for fun! 💥

And while we’re at it – let’s not forget about making our state management which we had set up earlier a little better by adding selectors to our application – which is a must by the way if we have many things going on inside our application store!

Did I add too much? Well, to cover all of it, without implying that your application can not have all of it, which can pretty much if required.

Okay, let’s follow the same pattern and make the directories first. I’ll go ahead and create directories for them, like so :

The source directory structure for our react application with redux setup
The source directory structure for our react application with redux setup

This structure might look pretty much self-explanatory, and you already have an idea of how we might structure them internally. All our sagas go inside the sagas directory, with our root saga also inside it ( you can name it whatever you want – root.saga or index.js ) just like our entry points to reducers and actions inside their directories.

But you might ask..

Why not keep it outside like our root.reducer and 🤔

Well, here’s a pretty simple explanation. When we discussed about the reducers and actions, we kept the entry point of the directory as something we’re directly using in our application – entry point in reducers directory for importing all reducers to root.reducer and entry point in actions directory for importing them in various parts of our react application. Similarly, for our root.saga or index.js inside the sagas directory, which is going to be used in our while initialization, makes more sense to be seen as an entry/access point and not anything more complicated than that. Usually, it’ll contain our root saga, which spawns/calls/forks/ invoke other sagas accordingly.

The same goes for selectors and services. Both contain an entry point that exports all the selectors and service modules from the directory. Keep in mind that it is there to provide us a cleaner import and better view of the structure!

And there we go! We have pretty much completed setting up our react application to start with a complicated project – but with a relatively simple structure which anyone can get used to and something that scales well too! In my experience, a similar structure has fared well in scaling up along with regular and extensive application-wide changes while keeping our productivity high.

Did you like this article? Or did I miss something? Is there something that you have that we can add to this article – that can make it even better?

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Thank you for reading! 😄

Happy hacking! Cheers! 🎉