score:153

Accepted answer

The best way to go about such scenarios is to see what you are doing in the event handler.

If you are simply setting state using previous state, it's best to use the callback pattern and register the event listeners only on initial mount.

If you do not use the callback pattern, the listeners reference along with its lexical scope is being used by the event listener but a new function is created with updated closure on each render; hence in the handler you will not be able to access the updated state

const [userText, setUserText] = useState("");
const handleUserKeyPress = useCallback(event => {
    const { key, keyCode } = event;
    if(keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)){
        setUserText(prevUserText => `${prevUserText}${key}`);
    }
}, []);

useEffect(() => {
    window.addEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);
    return () => {
        window.removeEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);
    };
}, [handleUserKeyPress]);

  return (
      <div>
          <h1>Feel free to type!</h1>
          <blockquote>{userText}</blockquote>
      </div>
  );

score:-1

In the second approach, the useEffect is bound only once and hence the userText never gets updated. One approach would be to maintain a local variable which gets updated along with the userText object on every keypress.

  const [userText, setUserText] = useState('');
  let local_text = userText
  const handleUserKeyPress = event => {
    const { key, keyCode } = event;

    if (keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)) {
      local_text = `${userText}${key}`;
      setUserText(local_text);
    }
  };

  useEffect(() => {
    window.addEventListener('keydown', handleUserKeyPress);

    return () => {
      window.removeEventListener('keydown', handleUserKeyPress);
    };
  }, []);

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Feel free to type!</h1>
      <blockquote>{userText}</blockquote>
    </div>
  );

Personally I don't like the solution, feels anti-react and I think the first method is good enough and is designed to be used that way.

score:-1

you dont have access to the changed useText state. you can comapre it to the prevState. store the state in a variable e.g.: state like so:

const App = () => {
  const [userText, setUserText] = useState('');

  useEffect(() => {
    let state = ''

    const handleUserKeyPress = event => {
      const { key, keyCode } = event;
      if (keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)) {
        state += `${key}`
        setUserText(state);
      }   
    };  
    window.addEventListener('keydown', handleUserKeyPress);
    return () => {
      window.removeEventListener('keydown', handleUserKeyPress);
    };  
  }, []);

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Feel free to type!</h1>
      <blockquote>{userText}</blockquote>
    </div>
  );  
};

score:0

Here is the useRef solution based on @ford04's answer and moved to custom hook. I like it most because it doesn't require adding any manual dependencies and allows to hide all the complexity in the custom hook.

const useEvent = (eventName, eventHandler) => {
  const cbRef = useRef(eventHandler)

  useEffect(() => {
    cbRef.current = eventHandler
  }) // update after each render

  useEffect(() => {
    console.log("+++ subscribe")
    const cb = (e) => cbRef.current(e) // then use most recent cb value
    window.addEventListener(eventName, cb)
    return () => {
      console.log("--- unsubscribe")
      window.removeEventListener(eventName, cb)
    }
  }, [eventName])
  return
}

Usage in App:

function App() {
  const [isUpperCase, setUpperCase] = useState(false)
  const [userText, setUserText] = useState("")

  const handleUserKeyPress = (event) => {
    const { key, keyCode } = event
    if (keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)) {
      const displayKey = isUpperCase ? key.toUpperCase() : key
      const newText = userText + displayKey
      setUserText(newText)
    }
  }
  useEvent("keydown", handleUserKeyPress)

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Feel free to type!</h1>
      <label>
        <input
          type="checkbox"
          defaultChecked={isUpperCase}
          onChange={() => setUpperCase(!isUpperCase)}
        />
        Upper Case
      </label>
      <blockquote>{userText}</blockquote>
    </div>
  )
}

Edit

score:1

You'll need a way to keep track of the previous state. useState helps you keep track of the current state only. From the docs, there is a way to access the old state, by using another hook.

const prevRef = useRef();
useEffect(() => {
  prevRef.current = userText;
});

I've updated your example to use this. And it works out.

const { useState, useEffect, useRef } = React;

const App = () => {
  const [userText, setUserText] = useState("");
  const prevRef = useRef();
  useEffect(() => {
    prevRef.current = userText;
  });

  const handleUserKeyPress = event => {
    const { key, keyCode } = event;

    if (keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)) {
      setUserText(`${prevRef.current}${key}`);
    }
  };

  useEffect(() => {
    window.addEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);

    return () => {
      window.removeEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);
    };
  }, []);

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Feel free to type!</h1>
      <blockquote>{userText}</blockquote>
    </div>
  );
};

ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.getElementById("root"));
<script src="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/react/16.8.3/umd/react.production.min.js"></script>
<script src="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/react-dom/16.8.3/umd/react-dom.production.min.js"></script>
<div id="root"></div>

score:1

For your use case, useEffect needs a dependency array to track changes and based on the dependency it can determine whether to re-render or not. It is always advised to pass a dependency array to useEffect. Kindly see the code below:

I have introduced useCallback hook.

const { useCallback, useState, useEffect } = React;

  const [userText, setUserText] = useState("");

  const handleUserKeyPress = useCallback(event => {
    const { key, keyCode } = event;

    if (keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)) {
      setUserText(prevUserText => `${prevUserText}${key}`);
    }
  }, []);

  useEffect(() => {
    window.addEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);

    return () => {
      window.removeEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);
    };
  }, [handleUserKeyPress]);

  return (
    <div>
      <blockquote>{userText}</blockquote>
    </div>
  );

Edit q98jov5kvq

score:1

The accepted answer is working but if you are registering BackHandler event, make sure to return true in your handleBackPress function, e.g:

const handleBackPress= useCallback(() => {
   // do some action and return true or if you do not
   // want the user to go back, return false instead
   return true;
 }, []);

 useEffect(() => {
    BackHandler.addEventListener('hardwareBackPress', handleBackPress);
    return () =>
       BackHandler.removeEventListener('hardwareBackPress', handleBackPress);
  }, [handleBackPress]);

score:17

new answer:

useEffect(() => {
  function handlekeydownEvent(event) {
    const { key, keyCode } = event;
    if (keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)) {
      setUserText(prevUserText => `${prevUserText}${key}`);
    }
  }

  document.addEventListener('keyup', handlekeydownEvent)
  return () => {
    document.removeEventListener('keyup', handlekeydownEvent)
  }
}, [])

when using setUserText, pass the function as the argument instead of the object, the prevUserText will be always the newest state.


old answer:

try this, it works same as your original code:

useEffect(() => {
  function handlekeydownEvent(event) {
    const { key, keyCode } = event;
    if (keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)) {
      setUserText(`${userText}${key}`);
    }
  }

  document.addEventListener('keyup', handlekeydownEvent)
  return () => {
    document.removeEventListener('keyup', handlekeydownEvent)
  }
}, [userText])

because in your useEffect() method, it depends on the userText variable but you don't put it inside the second argument, else the userText will always be bound to the initial value '' with argument [].

you don't need to do like this, just want to let you know why your second solution doesn't work.

score:60

Issue

[...] on each and every re-render, events will keep registering and deregistering every time and I simply don't think it is the right way to go about it.

You are right. It doesn't make sense to restart event handling inside useEffect on every render.

[...] empty array as the second argument, letting the component to only run the effect once [...] it's weird that on every key I type, instead of appending, it's overwritten instead.

This is an issue with stale closure values.

Reason: Used functions inside useEffect should be part of the dependencies. You set nothing as dependency ([]), but still call handleUserKeyPress, which itself reads userText state.

Solutions

Update: React developers proposed an RFC including new useEvent Hook (name might change) to solve this exact type of event-related problem with dependencies.

Until then, there are alternatives depending on your use case:

1. State updater function

setUserText(prev => `${prev}${key}`);

✔ least invasive approach
✖ only access to own previous state, not other state Hooks

const App = () => {
  const [userText, setUserText] = useState("");

  useEffect(() => {
    const handleUserKeyPress = event => {
      const { key, keyCode } = event;

      if (keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)) {
        setUserText(prev => `${prev}${key}`); // use updater function here
      }
    };

    window.addEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);
    return () => {
      window.removeEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);
    };
  }, []); // still no dependencies

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Feel free to type!</h1>
      <blockquote>{userText}</blockquote>
    </div>
  );
}

ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.getElementById("root"));
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react@16.13.1/umd/react.production.min.js"></script>
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react-dom@16.13.1/umd/react-dom.production.min.js"></script>
<div id="root"></div>
<script>var { useReducer, useEffect, useState, useRef } = React</script>

2. useRef / mutable refs

const cbRef = useRef(handleUserKeyPress);
useEffect(() => { cbRef.current = handleUserKeyPress; }); // update each render
useEffect(() => {
    const cb = e => cbRef.current(e); // then use most recent cb value
    window.addEventListener("keydown", cb);
    return () => { window.removeEventListener("keydown", cb) };
}, []);

const App = () => {
  const [userText, setUserText] = useState("");

  const handleUserKeyPress = event => {
    const { key, keyCode } = event;

    if (keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)) {
      setUserText(`${userText}${key}`);
    }
  };

  const cbRef = useRef(handleUserKeyPress);

  useEffect(() => {
    cbRef.current = handleUserKeyPress;
  });

  useEffect(() => {
    const cb = e => cbRef.current(e);
    window.addEventListener("keydown", cb);

    return () => {
      window.removeEventListener("keydown", cb);
    };
  }, []);

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Feel free to type!</h1>
      <blockquote>{userText}</blockquote>
    </div>
  );
}

ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.getElementById("root"));
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react@16.13.1/umd/react.production.min.js"></script>
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react-dom@16.13.1/umd/react-dom.production.min.js"></script>
<div id="root"></div>
<script>var { useReducer, useEffect, useState, useRef, useCallback } = React</script>

✔ can be used for callbacks/event handlers that shall not trigger re-renders via data flow
✔ no need to manage dependencies
✖ more imperative approach
✖ only recommended as last option by React docs

Take a look at these links for further info: 1 2 3

3. useReducer - "cheat mode"

We can switch to useReducer and have access to current state/props - with similar API to useState.

Variant 2a: logic inside reducer function

const [userText, handleUserKeyPress] = useReducer((state, event) => {
    const { key, keyCode } = event;
    // isUpperCase is always the most recent state (no stale closure value)
    return `${state}${isUpperCase ? key.toUpperCase() : key}`;  
}, "");

const App = () => {
  const [isUpperCase, setUpperCase] = useState(false);
  const [userText, handleUserKeyPress] = useReducer((state, event) => {
    const { key, keyCode } = event;
    if (keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)) {
      // isUpperCase is always the most recent state (no stale closure)
      return `${state}${isUpperCase ? key.toUpperCase() : key}`;
    }
  }, "");

  useEffect(() => {
    window.addEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);

    return () => {
      window.removeEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);
    };
  }, []);

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Feel free to type!</h1>
      <blockquote>{userText}</blockquote>
      <button style={{ width: "150px" }} onClick={() => setUpperCase(b => !b)}>
        {isUpperCase ? "Disable" : "Enable"} Upper Case
      </button>
    </div>
  );
}

ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.getElementById("root"));
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react@16.13.1/umd/react.production.min.js"></script>
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react-dom@16.13.1/umd/react-dom.production.min.js"></script>
<div id="root"></div>
<script>var { useReducer, useEffect, useState, useRef } = React</script>

Variant 2b: logic outside reducer function - similar to useState updater function

const [userText, setUserText] = useReducer((state, action) =>
      typeof action === "function" ? action(state, isUpperCase) : action, "");
// ...
setUserText((prevState, isUpper) => `${prevState}${isUpper ? 
  key.toUpperCase() : key}`);

const App = () => {
  const [isUpperCase, setUpperCase] = useState(false);
  const [userText, setUserText] = useReducer(
    (state, action) =>
      typeof action === "function" ? action(state, isUpperCase) : action,
    ""
  );

  useEffect(() => {
    const handleUserKeyPress = event => {
      const { key, keyCode } = event;
      if (keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)) {
        setUserText(
          (prevState, isUpper) =>
            `${prevState}${isUpper ? key.toUpperCase() : key}`
        );
      }
    };

    window.addEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);
    return () => {
      window.removeEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);
    };
  }, []);

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Feel free to type!</h1>
      <blockquote>{userText}</blockquote>
      <button style={{ width: "150px" }} onClick={() => setUpperCase(b => !b)}>
        {isUpperCase ? "Disable" : "Enable"} Upper Case
      </button>
    </div>
  );
}


ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.getElementById("root"));
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react@16.13.1/umd/react.production.min.js"></script>
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react-dom@16.13.1/umd/react-dom.production.min.js"></script>
<div id="root"></div>
<script>var { useReducer, useEffect, useState, useRef } = React</script>

✔ no need to manage dependencies
✔ access multiple states and props
✔ same API as useState
✔ extendable to more complex cases/reducers
✖ slightly less performance due to inline reducer (kinda neglectable)
✖ slightly increased complexity of reducer

Inappropriate solutions

useCallback

While it can be applied in various ways, useCallback is not suitable for this particular question case.

Reason: Due to the added dependencies - userText here -, the event listener will be re-started on every key press, in best case being not performant, or worse causing inconsistencies.

const App = () => {
  const [userText, setUserText] = useState("");

  const handleUserKeyPress = useCallback(
    event => {
      const { key, keyCode } = event;

      if (keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)) {
        setUserText(`${userText}${key}`);
      }
    },
    [userText]
  );

  useEffect(() => {
    window.addEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);

    return () => {
      window.removeEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);
    };
  }, [handleUserKeyPress]); // we rely directly on handler, indirectly on userText

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Feel free to type!</h1>
      <blockquote>{userText}</blockquote>
    </div>
  );
}

ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.getElementById("root"));
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react@16.13.1/umd/react.production.min.js"></script>
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react-dom@16.13.1/umd/react-dom.production.min.js"></script>
<div id="root"></div>
<script>var { useReducer, useEffect, useState, useRef, useCallback } = React</script>

Declare handler function inside useEffect

Declaring the event handler function directly inside useEffect has more or less the same issues as useCallback, latter just causes a bit more indirection of dependencies.

In other words: Instead of adding an additional layer of dependencies via useCallback, we put the function directly inside useEffect - but all the dependencies still need to be set, causing frequent handler changes.

In fact, if you move handleUserKeyPress inside useEffect, ESLint exhaustive deps rule will tell you, what exact canonical dependencies are missing (userText), if not specified.

const App =() => {
  const [userText, setUserText] = useState("");

  useEffect(() => {
    const handleUserKeyPress = event => {
      const { key, keyCode } = event;

      if (keyCode === 32 || (keyCode >= 65 && keyCode <= 90)) {
        setUserText(`${userText}${key}`);
      }
    };

    window.addEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);

    return () => {
      window.removeEventListener("keydown", handleUserKeyPress);
    };
  }, [userText]); // ESLint will yell here, if `userText` is missing

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Feel free to type!</h1>
      <blockquote>{userText}</blockquote>
    </div>
  );
}

ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.getElementById("root"));
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react@16.13.1/umd/react.production.min.js"></script>
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react-dom@16.13.1/umd/react-dom.production.min.js"></script>
<div id="root"></div>
<script>var { useReducer, useEffect, useState, useRef } = React</script>


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