score:16

Accepted answer

There are two ways to handle this kind of thing in React:

  1. Make the child "controlled," just like a form input with a value and onChange property, where the owner of the input controls the input.
  2. Make the child "uncontrolled," just like a form input without a value.

The second choice seems faster up front, but just like managing a collection of form inputs in React, the advantage to using fully controlled components becomes apparent as complexity builds and the need to fully describe your UI at any point and time increases. (See this excellent answer from FakeRainBrigand if you're curious exactly why controlled components is better than uncontrolled in most cases.)

However, just like form inputs, there's no reason your component can't be either controlled or uncontrolled. If the user passes a display and onClose property, like Austin Greco's answer, you have a controlled modal, and the parent fully decides when to show or hide the modal.

If the user doesn't, you can skip using the properties and instead delegate to internal state managed by public methods on the modal component:

var ParentThing = React.createClass({
  ...
  render: function() {
    return <Modal ref="modal" />;
  },

  handleSomeClick: function() {
    this.refs.modal.open();
  }
});

var Modal = React.createClass({
  setInitialState: function() {
    return {
      display: false
    }
  },
  close: function() {
    this.setState({ display: false });
  },
  open: function() {
    this.setState({ display: true });
  },
  render: function() {
    return (
      <div className={this.state.display ? "show" : "hide"}>
        <a className="close" onClick={this.close}>&times;</a>
      </div>
    )
  }
});

If you like the idea of a controlled Modal component, but don't want to do all the boilerplate typing, you could even go so far as to implement something like the valueLink property for the Modal to simplify this pattern.

var ParentThing = React.createClass({
  ...
  mixins: [React.addons.LinkedStateMixin],

  getInitialState: function() {
    return { showModal: false };
  },

  render: function() {
    return <Modal displayLink={this.linkState("showModal")} />;
  },

  handleSomeClick: function() {
    this.setState({showModal: true});
  }
});

var Modal = React.createClass({
  close: function() {
    this.props.displayLink.requestChange(false);
  },

  render: function() {
    return (
      <div className={this.props.displayLink.value? "show" : "hide"}>
        <a className="close" onClick={this.close}>&times;</a>
      </div>
    )
  }
});

(See my blog post on creating custom components that work with linkState/valueLink for more info.)

So now you get the benefit of using a fully parent-controlled Modal, but you've removed a portion of the boilerplate around creating a function that sets the value to false and passing it to the modal.

score:7

You could pass a callback as a prop to the child component:

// In the parent
<Modal display={this.state.showModal} onClose={this.closeModal} />

// In the modal
<div className={this.props.display ? "show" : "hide"}>
  <a className="close" onClick={this.props.onClose}>&times;</a>
  ...
</div>

Then when you click the close button on the child, it will call the function of the parent


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