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Profunctor State Hook

React Hook for state management with Profunctor Optics

A simple and small (2KB!) approach to state management in React using functional lenses (a type of profunctor optics). A lens is made of two functions: get (like selectors in Redux, or computed values in MobX) and set (the opposite of a selector, creates new parent state). This way, parent state and child state are kept in sync, updating back and forth automatically.

npm install --save @staltz/use-profunctor-state

See also @staltz/with-profunctor-state.


Suppose your app handles temperatures in Fahrenheit, but one component works only with Celsius. You can create a conversion layer between those two with promap(get, set).

Open this also in a CodeSandbox.

function App() {
  const initialState = {fahrenheit: 70, other: {}}

  const appProf = useProfunctorState(initialState);
  // or:
  // const {state, setState, promap} = useProfunctorState(initialState);

  const celsiusProf = appProf.promap(
    state => fToC(state.fahrenheit),
    (celsius, state) => ({ ...state, fahrenheit: cToF(celsius) })

  return (
      <div>Global app state: {JSON.stringify(appProf.state)}</div>
      <CelsiusThermometer {...celsiusProf} />

Because promap is composable, you can also split the conversion layer into multiple parts:

const celsiusProf = appProf
  .promap(s => s.fahrenheit, (f, s) => ({ ...s, fahrenheit: f }))
  .promap(fToC, cToF);

The CelsiusThermometer component received props state, setState and promap from the spread of celsiusProf:

  • state: in this case it's a number representing celsius
  • setState: does what you think it does!
  • promap: use this if CelsiusThermometer would have children components
function CelsiusThermometer({ state, setState, promap }) {
  const onColder = () => setState(prev => prev - 5);
  const onHotter = () => setState(prev => prev + 5);
  return (
      <button onClick={onColder}>Colder</button>
      <button onClick={onHotter}>Hotter</button>
      <Thermometer value={state} max="100" steps="4" format="°C" />


Simpler architecture

  • Global app state == Props == Local component state
  • No actions, no reducers, no dispatch, no store
  • Selector/unselector conversion layers in the component tree


  • state and setState work just like you would assume
  • Easy to migrate your apps to use profunctors


  • Build the parent components like you build the smaller components
  • Same pattern applies to all components, both Presentational and Container


  • Every child component assumes nothing about its parent component
  • Child components with props {state, setState, promap} can be published as-is to NPM


  • Lenses are composable and operate immutably, just like Redux selectors
  • Chain .promap calls like you would chain .map calls
  • Backed by mathematical theory

Performance similar to Redux

  • Sprinkle React.memo() here and there to avoid full-app rerenders

Small: 2 KB and 80 lines of code

TypeScript support


Compared to Redux and similar (ngrx, Vuex):

  • No actions means no support for Redux DevTools
  • This library itself is not used in production yet


useProfunctorState(initial, [args])

const {state, setState, promap} = useProfunctorState(initial);

React hook that should be called in the body of a function component. Returns a profunctor state object, which consists of three parts:

  • state: the data, initially this will be initial
  • setState: works just like React's traditional setState
    • setState(newState) or
    • setState(prev => ...)
  • promap(get, set): creates a new profunctor state object based on the current one, given two functions:
    • get: parentState => childState
    • set: (newChild, oldParent) => newParent

Promap also alternatively supports a lens object, which is simply promap({get, set}) instead of promap(get, set). This is useful in case you want to publish a lens object elsewhere and simply pass it into the promap.

Underneath, this hook uses useState and useMemo. The second argument (optional) [args] is an array of inputs that dictates when to recompute the memoized profunctor state object, just like with useMemo(_, args). By default, the args array is [state].

withProfunctorState(ProComponent, initial, [args])

Higher-order component that does the same as useProfunctorState, but accepts as input a Pro Component (component that wants props state, setState, promap), and returns a new component that calls useProfunctorState internally.

Pro Components

A Pro Component is any component that expects all or some of these props {state, setState, promap}. When you use this library, you will begin writing Pro Components to consume pieces of the global app state. For instance, in the example above, the CelsiusThermometer was a Pro Component:

function CelsiusThermometer({ state, setState, promap }) {
  const onColder = () => setState(prev => prev - 5);
  const onHotter = () => setState(prev => prev + 5);
  return (
      <button onClick={onColder}>Colder</button>
      <button onClick={onHotter}>Hotter</button>
      <Thermometer value={state} max="100" steps="4" format="°C" />

A Pro Component can put its local state in the state prop using setState. You can also think of this setState as setProps. Writing components in this style is familiar, because setState works just like the traditional API. But now we have the added benefit that Pro Components can be published as-is (they are just functions!) to NPM, and there is no need to import @staltz/use-profunctor-state as a dependency of a Pro Component. This way you get encapsulated and composable pieces of state management that can be shared across applications. Pro Components can either be presentational or logic-heavy container components.

PS: it might be good to apply React.memo() on every Pro Component by default.


What about performance?

By default, each child's setState will cause a top-level state update which will rerender the entire hierarchy below. This is a bad thing, but it's not unlike Redux, where you need to carefully design shouldComponentUpdate. With profunctor state, just add React.memo to a Pro Component and that should do the same as shouldComponentUpdate, the memo will shallow compare the props (i.e. state, setState, promap, although only state is interesting during updates).

Check this CodeSandbox with React.memo usage, where background colors change upon re-render.

Can I still have truly internal local state?

Yes. Nothing stops you from adding a useState hook so you can have truly internal state in a Pro Component, such as:

 function CelsiusThermometer({ state, setState, promap }) {
   const onColder = () => setState(prev => prev - 5);
   const onHotter = () => setState(prev => prev + 5);
+  const [steps, setSteps] = useState(4);
   return (
       <button onClick={onColder}>Colder</button>
       <button onClick={onHotter}>Hotter</button>
-      <Thermometer value={state} max="100" steps="4" format="°C" />
+      <Thermometer value={state} max="100" steps={steps} format="°C" />

Is this production-ready?

Theoretically, yes, it was designed after Cycle State. The community has been using functional lenses in Cycle State (a.k.a. cycle-onionify) for at least a year, also in production. Lenses are also not new, they're in JS libraries like Ramda and Partial Lenses, but much more common in functional languages like Haskell.

In practice, this specific library has not been used in production (neither have React hooks!), so you shouldn't go right ahead and convert any app to this style. That said, this was a conference-driven developed library, just like Redux was.

Why @staltz/use-profunctor-state and not use-profunctor-state?

First, I want to wait til React hooks are official. Second, I don't want to pollute the NPM registry. Third, I believe most people should author packages under their own scope (just like in GitHub!), so that forks can indicate who is maintaining the package, because I don't intend to maintain this package, although it's small and might not even need maintenance.



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