Lesson 5

Steering the Course: Programmatic Navigation in React Router v6

Topic Overview and Actualization

Welcome! Today, we'll journey through the process of programmatic navigation using React Router v6. We'll explore the hooks useNavigate and useLocation, along with a concept known as navigation with state. Let's jump in!

Navigating Programmatically

Typically, a React app that uses Router v6 utilizes Link or NavLink for navigation. However, there are instances when we require more control, such as redirecting after a form submission. That's when we turn to programmatic navigation.

JavaScript
1import { useNavigate } from 'react-router-dom'; 2 3function NewPostPage() { 4 let navigate = useNavigate(); 5 6 saveNewPost(newPost).then(() => { 7 navigate('/main'); // Navigates the user to the main page after saving a post 8 }); 9}
The Magic of useNavigate

useNavigate hook provides a function enabling navigation in our React router application. In addition to navigating to absolute paths like /login or /home, useNavigate possesses the superpower to navigate relative to the current location. It also introduces a new way to navigate backwards.

For instance, if we wanted to move back one step in our route history, we could call navigate(-1). It's a simple and intuitive feature that can be incredibly handy in certain scenarios.

For example, consider a back button in a multi-step form:

JavaScript
1import { useNavigate } from 'react-router-dom'; 2 3const BackButton = () => { 4 let navigate = useNavigate(); 5 6 let handleClick = () => { 7 navigate(-1); // Takes you back one step in your route history. 8 }; 9 10 return <button onClick={handleClick}>Go Back</button>; 11}

Here, when the 'Go Back' button is clicked, the user would be taken back to the previous page in their route history. This beautiful feature brought forth by the useNavigate hook allows us a more human-friendly way of handling navigation in our apps. Continue exploring and you'll find even more friendly features!

Introduction to useLocation

useLocation is another hook offered by React Router. It returns an object representing the current location or URL. This can be useful when you're creating breadcrumbs or displaying the current pathname.

JavaScript
1import { useLocation } from 'react-router-dom'; 2 3function CurrentPathDisplay() { 4 let location = useLocation(); 5 6 return <div>Your current location: {location.pathname}</div> // Displays the user's current location 7}
Navigation with State

When navigating, you can pass state data that will be accessible on the destination route. React Router provides useNavigate for passing state and useLocation for accessing it.

JavaScript
1import { useNavigate } from 'react-router-dom'; 2 3function UpdateButton() { 4 let navigate = useNavigate(); 5 6 let handleClick = () => { 7 navigate("/login", { state: { from: "update" } }); // Adds state when navigating 8 }; 9 10 return <button onClick={handleClick}>Update post</button>; 11} 12 13// In Login component 14import { useLocation } from 'react-router-dom'; 15 16function Login() { 17 let location = useLocation(); 18 let from = location.state?.from; // Accesses the state passed during navigation 19}

In this snippet, we can display a custom message to a user coming from the update button by checking location.state?.from. In this snippet, we display a custom message for a user coming from the Update button. The location.state?.from above uses the Optional Chaining operator (?.). It immediately returns undefined if location.state does not exist, thus preventing a TypeError, as JavaScript would not be able to read the from property of undefined. This way, we can safely access nested properties even if an intermediate property doesn't exist.

Lesson Summary and Practice

Today, we've enhanced our understanding of programmatic navigation in React Router v6. Up next are some hands-on practice tasks to help solidify your learning — they're beneficial and enjoyable! Applying what you've learned in realistic conditions reinforces the knowledge. So let's navigate to the workload. Happy practicing!

Enjoy this lesson? Now it's time to practice with Cosmo!

Practice is how you turn knowledge into actual skills.