Redux modules and code-splitting

Twitter Lite uses Redux for state management and relies on code-splitting. However, Redux’s default API is not designed for applications that are incrementally-loaded during a user session.

This post describes how I added support for incrementally loading the Redux modules in Twitter Lite. It’s relatively straight-forward and proven in production over several years.

Redux modules

Redux modules comprise of a reducer, actions, action creators, and selectors. Organizing redux code into self-contained modules makes it possible to create APIs that don’t involve directly referencing the internal state of a reducer – this makes refactoring and testing a lot easier. (More about the concept of redux modules.)

Here’s an example of a small “redux module”.

// data/notifications/index.js

const initialState = [];
let notificationId = 0;

const createActionName = name => `app/notifications/${name}`;

// reducer
export default function reducer(state = initialState, action = {}) {
  switch (action.type) {
    case ADD_NOTIFICATION:
      return [...state, { ...action.payload, id: notificationId += 1 }];
    case REMOVE_NOTIFICATION:
      return state.slice(1);
    default:
      return state;
  }
}

// selectors
export const selectAllNotifications = state => state.notifications;
export const selectNextNotification = state => state.notifications[0];

// actions
export const ADD_NOTIFICATION = createActionName(ADD_NOTIFICATION);
export const REMOVE_NOTIFICATION = createActionName(REMOVE_NOTIFICATION);

// action creators
export const addNotification = payload => ({ payload, type: ADD_NOTIFICATION });
export const removeNotification = () => ({ type: REMOVE_NOTIFICATION });

This module can be used to add and select notifications. Here’s an example of how it can be used to provide props to a React component.

// components/NotificationView/connect.js

import { connect } from 'react-redux';
import { createStructuredSelector } from 'reselect';
import { removeNotification, selectNextNotification } from '../../data/notifications';

const mapStateToProps = createStructuredSelector({
  nextNotification: selectNextNotification
});
const mapDispatchToProps = { removeNotification };

export default connect(mapStateToProps, mapDispatchToProps);
// components/NotificationView/index.js

import connect from './connect';
export class NotificationView extends React.Component { /*...*/ }
export default connect(NotificationView);

This allows you to import specific modules that are responsible for modifying and querying specific parts of the overall state. This can be very useful when relying on code-splitting.

However, problems with this approach are evident once it comes to adding the reducer to a Redux store.

// data/createStore.js

import { combineReducers, createStore } from 'redux';
Import notifications from './notifications';

const initialState = /* from local storage or server */

const reducer = combineReducers({ notifications });
const store = createStore(reducer, initialState);

export default store;

You’ll notice that the notifications namespace is defined at the time the store is created, and not by the Redux module that defines the reducer. If the “notifications” reducer name is changed in createStore, all the selectors in the “notifications” Redux module no longer work. Worse, every Redux module needs to be imported in the createStore file before it can be added to the store’s reducer. This doesn’t scale and isn’t good for large apps that rely on code-splitting to incrementally load modules. A large app could have dozens of Redux modules, many of which are only used by a few components and unnecessary for initial render.

Both of these issues can be avoided by introducing a Redux reducer registry.

Redux reducer registry

The reducer registry enables Redux reducers to be added to the store’s reducer after the store has been created. This allows Redux modules to be loaded on-demand, without requiring all Redux modules to be bundled in the main chunk for the store to correctly initialize.

// data/reducerRegistry.js

export class ReducerRegistry {
  constructor() {
    this._emitChange = null;
    this._reducers = {};
  }

  getReducers() {
    return { ...this._reducers };
  }

  register(name, reducer) {
    this._reducers = { ...this._reducers, [name]: reducer };
    if (this._emitChange) {
      this._emitChange(this.getReducers());
    }
  }

  setChangeListener(listener) {
    this._emitChange = listener;
  }
}

const reducerRegistry = new ReducerRegistry();
export default reducerRegistry;

Each Redux module can now register itself and define its own reducer name.

// data/notifications/index.js

import reducerRegistry from '../reducerRegistry';

const initialState = [];
let notificationId = 0;

const reducerName = 'notifications';

const createActionName = name => `app/${reducerName}/${name}`;

// reducer
export default function reducer(state = initialState, action = {}) {
  switch (action.type) {
    case ADD_NOTIFICATION:
      return [...state, { ...action.payload, id: notificationId += 1 }];
    case REMOVE_NOTIFICATION:
      return state.slice(1);
    default:
      return state;
  }
}

reducerRegistry.register(reducerName, reducer);

// selectors
export const selectAllNotifications = state => state[reducerName];
export const selectNextNotification = state => state[reducerName][0];

// actions
export const ADD_NOTIFICATION = createActionName(ADD_NOTIFICATION);
export const REMOVE_NOTIFICATION = createActionName(REMOVE_NOTIFICATION);

// action creators
export const addNotification = payload => ({ payload, type: ADD_NOTIFICATION });
export const removeNotification = () => ({ type: REMOVE_NOTIFICATION });

Next, we need to replace the store’s combined reducer whenever a new reducer is registered (e.g., after loading an on-demand chunk). This is complicated slightly by the need to preserve initial state that may have been created by reducers that aren’t yet loaded on the client. By default, once an action is dispatched, Redux will throw away state that is not tied to a known reducer. To avoid that, reducer stubs are created to preserve the state.

// data/createStore.js

import { combineReducers, createStore } from 'redux';
import reducerRegistry from './reducerRegistry';

const initialState = /* from local storage or server */

// Preserve initial state for not-yet-loaded reducers
const combine = (reducers) => {
  const reducerNames = Object.keys(reducers);
  Object.keys(initialState).forEach(item => {
    if (reducerNames.indexOf(item) === -1) {
      reducers[item] = (state = null) => state;
    }
  });
  return combineReducers(reducers);
};

const reducer = combine(reducerRegistry.getReducers());
const store = createStore(reducer, initialState);

// Replace the store's reducer whenever a new reducer is registered.
reducerRegistry.setChangeListener(reducers => {
  store.replaceReducer(combine(reducers));
});

export default store;

Managing the Redux store’s reducer with a registry should help you better code-split your application and modularize your state management.