Concepts

Context

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Context provides a way to pass data through the component tree without having to pass props down manually at every level.


When to use context

When you have a large component tree that requires state to be shared, context can be used. Context can be employed to avoid prop drilling, which is the practice of passing props through intermediate elements without using them directly.

If you only want to avoid passing some props through a few levels levels, component composition is often a simpler solution than context.

Signals are often a simplest solution since they can be imported directly into the components that need them.

Context is designed to share data that can be considered "global", or information that is regularly accessed by many components in your application or component tree. It offers a way to access values more efficiently instead of passing props through intermediate elements or importing them directly into components.


Creating context

Context is created using the createContext function. This function has a Provider property that wraps the component tree you want to provide context to.

import { createContext } from "solid-js";
const MyContext = createContext()
export const Provider = (props) => {
return (
<MyContext.Provider>
{props.children}
</MyContext.Provider>
)
}

Providing context to children

To pass a value to the Provider, you use the value prop which can take in any value, including signals. Once a value is passed to the Provider, it is available to all components that are descendants of the Provider.

When passing a single value, it can be directly passed to the value prop:

import { createContext, useContext } from "solid-js"
const MyContext = createContext("initial")
const Provider = (props) => (
<MyContext.Provider value="new value">{props.children}</MyContext.Provider>
)

However, if you need to access multiple values, they must be passed as an object literal, or using double curly braces ({{ }}):

import { createContext, createSignal } from "solid-js"
const MyContext = createContext("default value")
export const Provider = (props) => {
const stringVal = "new value"
const numberVal = 3;
const objVal = {
foo: "bar",
obj: true,
};
return (
<MyContext.Provider value={{
stringVal,
numberVal,
objVal
}}>
{props.children}
</MyContext.Provider>
)
}

Consuming context

Once the values are available to all the components in the context's component tree, they can be accessed using the useContext utility. This utility takes in the context object and returns the value(s) passed to the Provider:

import { createContext, useContext } from "solid-js"
const MyContext = createContext()
const Provider = (props) => (
<MyContext.Provider value="new value">{props.children}</MyContext.Provider>
)
const Child = () => {
const value = useContext(MyContext)
return <>{value}</>
}
export const App = () => (
<Provider>
<Child /> {/* "new value" */}
</Provider>
)

When you are passing multiple values into the Provider, you can destructure the context object to access the values you need. This provides a readable way to access the values you need without having to access the entire context object:

import { createContext, useContext, createSignal } from "solid-js"
const MyContext = createContext()
const Provider = (props) => {
const stringVal = "new value"
const numberVal = 3
const objVal = {
foo: "bar",
obj: true,
}
const [signal, setSignal] = createSignal("example signal")
return (
<MyContext.Provider
value={{
stringVal,
numberVal,
objVal,
}}
>
{props.children}
</MyContext.Provider>
)
}
const Child = () => {
const { stringVal, numberVal } = useContext(MyContext) // only access the values you need through destructuring
return (
<>
<h1>{stringVal}</h1>
<span>{numberVal}</span>
</>
)
}
export const App = () => (
<Provider>
<Child />
</Provider>
)

Customizing context utilities

When an application contains multiple context objects, it can be difficult to keep track of which context object is being used. To solve this issue, you can create a custom utilities to create a more readable way to access the context values.

For example, when wrapping a component tree, you may want to create a custom Provider component that can be used to wrap the component tree. This also provides you with the option of re-using the Provider component in other parts of your application, if needed.

import { createSignal, createContext, useContext } from "solid-js"
const CounterContext = createContext()
export function CounterProvider(props) {
let count = 0
return (
<CounterContext.Provider value={count}>
{props.children}
</CounterContext.Provider>
)
}

Now if you had to access the Provider in different areas of your application, you can simply import the CounterProvider component and wrap the component tree:

import { CounterProvider } from "./counterProvider"
export function App() {
return (
<CounterProvider count={1}>
<h1>Welcome to Counter</h1>
<NestedComponents />
</CounterProvider>
)
}

Similarly, you can create a custom utility to access the context values. Instead of importing useContext and passing in the context object on each component that you're using it in, creating a customized utility can make it easier to access the values you need:

export function useCounter() {
return useContext(CounterContext)
}

The useCounter() utility in this example can now be imported into any component that needs to access the context values:

import { useCounter } from "./counter"
export function CounterProvider(props) {
const count = useCounter()
return (
<>
<div>{count()}</div>
</>
)
}

Updating context values

Signals offer a way to synchronize and manage data shared across your components using context. You can pass a signal directly to the value prop of the Provider component, and any changes to the signal will be reflected in all components that consume the context.

This offers a way to manage state across your components without having to pass props through intermediate elements.


Debugging with context

createContext takes in an optional default value and it is possible it can return undefined if not provided. When working with TypeScript, this can introduce type issues that make it difficult to determine why your component is not rendering as expected.

To solve this issue, a default value can be specified when creating a context object, or errors can be handled manually through the use of a custom useMyContext utility:

import { createContext, useContext } from "solid-js";
const MyContext = createContext<string>();
function useMyContext() {
const value = useContext(MyContext);
if (value === undefined) {
throw new Error("useMyContext must be used within a MyContext.Provider");
}
return value;
}
function Child() {
const value = useMyContext();
return <div>{value}</div>;
}
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