Wire in data

Learn how to wire in data to your UI component

So far we created isolated stateless components –great for Storybook, but ultimately not useful until we give them some data in our app.

This tutorial doesn’t focus on the particulars of building an app so we won’t dig into those details here. But we will take a moment to look at a common pattern for wiring in data with container components.

Container components

Our TaskList component as currently written is “presentational” (see this blog post) in that it doesn’t talk to anything external to its own implementation. To get data into it, we need a “container”.

This example uses Redux, the most popular React library for storing data, to build a simple data model for our app. However, the pattern used here applies just as well to other data management libraries like Apollo and MobX.

Add a new dependency on package.json with:

yarn add react-redux redux

First we’ll construct a simple Redux store that responds to actions that change the state of tasks, in a file called lib/redux.js in the src folder (intentionally kept simple):

// src/lib/redux.js

// A simple redux store/actions/reducer implementation.
// A true app would be more complex and separated into different files.
import { createStore } from 'redux';

// The actions are the "names" of the changes that can happen to the store
export const actions = {

// The action creators bundle actions with the data required to execute them
export const archiveTask = id => ({ type: actions.ARCHIVE_TASK, id });
export const pinTask = id => ({ type: actions.PIN_TASK, id });

// All our reducers simply change the state of a single task.
function taskStateReducer(taskState) {
  return (state, action) => {
    return {
      tasks: state.tasks.map(task =>
        task.id === action.id ? { ...task, state: taskState } : task

// The reducer describes how the contents of the store change for each action
export const reducer = (state, action) => {
  switch (action.type) {
    case actions.ARCHIVE_TASK:
      return taskStateReducer('TASK_ARCHIVED')(state, action);
    case actions.PIN_TASK:
      return taskStateReducer('TASK_PINNED')(state, action);
      return state;

// The initial state of our store when the app loads.
// Usually you would fetch this from a server
const defaultTasks = [
  { id: '1', title: 'Something', state: 'TASK_INBOX' },
  { id: '2', title: 'Something more', state: 'TASK_INBOX' },
  { id: '3', title: 'Something else', state: 'TASK_INBOX' },
  { id: '4', title: 'Something again', state: 'TASK_INBOX' },

// We export the constructed redux store
export default createStore(reducer, { tasks: defaultTasks });

Then we’ll update the default export from the TaskList component to connect to the Redux store and render the tasks we are interested in:

// src/components/TaskList.js

import React from 'react';
import PropTypes from 'prop-types';

import Task from './Task';
import { connect } from 'react-redux';
import { archiveTask, pinTask } from '../lib/redux';

export function PureTaskList({ loading, tasks, onPinTask, onArchiveTask }) {
  /* previous implementation of TaskList */

PureTaskList.propTypes = {
  loading: PropTypes.bool,
  tasks: PropTypes.arrayOf(Task.propTypes.task).isRequired,
  onPinTask: PropTypes.func.isRequired,
  onArchiveTask: PropTypes.func.isRequired,

PureTaskList.defaultProps = {
  loading: false,

export default connect(
  ({ tasks }) => ({
    tasks: tasks.filter(t => t.state === 'TASK_INBOX' || t.state === 'TASK_PINNED'),
  dispatch => ({
    onArchiveTask: id => dispatch(archiveTask(id)),
    onPinTask: id => dispatch(pinTask(id)),

At this stage our Storybook tests will have stopped working, as the TaskList is now a container, and no longer expects any props, instead it connects to the store and sets the props on the PureTaskList component it wraps.

However, we can easily solve this problem by simply rendering the PureTaskList --the presentational component, to which we've just added the export statement in the previous step-- in our Storybook stories:

// src/components/TaskList.stories.js

import React from 'react';
import { storiesOf } from '@storybook/react';

import { PureTaskList } from './TaskList';
import { task, actions } from './Task.stories';

export const defaultTasks = [
  { ...task, id: '1', title: 'Task 1' },
  { ...task, id: '2', title: 'Task 2' },
  { ...task, id: '3', title: 'Task 3' },
  { ...task, id: '4', title: 'Task 4' },
  { ...task, id: '5', title: 'Task 5' },
  { ...task, id: '6', title: 'Task 6' },

export const withPinnedTasks = [
  ...defaultTasks.slice(0, 5),
  { id: '6', title: 'Task 6 (pinned)', state: 'TASK_PINNED' },

storiesOf('TaskList', module)
  .addDecorator(story => <div style={{ padding: '3rem' }}>{story()}</div>)
  .add('default', () => <PureTaskList tasks={defaultTasks} {...actions} />)
  .add('withPinnedTasks', () => <PureTaskList tasks={withPinnedTasks} {...actions} />)
  .add('loading', () => <PureTaskList loading tasks={[]} {...actions} />)
  .add('empty', () => <PureTaskList tasks={[]} {...actions} />);

Similarly, we need to use PureTaskList in our Jest test:

// src/components/TaskList.test.js

import React from 'react';
import ReactDOM from 'react-dom';
import { PureTaskList } from './TaskList';
import { withPinnedTasks } from './TaskList.stories';

it('renders pinned tasks at the start of the list', () => {
  const div = document.createElement('div');
  const events = { onPinTask: jest.fn(), onArchiveTask: jest.fn() };
  ReactDOM.render(<PureTaskList tasks={withPinnedTasks} {...events} />, div);

  // We expect the task titled "Task 6 (pinned)" to be rendered first, not at the end
  const lastTaskInput = div.querySelector('.list-item:nth-child(1) input[value="Task 6 (pinned)"]');

Next Chapter
Construct a screen out of components