Add Solving React Redux triggering too many re-renders

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Kaan Barmore-Genç 2 weeks ago
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---
title: "Solving React Redux Triggering Too Many Re-Renders"
date: 2022-09-18T18:13:31-04:00
toc: false
images:
tags:
- javascript
- typescript
- react
- web
- dev
---
This might be obvious for some, but I was struggling with a performance issue in
[Bulgur Cloud](/portfolio/#bulgur-cloud), my React (well, React Native) based
web application. Bulgur Cloud is an app like Google Drive or NextCloud, and one
of the features is that you can upload files. But I noticed that the page would
slow down to a crawl and my computers fans would spin up during uploads. It
can't be that expensive to display a progress bar for an upload, so let's figure
out what's happening.
As the first step, I installed the "React Developer Tools" extension in my
browser and enabled the "Highlight updates when components render" option. Then
I used the network tab to add a throttle so I could see the upload happen more
slowly, and started another upload.
{{<raw>}}
<video controls width="100%">
<source src="/vid/react-redux-causes-re-renders.mp4" type="video/mp4">
<p>A video showing a progress bar slowly increasing. As the progress bar goes up, the entire screen flashes with blue borders.</p>
</video>
{{</raw>}}
Pretty much the entire screen flashes every time the progress bar goes up.
Something **is** causing unnecessary re-renders! The next step in my diagnosis
was to record a profile of the upload process with the react developer tools. I
enable the option "Record why each component rendered when profiling", then run
the profiler as I upload another file.
![A flame graph with many elements highlighted in blue.](/img/react-redux-rerender-flamegraph.png)
Walking through the commits in the flame graph (the part that says "select next
commit" in the screenshot, top right), I can see this weird jagged pattern that
repeats through the upload process. Selecting on of the tall commits again
confirms that pretty much everything had to be re-rendered. Hovering over the
items being re-rendered shows me that the items being re-rendered are my folder
listings, the rows representing files. It also tells me why they re-rendered:
"Hook 3 changed".
Next step is to switch over to the components feature of the react developer
tools, and take a look at `FolderList`. Once I select it, I get a list of the
hooks that it uses. Keep expanding the tree of hooks, and the hook numbers are
revealed.
![A tree view displaying hooks for a component named FolderList](/img/react-redux-component-hooks.png)
The hook names here seem to be the names in the source code minus the `use`
part, so my `useFetch` hook becomes `Fetch`. They are in a tree view since hooks
can call other hooks inside them. Following the tree, hook 3 is `State`, and is
located under `Selector` which is a React Redux hook `useSelector`. At this
point things become clearer: I'm using redux to store the upload progress, and
every time I update the progress it causes everything to re-render. And all of
this is being caused through my fetch hook. Let's look at the code for that:
```ts
export function useFetch<D, R>(
params: RequestParams<D>,
swrConfig?: SWRConfiguration,
) {
// useAppSelector is useSelector from react redux,
// just a wrapper to use my app types
const { access_token, site } = useAppSelector((selector) =>
// pick is same as Lodash's _.pick
pick(selector.auth, "access_token", "site"),
);
// ...
```
I realized the issue once I had tracked it down to here! The state selector is
using the `pick` function to extract values out of an object. React Redux checks
if the value selected by the selector has changed to decide if things need to be
re-rendered, but it uses a basic equality comparison and not a deep equality
check. Because `pick` keeps creating new objects, the objects are never equal to
each other, and Redux keeps thinking that it has to re-render my object!
The solution luckily is easy, we can tell redux to use a custom function for
comparison. I used a `shallowEquals` function to do a single-depth comparison of
the objects (the object is flat so I don't need recursion).
```ts
export function shallowEquals<Left extends Record<string, unknown>, Right extends Record<string, unknown>>(left: Left, right: Right) {
if (Object.keys(left).length !== Object.keys(right).length) return false;
for (const key of Object.keys(left)) {
if (left[key] !== right[key]) return false;
}
return true;
}
// ...
const { access_token, site } = useAppSelector((selector) =>
pick(selector.auth, "access_token", "site"),
shallowEquals
);
```
Let's look at the profile now:
![A flame graph with only a tiny portion of elements highlighted.](/img/react-redux-after-flamegraph.png)
Much better! The only thing re-rendering now is the progress bar itself, which
is ideal.

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