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React Select: How to Best Deploy and Manage Components

React Select allows an easily customizable and user-friendly way to create multi-select components and select dropdowns in React applications, making it a key component of modern web development. Understanding the features of React Select becomes crucial for front-end developers as they work to produce user interfaces that are easy to use.

This article will look at React Select’s fundamental concepts, functionalities, and best practices. We will look at its basic components, the modification freedom it gives, and ways to improve performance and accessibility. This comprehensive article aims to empower you with the insights and abilities needed to efficiently deploy and manage select components in your React applications, whether you’re new to React Select or looking to expand your existing expertise. Let’s embark on a journey.

you may learn how to use react select in a react application in this video below. If you want to learn more, though, I recommend reading on.

What is React Select

React Select is a powerful and flexible Select component library specifically designed for React applications. It is a versatile and highly customizable library designed to facilitate the creation and management of dropdown and select input components in React applications.

React Select was created as a powerful solution for handling select input. It provides a complete collection of features, functions, and customization options, enabling developers to design intuitive, accessible, and visually appealing user interfaces.

Let’s proceed to learn about the key features of React and discover how they can empower you to create exceptional user interfaces and streamline development procedures.

Features of React Select

React Select has a broad set of functionality, making it a popular choice for handling dropdown and select input components in React applications.

Let’s look at some of its key features:

Autocomplete:

The React Select Autocomplete feature refers to the react-select library’s ability to provide suggestions or autocompletion functionality as users type into the input field. This is especially beneficial when dealing with many options since it allows users to rapidly find and select the required value. The Autocomplete feature often requires asynchronous option loading, which allows the component to obtain suggestions from an API or other data source based on user input.

Async Support:

Async support in React Select refers to the library’s ability to handle the asynchronous loading of options. This is particularly useful when working with large datasets or when options must be fetched from an external source, such as an API, while the user interacts with the component. The asynchronous nature of the dropdown allows it to dynamically load and show options based on user input, resulting in a more responsive and efficient user experience.

Creatable:

The Creatable feature allows users to add new options to the dropdown list on the fly, even if they aren’t already accessible in the provided option data. This can be quite useful in dynamic scenarios when users may encounter options they did not expect.

Searchable:

The Searchable feature of the react-select library refers to the dropdown menu’s ability to be searchable. When a select component is searchable, users can type into the dropdown’s input box, and the component dynamically filters the available options based on their input. This is especially helpful when working with many alternatives because it allows users to find and select the required value rapidly.

PS: Engineers waste time building and styling components when working on a project, writing repetitive markup adds time to the project and is a mundane, boring task for engineers. PureCode.ai uses AI to generate a large selection of custom, styled UI components for different projects and component types.

Installation and Setup of React Select

To use react-select in a React project, you must first install and configure it. Here’s a basic guide on how to get around it:

Create a React Project:

If you haven’t already created a React project, you can do so with this command `create-react-app`. Run the following commands in your terminal:

npx create-react-app react-select-demo
cd react-select-demo

Install React Select:

Once your React project is running, you can install react-select with npm or yarn. Navigate to your project folder in your terminal and enter one of the following commands:

# Using npm
npm install react-select
# Using yarn
yarn add react-select

Use the `react select` component:

Now you can use the react-select component in your React application. Open the src/App.js file (or any other component where you wish to use react-select) and import the component:

import React, { useState } from 'react';
import Select from 'react-select';

const options = [
  { value: 'apple', label: 'Apple' },
  { value: 'banana', label: 'Banana' },
  { value: 'cherry', label: 'Cherry' },
  // Add more options as needed
];

function App() {
  const [selectedOption, setSelectedOption] = useState(null);

  const handleChange = (selectedOption) => {
    setSelectedOption(selectedOption);
  };

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>React Select Demo</h1>
      <Select
        value={selectedOption}
        onChange={handleChange}
        options={options}
      />
    </div>
  );
}

export default App;

Start/Run the React application:

After saving all changes, start the React application by running the following code in your terminal:

 <!-- Run your react application with eiter npm or yarn -->
npm start
yarn start

This will launch your React app, and you should be able to see how react-select is used in practice.

The image below is the output of all the code in this section:

react select component

How to Use React Select

Now that you’ve created a React app and installed react-select, let’s go over how to utilize react-select in your React application in more detail.

Assuming you have a React app structure that is similar to the default create-react-app structure, follow this procedure:

Import react and react select:

Open the component where react-select will be used. This is often the main application file (src/App.js), but it can be used in any component. Add the following code to the component.

import React, { useState } from 'react';
import Select from 'react-select';

Define the select option value:

Define an array of options containing multiple values that will be displayed in the dropdown.

const options = [
  { value: 'apple', label: 'Apple' },
  { value: 'banana', label: 'Banana' },
  { value: 'cherry', label: 'Cherry' },
  // Add more options as needed
];

Each option is an object with value and label properties. The value represents the underlying value of the option, while the label is what will be displayed in the dropdown.

Setup State:

Here, processed to set up a state to track the selected option in the dropdown.

const [selectedOption, setSelectedOption] = useState(null);
// You can set an initial value by passing an option to useState like
// useState(options[0]);

The useState hook is used here to create a state variable called selectedOption and a function called setSelectedOption to update its value. The initial state is set to null `useState(null)`, indicating no choice is picked at the start. You can specify an option as an argument to `useState()` if you want to preselect it.

Render the Select component:

Place the <Select /> component where you want it to appear in your component’s JSX. Customize it based on your requirements.

 <Select
        value={selectedOption}
        onChange={handleChange}
        options={options}
      />

This code is using the Select component from the react-select library. Here’s an explanation of each prop being used:

The `Value` Props:

value={selectedOption}

The value prop specifies which option in the dropdown is currently selected. It is connected to the state variable `selectedOption`.

The `onChange` Props:

onChange={handleChange}

The onChange prop defines the function that will be called when the user selects a different option. In this scenario, it is set to the handleChange function.

The `option` Props:

options={options}

The options prop is an array of objects representing the dropdown’s available options. Each object in the array should have value and label properties.

Putting it all together, this Select component is rendering a dropdown menu that displays the options from the options array. Sets the currently selected option to the value stored in the selectedOption state variable. Calls the handleChange function when the user selects a different option.

In summary, the Select component enables you to create a configurable dropdown/select input with numerous features given by the react-select library; in the larger context of a React component, you would use this within the return statement of a functional component.

How to Style a React Select Component

When it comes to web development, designing a user interface that is both visually appealing and interactive is essential.

Styling a react-select component entails changing its appearance to match the style of your application. Styles can be applied in numerous ways, including inline styles, `className`, and the styles parameter for more extensive customization.

Styling a react-select component entails changing its appearance to match the style of your application. Styles can be applied in numerous ways, including inline styles, `className`, and the styles parameter for more extensive customization.

Here’s a guide on how to style a react-select component:

Import Styles and Define Custom Styles:

First, if you haven’t already, import the react-select styles. You can use the default styles or customize them further. Define your custom styles using the style prop.

import React from 'react';
import Select from 'react-select';
import 'react-select/dist/react-select.css'; // Import default styles

const customStyles = {
  control: (base, state) => ({
    ...base,
    boxShadow: state.isFocused ? '0 0 0 1px #0366d6' : null,
    borderColor: state.isFocused ? '#0366d6' : base.borderColor,
    '&:hover': {
      borderColor: state.isFocused ? '#0366d6' : base.borderColor,
    },
  }),
  option: (base, state) => ({
    ...base,
    backgroundColor: state.isFocused ? '#0366d6' : null,
    color: state.isFocused ? 'white' : base.color,
  }),
};

In the above example, the customStyles object contains styles for the control (primary container) and the options. Adjust the styles to your preference.

Apply Custom Styles to Select Components:

Use the `styles` props when rendering the `Select` component and pass the custom styles from the previous example.

function app() {
  const options = [
    { value: 'apple', label: 'Apple' },
    { value: 'banana', label: 'Banana' },
    { value: 'cherry', label: 'Cherry' },
    // Add more options as needed
  ];

  return (
   <div>
      <h1>React Select Demo</h1>
      <Select
      options={options}
      styles={customStyles}
    />
    </div>
  );
}

export default app;

You add your custom styling to the react-select component by giving the `customStyles` object to the styles prop.

Putting all the codes together:

import React from 'react';
import Select from 'react-select';

const options = [
  { value: 'apple', label: 'Apple' },
  { value: 'banana', label: 'Banana' },
  { value: 'cherry', label: 'Cherry' },
  // Add more options as needed
];
const customStyles = {
  control: (base, state) => ({
    ...base,
    boxShadow: state.isFocused ? '0 0 0 1px #0366d6' : null,
    borderColor: state.isFocused ? '#0366d6' : base.borderColor,
    '&:hover': {
      borderColor: state.isFocused ? '#0366d6' : base.borderColor,
    },
  }),
  option: (base, state) => ({
    ...base,
    backgroundColor: state.isFocused ? 'red' : null,
    color: state.isFocused ? 'white' : base.color,
  }),
};
function App() {


  return (
    <div>
      <h1>React Select Demo</h1>
      <Select
      options={options}
      styles={customStyles}
    />
    </div>
  );
}

export default App;

This is the output of the code above:

customized react select

Within the dropdown, you may further change the styles for different components. You can, for example, customize the dropdown indicator, menu, and more. For a thorough list of style choices and components that can be styled, see the react-select documentation.

Using Custom Component in React Select

React Select allows you to use custom components for various parts of the dropdown, such as the control, option, value, and more. This provides a high level of customization to match your application’s design. Here’s a guide on how to use custom components in React Select:

Create Custom Components:

First, create your custom components. For example, let’s create a custom component for rendering options.

import React from 'react';

const CustomOption = ({ innerProps, label }) => (
  <div {...innerProps} style={{ backgroundColor: 'lightblue', padding: '8px' }}>
    {label}
  </div>
);
export default CustomOption

This CustomOption component takes innerProps and labels as props and renders a div with a light blue backdrop.

PS: Engineers waste time building and styling components when working on a project, writing repetitive markup adds time to the project and is a mundane, boring task for engineers. PureCode.ai uses AI to generate a large selection of custom, styled UI components for different projects and component types.

Use Custom Component in `Select`:

Use the custom component by passing it to the components prop in the Select component.

import React from 'react';
import Select from 'react-select';

const options = [
  { value: 'apple', label: 'Apple' },
  { value: 'banana', label: 'Banana' },
  { value: 'cherry', label: 'Cherry' },
  // Add more options as needed
];

const customComponents = {
  Option: CustomOption,
  // You can add more custom components like Control, SingleValue, etc.
};

function App() {
  return (
 <div>
    <h1>React Select Demo</h1>
    <Select
      options={options}
      components={customComponents}
    />
 </div>
  );
}

export default App;

In this example, the components prop is an object where you specify which custom components to use for different parts of the Select dropdown. In this case, we are using the CustomOption component for rendering options.

react select custom component

You can create and use custom components for various parts of the Select dropdown, such as Control, SingleValue, ValueContainer, and more. Explore the react-select documentation to see the available components and understand their purposes.

Real Life Example

In this section, we will create a React Project that uses `React Select` to filter and display a list of countries.

Follow this step-by-step guide to build this project:

Create a New React App:

npx create-react-app react-select-example
cd react-select-example

Install Dependencies:

npm install react-select

Create a CountryService:

Let’s create a basic service that returns a list of nations. Create a new file called `CountryService.js`:

// CountryService.js
const countries = [
  { value: 'us', label: 'United States' },
  { value: 'ca', label: 'Canada' },
  { value: 'uk', label: 'United Kingdom' },
  { value: 'au', label: 'Australia' },
  { value: 'de', label: 'Germany' },
  { value: 'fr', label: 'France' },
  { value: 'br', label: 'Brazil' },
  { value: 'in', label: 'India' },
  { value: 'cn', label: 'China' },
  { value: 'jp', label: 'Japan' },
  { value: 'mx', label: 'Mexico' },
  { value: 'za', label: 'South Africa' },
  { value: 'kr', label: 'South Korea' },
  { value: 'ru', label: 'Russia' },
  { value: 'se', label: 'Sweden' },
  { value: 'ch', label: 'Switzerland' },
  { value: 'es', label: 'Spain' },
  { value: 'it', label: 'Italy' },
  { value: 'nl', label: 'Netherlands' },
  { value: 'sg', label: 'Singapore' },
  // Add more countries as needed
  ];
  
  export const fetchCountries = () => {
    return new Promise((resolve) => {
      setTimeout(() => {
        resolve(countries);
      }, 1000); // Simulate an asynchronous API call
    });
  };

Create a CountrySelect Component:

First, create a new file `CountrySelect.js`:

// CountrySelect.js
import React, { useState, useEffect } from 'react';
import Select from 'react-select';
import { fetchCountries } from './CountryService';

const CountrySelect = () => {
  const [countries, setCountries] = useState([]);
  const [selectedCountry, setSelectedCountry] = useState(null);

  useEffect(() => {
    const getCountries = async () => {
      const countryOptions = await fetchCountries();
      setCountries(countryOptions);
    };

    getCountries();
  }, []);

  const handleChange = (selectedOption) => {
    setSelectedCountry(selectedOption);
  };

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Country Selector</h1>
      <Select
        value={selectedCountry}
        onChange={handleChange}
        options={countries}
        placeholder="Select a country"
      />
      {selectedCountry && (
        <p>Selected Country: {selectedCountry.label}</p>
      )}
    </div>
  );
};

export default CountrySelect;

This is the output of the example above:

Country Selector

Final Thoughts on React Select

We explored the integration of the React Select library into a React application to create a powerful and customizable dropdown/select component. `react-select` provides a user-friendly interface, making it easy for users to select options from a list, and it offers various features that enhance the overall user experience.

We covered the fundamental steps for setting up a React application, installing the `react-select` library, and using it to create a simple country Selector. The example demonstrated how to fetch a list of countries, display them in a dropdown, and capture the user’s selection

By mastering the use of React Select, developers can enhance the usability and aesthetics of their applications, providing users with an efficient and enjoyable selection experience.

For your reference, you can also check out the below YouTube video to learn more about React Select:

In conclusion, React Select stands out as a valuable tool for implementing dropdowns in React applications, offering a rich set of features, flexibility, and a straightforward integration process. Developers are encouraged to explore the library’s documentation for more advanced features and customization options to meet the specific needs of their projects.

PureCode.ai can cater for your code development process. It will save you valuable time and effort on a project by providing customized, and ready-to-use components which will allow you to prioritize more important and thought-intensive tasks to speed up the development of your user interface.

Shadrach Abba

Shadrach Abba