:heart: React

My current stack

December 21, 2020

For highly interactive, static websites without API.

React works for a list of use cases.

One of these is interactive design built on heavy user interactions in a different way than apps do.

Instead of data input the interaction is continuous through gestures, information transformation, real-time content updates from external sources.

For this scenario let me present a highly opinionated, months-in-the-making stack.


You'll know when you'll need itDan Abramov once said and his prophecy came true.

When there is no API in a project, there is no single source of truth, there is no data layer.

Typescript to the rescue. Typescript is capable to model the business domain and provide a stable, scalable foundation for the UI. The end result is not less than a database with an API.

In plus, as a bonus, everything Typescript runs through a real-time linter to detect semantic and syntactic errors while writing code.

And the Typescript learning curve is bearable.


If React then Javascript / Typescript. On all fronts.

Structure and behaviour is already JSX. Presentation, styling should be Javascript, too.

It’s better to have style objects and functions—pure Javascript code—than other constructs written on another language—CSS. It’s better to use a programming language for styling.

From all the major CSS-in-JS libraries Emotion is singular in supporting props in keyframe animations following the object syntax.

In other words with Emotion one can write anything CSS using Javascript.

Jest and Testing Library

Interactive design doesn’t require end-to-end testing where an user flow runs across pages to complete.

Unit testing is good enough. Out-of-the-box tools like Jest, React Testing Library, ts-jest extended with special libraries for hooks and responsiveness do the job.


Storybook still doesn’t fully deliver. In ten-out-of-ten projects where used it broke after a promising start. Reasons vary.

MDX together with unit tests are a complete Storybook replacement. Tests verify the scenarios while MDX presents them an easy and always working way.

For standard API documentation there is the great Better Docs generator based on JSDoc.


Among frameworks Create React App is the standard. No wonder, it’s backed by the creator of React, Facebook.

When generating the site on server side—Next.js provides the best support.

Interactive design sites present valuable content. That content must be understandable by machines, too. This is where SEO and static rendering comes in picture.

Gatsby was a contender. Their outdated philosophy move fast and break things makes the source code of this blog, running on Gatsby, rubbish. Dare to buid on it.


It would be nice to have XState to reduce concerns around state as Typescript does around code.

The high learning curve is an impediment to that. Finite state machines are a mathematical model of computation. As such, comprehensive.

For a banal menu animation one must be familiar with transient states and guards.


No packaging, monorepo, publishing to npm. Yet.

Lerna, Yarn Workspaces introduce too much devops, tweaks, headache. They don’t worth it for now. Create React Library and Bit.dev: bloated.

What works is absolute imports and module path aliases offered by Typescript and Next.js

Summing up

The React ecosystem is fragile. All parts work on their own but break when combined.

Where two parts meet, a grey zone forms. Bugs in the grey zones doesn’t belong to any of the maintainers. This is where stack building implies Herculean efforts often with no results.


To React with best practices. Written by @metamn.