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Creating a Simple Router for you web app

Routing:

Routing is the process of selecting a path for traffic in a network or between or across multiple networks.

Im pretty sure that you all know what Router is and what it does. But, how to make one?

It's 4 basic steps:

  • Add click handler to every anchor tag <a>

    document.addEventListener(
          "click",
          function(event) {
            if (event.target.tagName === "A") {
              event.preventDefault();
              var href = event.target.href;
              console.log(href);
            }
    }, false);
    
  • On click handler, make get request to href of <a> and load html to current page.

    var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();
    xhr.onreadystatechange = function() {
    if (xhr.readyState === XMLHttpRequest.DONE) {
      history.pushState([], href, href);
      // Here we are replacing current page html using new page html
      document.getElementById("app").innerHTML = xhr.responseText;
    }
    };
    xhr.open("GET", href, true);
    xhr.send(null);
    
  • Push new page to history

    // Add new history entry
    history.pushState([], title, href);
    
  • Add a navigation handler to know when user pressed back and forward on browser.
    // Listen to browser history event
    window.addEventListener("popstate", function(e) {
    // Download new page's html and set it to current page 
    var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();
    xhr.onreadystatechange = function() {
      if (xhr.readyState === XMLHttpRequest.DONE) {
        document.getElementById("app").innerHTML = xhr.responseText;
      }
    };
    xhr.open("GET", window.location.pathname, true);
    xhr.send(null);
    });
    

Here is code sample on codesandbox

Above example can easily be implemented as a <Link/> Component in react.

import React, { Component } from 'react';

export default class Link extends Component {

    constructor(props) {
        super(props);
        this.state = props;

        this.linkClicked = this.linkClicked.bind(this);
    }

    componentWillReceiveProps(nextProps) {
        // You don't have to do this check first, but it can help prevent an unneeded render
        if (nextProps.href !== this.state.href) {
            this.setState({ href: nextProps.href });
        }
        if (nextProps.title !== this.state.title) {
            this.setState({ title: nextProps.title });
        }
    }

    linkClicked(event) {
        if (!this.state.href || this.state.href.length <= 0) {
            event.preventDefault();
            return false;
        }
        if (typeof window != 'undefined') {
            event.preventDefault();
            history.pushState(this.state.title, this.state.title, this.state.href);
            window.title = this.state.title;
            history.pushState([], this.state.href, this.state.href);
            // Here we are replacing current page html using new page html
            // Set new state for your component here
        }
    }

    render() {
        return (
            <a href={this.state.href} title={this.state.title} style={this.state.style} className={this.state.className} onClick={this.linkClicked}>
                {this.props.children}
            </a>
        );
    }
}

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