Using it with React


While the design system doesn't use React components, it is fully compatible with them. In fact, this documentation website is a React app.

If you're reading this, you're probably trying to use the design system with Next.js or a similar kind of React app.

The design system can save you a lot of time and effort in making your React components look right. But, if you need complex pre-made components that have lots of stateful client-side functionality, you're better off going elsewhere.

Setting it up#

Modify your class names#

React doesn't support the class attribute, so you'll need to replace all instances with className instead.

Client-side routing#

All components need to be initialised before their JavaScript features will work. The init function must be called after the HTML has been rendered to the page.

On a server-rendered page this is straightforward, but on a client-rendered React app you must remember to re-initialise the JS whenever you render new components.

One option is to call the component's init function in a useEffect hook after it renders. For example:

useEffect(() => {
if (typeof window !== "undefined") {
}, [])

Server-side rendering#

If you're using a SSR framework like Next.js, you might see errors like document is not defined.

This is because Next will automatically try to compile the JavaScript to run on the server as well as the client.

You can solve this issue by wrapping your component init calls in an if statement that checks the global window variable is set:

if (typeof window !== "undefined") {

Building components with complex interactions and logic#

This design system doesn't include many components that users need to have complex, stateful interactions with (yet).

If you need to build something more powerful, you are better off ignoring the JavaScript this library comes with and using our CSS classes to skin a React component instead.

There are plenty of well-maintained, accessible-by-default React libraries to choose from:

This advice might change as the design system grows.

Why is there no React component library any more?#

In the past Hackney has tried to make React ports of this design system, but it's always been more trouble than it's worth to maintain them.

The alternative would be to go all-in with React, but this wouldn't work for the many non-React apps we still need to maintain.

The design system includes two components that only work with React: the dialog and tip.