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Core Concepts in Redux
Immutable Updates and Pure Functions

In programming, there is a more general way to describe the three rules of reducers in Redux: reducers must make immutable updates and be pure functions.

If a function makes immutable updates to its arguments, it does not change the argument but instead makes a copy and changes that copy. (Sounds similar to rule 2, no?) It’s called updating immutably because the function doesn’t change, or mutate, the arguments.

This function mutates its argument:

const mutableUpdater = (obj) => { obj.completed = !obj.completed; return obj; } const task = { text: 'do dishes', completed: false }; const updatedTask = mutableUpdater(task); console.log(updatedTask); // Prints { text: 'do dishes', completed: true }; console.log(task); // Prints { text: 'do dishes', completed: true };

Meanwhile, this function “immutably updates” its argument:

const immutableUpdater = (obj) => { return { ...obj, completed: !obj.completed } } const task = { text: 'iron clothes', completed: false }; const updatedTask = immutableUpdater(task); console.log(updatedTask); // Prints { text: 'iron clothes', completed: true }; console.log(task); // Prints { text: 'iron clothes', completed: false };

By copying the contents of the argument obj into a new object ({...obj}) and updating the completed property of the copy, the argument obj will remain unchanged.

Note that, plain strings, numbers, and booleans are immutable in JavaScript so we can just return them without making a copy:

const immutator = (num) => num + 1; const x = 5; const updatedX = immutator(x); console.log(x, updatedX); // Prints 5, 6

If a function is pure, then it will always have the same outputs given the same inputs.

This is a combination of rules 1 and 3:

  • Reducers should only calculate the new state value based on the state and action arguments.
  • Reducers must not do any asynchronous logic or other “side effects”.

In this example, the function is not a pure function because its returned value depends on the status of a remote endpoint.

const addItemToList = (list) => { let item; fetch('') .then(response => { if (!response.ok) { item = {}; } item = response.json(); }); return [...list, item]; };

The function can be made pure by pulling the fetch() statement outside of the function.

let item; fetch('') .then(response => { if (!response.ok) { item = {}; } item = response.json(); }); const addItemToList = (list, item) => { return [...list, item]; };



The function in immutable.js mutates its arguments because it uses the array splice() function. Rewrite it using the slice() method and the spread operator.

If done correctly, the output should still be:

[ 'a', 'c', 'd' ]

The function capitalizeMessage() in pure.js is impure because it depends on an external file. Re-write it so that it is pure.

You will need to read the file outside of the function and pass in the resulting data.

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