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Forms

Forms in Preact work much the same as they do in React, except there is no support for the "static" (initial value) props/attributes.

React Forms Docs



Controlled & Uncontrolled Components

React's documentation on "Controlled" Components and "Uncontrolled" Components is immensely useful in understanding how to take HTML forms, which have bidirectional data flow, and make use of them from the context of a Component-based Virtual DOM renderer, which generally has unidirectional data flow.

Generally, you should try to use Controlled Components at all times. However, when building standalone Components or wrapping third-party UI libraries, it can still be useful to simply use your component as a mount point for non-preact functionality. In these cases, "Uncontrolled" Components are nicely suited to the task.

Checkboxes & Radio Buttons

Checkboxes and radio buttons (<input type="checkbox|radio">) can initially cause confusion when building controlled forms. This is because in an uncontrolled environment, we would typically allow the browser to "toggle" or "check" a checkbox or radio button for us, listening for a change event and reacting to the new value. However, this technique does not transition well into a world view where the UI is always updated automatically in response to state and prop changes.

Walk-Through: Say we listen for a "change" event on a checkbox, which is fired when the checkbox is checked or unchecked by the user. In our change event handler, we set a value in state to the new value received from the checkbox. Doing so will trigger a re-render of our component, which will re-assign the value of the checkbox to the value from state. This is unnecessary, because we just asked the DOM for a value but then told it to render again with whatever value we wanted.

So, instead of listening for a change event we should listen for a click event, which is fired any time the user clicks on the checkbox or an associated <label>. Checkboxes just toggle between Boolean true and false, so clicking the checkbox or the label, we'll just invert whatever value we have in state, triggering a re-render, setting the checkbox's displayed value to the one we want.

Checkbox Example

class MyForm extends Component {
    toggle = e => {
        let checked = !this.state.checked;
        this.setState({ checked });
    };
    render({ }, { checked }) {
        return (
            <label>
                <input
                    type="checkbox"
                    checked={checked}
                    onClick={this.toggle} />
            </label>
        );
    }
}
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