😎 Polymorphic forwardRefs in React and TypeScript (#45)

August 17, 2021

newsletter

Happy Tuesday!

I’ll be sending out more job opportunities on Thursday! If your company is hiring (and you think it’s a great company that you’d tell your friends to work at), fill out this form!

I’ve already connected some of you with potential employers — let’s keep it going!


Last week I wrote about building polymorphic components for your design system, and about the very particular challenges of building polymorphic components in TypeScript. If you missed it, you can catch up here.

Ben Ilegbodu wrote one of the best blog posts about this topic. I rely on his approach heavily when I try to build polymorphic components in TypeScript.

If this is something you’re struggling with, make sure to give his post “Polymorphic React Components in TypeScript” a read.

The only thing missing from his type utilities is an example of how to type forwardRefs.

From the React docs:

The React.forwardRef function creates a React component that forwards the ref attribute it receives to another component below in the tree.

Using React.forwardRef is recommended for component library authors so that users can access the ref of an element returned by another component. But it can be difficult to determine a ref’s type at runtime when it is based on the dynamic as prop.

For example, if a user passes ‘a’ to the as prop, the ref’s type would be React.forwardedRef<HTMLAnchorElement>, but if a user passes ‘button’ to the as prop, the ref’s type would be React.forwardedRef<HTMLButtonElement>.

I reached out to Ben and asked him if/how he’d solved this problem at Stitch Fix, and he wrote a whole new blog post about it!

Try out his solution and let me know what you think. Does your team have a good solution to typing polymorphic components that supports React.forwardRef? Share it with me, I’d love to see how you’re approaching the problem,


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Talk soon,

Mae ​


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