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Today I Learned

Improving mapping performance with web workers

We can use web workers to execute the computationally intensive mapping operation in a separate thread. This can be done by following these steps:

  1. Create a new TS file for the worker
// worker.ts

// define the input and output types
type WorkerInput<T, U> = { data: T, mapFn: (x: T) => U };
type WorkerOutput<U> = { data: U[] };

// function for the actual work on the data
function doWork<T, U>(input: WorkerInput<T, U>): Promise<WorkerOutput<U>> {
  // Apply the mapping function to the input data.
  const mappedData = input.data.map(input.mapFn);

  // Return the mapped data as a promise.
  return Promise.resolve({ data: mappedData });
}
  1. Use the worker in the main.ts file
// main.ts
const worker = new Worker('worker.ts');

// Define the mapping function.
const mapFn = (x: number) => x * x;

// Send data and the mapping function to the worker for processing.
worker.postMessage({ data: [1, 2, 3], mapFn });

// Listen for the message with the result from the worker
worker.addEventListener('message', (event) => {
    console.log(`Received message from worker: ${event.data}`)
});

How to type-safely interact with Firestore documents

The problem

When using Typescript and Firestore, we usually have to do a lot of manual casting when working with documents. One such example would be getting the data of a document:

const thread = threadDocument.data(); // this will be of type any

Should we want to interact with the data in a type-safe manner, we'll have to cast it, which can quickly become tedious.

const thread = <ThreadData>threadDocument.data();

Additionally, when we write data to Firestore, there are no restrictions on how the data should look.

The solution

This is when Firestore Data Converters can come in handy. All we have to do is implement two methods - one where we constrain the data that gets written and one where we cast the data coming from Firestore:

const converter = {
  toFirestore: (dataToBeWritten: ThreadData) => data,
  fromFirestore: (document: QueryDocumentSnapshot) => <ThreadData>document.data(),
};

To take this one step further, we can store the "converted" collection reference so we won't have to apply the converters each time we query the collection:

const threadCollection = db.collection("threads").withConverter(converter);

Now we can safely interact with the collection without having to cast the data:

const threadDocument = await threadCollection.doc(id).get();
const thread = threadDocument.data(); // this will be of type ThreadData

How to obtain reactivity in custom hooks while interacting with the local storage

This is how we can obtain reactivity in our custom React.js hooks while working with the local storage, using the Pub/Sub (Observer) design pattern (with TypeScript support).

The goal is to implement a "useLocalStorage" custom hook, which will abstract away the complexity of reading from and writing to the local storage. As we know, each custom hook instantiates its own state. That is a problem in our case because when one instance of the hook updates the local storage, the state copies held by all the other hook instances will be out of sync and will never be updated.

We can solve this issue using the following idea: we can mimic a centralized shared state between our custom hook instances by delegating the responsibility of holding these in sync with the local storage to a custom "manager", the Observer object.

Our custom hook will work based on these ideas:

  1. Custom Hook instances will subscribe their inner state updater functions to this manager
  2. Custom Hook instances will publish the new state to the manager when updating a key of the local storage
  3. The manager will trigger all subscriber functions and thus update the inner states of the custom hook instances.

The observer object:

export type Listener<EventType> = (event: EventType) => void;

export type ObserverReturnType<KeyType, EventType> = {
  subscribe: (entryKey: KeyType, listener: Listener<EventType>) => () => void;
  publish: (entryKey: KeyType, event: EventType) => void;
};

export default function createObserver<
  KeyType extends string | number | symbol,
  EventType,
>(): ObserverReturnType<KeyType, EventType> {
  const listeners: Record<KeyType, Listener<EventType>[]> = {} as Record<
    KeyType,
    Listener<EventType>[]
  >;

  return {
    subscribe: (entryKey: KeyType, listener: Listener<EventType>) => {
      if (!listeners[entryKey]) listeners[entryKey] = [];
      listeners[entryKey].push(listener);
      return () => {
        listeners[entryKey].splice(listeners[entryKey].indexOf(listener), 1);
      };
    },
    publish: (entryKey: KeyType, event: EventType) => {
      if (!listeners[entryKey]) listeners[entryKey] = [];
      listeners[entryKey].forEach((listener: Listener<EventType>) =>
        listener(event),
      );
    },
  };
}

export const LocalStorageObserver = createObserver<
  LOCAL_STORAGE_KEYS,
  string
>();

export const { subscribe, publish } = LocalStorageObserver;

The useLocalStorage custom hook (window checks are optional, depending on which environment this JavaScript will run on):

export function useLocalStorage<T>(key: LOCAL_STORAGE_KEYS, initialValue: T) {
  const [storedValue, setStoredValue] = useState(() => {
    if (typeof window === 'undefined') {
      return initialValue;
    }
    try {
      const item = window.localStorage.getItem(key);
      return item ? JSON.parse(item) : initialValue;
    } catch (error) {
      return initialValue;
    }
  });

  LocalStorageObserver.subscribe(key, setStoredValue);

  const setValue = (value: T) => {
    try {
      const valueToStore =
        value instanceof Function ? value(storedValue) : value;
      setStoredValue(valueToStore);
      LocalStorageObserver.publish(key, valueToStore);
      if (typeof window !== 'undefined') {
        window.localStorage.setItem(key, JSON.stringify(valueToStore));
      }
    } catch (error) {
      console.error(error);
    }
  };
  return [storedValue, setValue];
}

Axios Request and Response Interceptors

Axios interceptors come in handy when we need to track, register, or work with:

  1. Requests before leaving
  2. Responses before arriving
  3. Both 1 and 2

Thanks to interceptors, we can pass our own handlers/callbacks for the following cases:

  1. Before launching a request
  2. Catching an error at HTTP request launch
  3. Arrival of a response
  4. Catching an error at response arrival

This is an example of how we can use them:

// handlers for the request launch and for catching request launch error
axios.interceptors.request.use(
   (config) => {
      console.log('We are now preparing to launch the request!')
      return config;
   },
   (error) => Promise.reject(error),
);

// handlers for response interceptor and error response interceptor
axios.interceptors.response.use(
     (response) => {
        console.log('We received the response!');
        return response;
     },
     (error) => {
       if (error.response.status === 403) 
         return Promise.reject(error);
     }
},

Each Axios Instance can have its custom configuration and request and response interceptors. This can be very useful when the architecture of our application enforces/allows each of our services to use their own Axios Instance. This way, each service can have an Axios Instance with custom configuration and custom request/response interceptors.

This is how an Axios Instance factory utility function could look like in TypeScript:

export const createAxiosWithInterceptors = (
  requestConfig: AxiosRequestConfig = {},
  requestInterceptorHandlers: Partial<RequestInterceptorHandlers> = DefaultRequestInterceptor,
  responseInterceptorHandlers: Partial<ResponseInterceptorHandlers> = DefaultResponseInterceptor,
) => {
  const axiosInstance = axios.create(requestConfig);

  axiosInstance.interceptors.request.use(
    requestInterceptorHandlers.requestConfigHandler,
    requestInterceptorHandlers.requestErrorHandler,
  );

  axiosInstance.interceptors.response.use(
    responseInterceptorHandlers.responseHandler,
    responseInterceptorHandlers.responseErrorHandler,
  );

  return axiosInstance;
};

where we can define our types and default interceptors as follows:

type RequestConfigHandler = (config: AxiosRequestConfig) => AxiosRequestConfig;
type RequestErrorHandler = (error: AxiosError) => Promise<AxiosError>;
type RequestInterceptorHandlers = {
  requestConfigHandler: RequestConfigHandler;
  requestErrorHandler: RequestErrorHandler;
};

type ResponseHandler = (response: AxiosResponse) => AxiosResponse;
type ResponseErrorHandler = (error: AxiosError) => Promise<AxiosError>;

type ResponseInterceptorHandlers = {
  responseHandler: ResponseHandler;
  responseErrorHandler: ResponseErrorHandler;
};

const DefaultResponseInterceptor = {
  responseHandler: (response: AxiosResponse) => response,
  responseErrorHandler: (error: AxiosError) => Promise.reject(error),
};

const DefaultRequestInterceptor = {
  requestConfigHandler: (config: AxiosRequestConfig) => config,
  requestErrorHandler: (error: AxiosError) => Promise.reject(error),
};

In each of our services we can then use our factory method as follows:

// axios instance with custom request config received through constructor, custom request interceptor and default response interceptor
protected http: AxiosInstance = createAxiosWithInterceptors(
    this.requestConfig,
    {
      requestConfigHandler: (config) => {
        console.log();
        return config;
      },
    },
);

How to extend interfaces declared in external libraries in Typescript

Typescript allows us to easily extend types by using module augumentation.

Let's take a look at one quick example - extending the React Material Ui Library Theme.

All we need to do is create a file ending in .d.ts at the root of our Typescript project - in this case I'll name it material-ui.d.ts:

import {
  Theme as MuiTheme,
} from '@mui/material/styles';

declare module '@mui/material/styles' {
  export interface Theme extends MuiTheme {
    customization?: Record<string, string>;
  }
}