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Composition

Material-UI tries to make composition as easy as possible.

Wrapping components

In order to provide the maximum flexibility and performance, we need a way to know the nature of the child elements a component receives. To solve this problem we tag some of the components with a muiName static property when needed.

You may, however, need to wrap a component in order to enhance it, which can conflict with the muiName solution. If you wrap a component, verify if that component has this static property set.

If you encounter this issue, you need to use the same tag for your wrapping component that is used with the wrapped component. In addition, you should forward the properties, as the parent component may need to control the wrapped components props.

Let's see an example:

const WrappedIcon = props => <Icon {...props} />;
WrappedIcon.muiName = Icon.muiName;

Component prop

Material-UI allows you to change the root element that will be rendered via a prop called component.

How does it work?

The component will render like this:

return React.createElement(props.component, props)

For example, by default a List component will render a <ul> element. This can be changed by passing a React component to the component prop. The following example will render the List component with a <nav> element as root element instead:

<List component="nav">
  <ListItem button>
    <ListItemText primary="Trash" />
  </ListItem>
  <ListItem button>
    <ListItemText primary="Spam" />
  </ListItem>
</List>

This pattern is very powerful and allows for great flexibility, as well as a way to interoperate with other libraries, such as your favorite routing or forms library. But it also comes with a small caveat!

Caveat with inlining

Using an inline function as an argument for the component prop may result in unexpected unmounting, since a new component is passed every time React renders. For instance, if you want to create a custom ListItem that acts as a link, you could do the following:

import { Link } from 'react-router-dom';

function ListItemLink(props) {
  const { icon, primary, to } = props;

  return (
    <li>
      <ListItem button component={props => <Link to={to} {...props} />}>
        <ListItemIcon>{icon}</ListItemIcon>
        <ListItemText primary={primary} />
      </ListItem>
    </li>
  );
}

⚠️ However, since we are using an inline function to change the rendered component, React will unmount the link every time ListItemLink is rendered. Not only will React update the DOM unnecessarily, the ripple effect of the ListItem will also not work correctly.

The solution is simple: avoid inline functions and pass a static component to the component prop instead. Let's change the ListItemLink to the following:

import { Link } from 'react-router-dom';

function ListItemLink(props) {
  const { icon, primary, to } = props;

  const renderLink = React.useMemo(
    () =>
      React.forwardRef((linkProps, ref) => (
        // With react-router-dom@^6.0.0 use `ref` instead of `innerRef`
        // See https://github.com/ReactTraining/react-router/issues/6056
        <Link to={to} {...linkProps} innerRef={ref} />
      )),
    [to],
  );

  return (
    <li>
      <ListItem button component={renderLink}>
        <ListItemIcon>{icon}</ListItemIcon>
        <ListItemText primary={primary} />
      </ListItem>
    </li>
  );
}

renderLink will now always reference the same component.

Caveat with prop forwarding

You can take advantage of the prop forwarding to simplify the code. In this example, we don't create any intermediary component:

import { Link } from 'react-router-dom';

<ListItem button component={Link} to="/">

⚠️ However, this strategy suffers from a limitation: prop collisions. The component providing the component prop (e.g. ListItem) might not forward all the props (for example dense) to the root element.

With TypeScript

You can find the details in the TypeScript guide.

Routing libraries

The integration with third-party routing libraries is achieved with the component prop. The behavior is identical to the description of the prop above. Here are a few demos with react-router-dom. It covers the Button, Link, and List components, you should be able to apply the same strategy with all the components.

Button

Link

List

Current route: /drafts

Caveat with refs

This section covers caveats when using a custom component as children or for the component prop.

Some of the components need access to the DOM node. This was previously possible by using ReactDOM.findDOMNode. This function is deprecated in favor of ref and ref forwarding. However, only the following component types can be given a ref:

If you don't use one of the above types when using your components in conjunction with Material-UI, you might see a warning from React in your console similar to:

Function components cannot be given refs. Attempts to access this ref will fail. Did you mean to use React.forwardRef()?

Be aware that you will still get this warning for lazy and memo components if their wrapped component can't hold a ref.

In some instances an additional warning is issued to help with debugging, similar to:

Invalid prop component supplied to ComponentName. Expected an element type that can hold a ref.

Only the two most common use cases are covered. For more information see this section in the official React docs.

- const MyButton = props => <div role="button" {...props} />;
+ const MyButton = React.forwardRef((props, ref) => <div role="button" {...props} ref={ref} />);
<Button component={MyButton} />;
- const SomeContent = props => <div {...props}>Hello, World!</div>;
+ const SomeContent = React.forwardRef((props, ref) => <div {...props} ref={ref}>Hello, World!</div>);
<Tooltip title="Hello, again."><SomeContent /></Tooltip>;

To find out if the Material-UI component you're using has this requirement, check out the the props API documentation for that component. If you need to forward refs the description will link to this section.

Caveat with StrictMode

If you use class components for the cases described above you will still see warnings in React.StrictMode. ReactDOM.findDOMNode is used internally for backwards compatibility. You can use React.forwardRef and a designated prop in your class component to forward the ref to a DOM component. Doing so should not trigger any more warnings related to the deprecation of ReactDOM.findDOMNode.

class Component extends React.Component {
  render() {
-   const { props } = this;
+   const { forwardedRef, ...props } = this.props;
    return <div {...props} ref={forwardedRef} />;
  }
}

-export default Component;
+export default React.forwardRef((props, ref) => <Component {...props} forwardedRef={ref} />);