Navigation in React.js, or React route— part 1

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

All codes below in codesandbox —

If you are a fresh beginner in React.js this topic might be a little bit complex for you, but I will do my best to help you build a foundation for your future projects. So unlike server-side rendering, react uses client-side rendering which means all navigations happen independently on the client-side. In this article, we will see how we can set up page navigation in other words routing in react.

To apply routing in react we use a popular npm package called react-router-dom, so let’s install it, in your terminal write this:

npm install react-router-dom

Now we have it we can start setting up our routing. In order to use react-router-dom features, we should wrap our app using BrowserRouter which we import from react-router-dom

Now we can specify our routes using Route component from react-router-dom. It takes two main props path property to specify the path and component property which is going to be rendered in that path.

Notice that I am importing Home component which I have pre-made. Now if we run our app using npm start we can instantly see our Home component be rendered because by default we are on / route.

Just took a screenshot of, left a link at the end

Let’s add some more pages: About — /about , Contact us — /contact .

Cool, but when you go to /contact path you will see something like this:

As you can see our Home component is also getting rendered before Contact component. And this is expected behavior, as official documentation said

This is by design, allowing us to compose <Route>s into our apps in many ways, like sidebars and breadcrumbs, bootstrap tabs, etc.

This basically means that /contact is matching / and /contact routes at the same time. It might come in handy if we were applying something like sidebar, header, footer, etc which should appear in multiple routes. But in our case we want Home component to be rendered only if it is / route. What we can do is that we can pass exact attribute which ensures that our component gets rendered only if the route exactly matches. Like this:

Also, we have Switch component which is used to ensure that only the first component whose path matches the route gets rendered, it might be helpful when you are working with dynamic URLs.

Congrats now you have a fully functional routing in your react app. This article might not be complete instruction but I hope it serves you as a foundation.

In the next part, I will show you how to work with dynamic routes, URL queries, react-router-dom related hooks, and much more.

All codes above in codesandbox —

React dev.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store