State Operators

State Operators

Why?

The NGXS patchState method is used to do immutable object updates to the container state slice without the typical long-handed syntax. This is very neat and convenient because you do not have to use the getState and setState as well as the Object.assign(...)or the spread operator to update the state. The patchState method only offers a shallow patch and as a result is left wanting in more advanced scenarios. This is where state operators come in. The setState method can be passed a state operator which will be used to determine the new state.

Basic

The basic idea of operators is that we could describe the modifications to the state using curried functions that are given any inputs that they need to describe the change and are finalised using the state slice that they are assigned to.

Example

From theory to practice - let's take the following example:

import { State, Action, StateContext } from '@ngxs/store';
import { patch } from '@ngxs/store/operators';
export interface AnimalsStateModel {
zebras: string[];
pandas: string[];
monkeys?: string[];
}
export class CreateMonkeys {
static readonly type = '[Animals] Create monkeys';
}
@State<AnimalsStateModel>({
name: 'animals',
defaults: {
zebras: [],
pandas: []
}
})
export class AnimalsState {
@Action(CreateMonkeys)
createMonkeys(ctx: StateContext<AnimalsStateModel>) {
ctx.setState(patch({
monkeys: []
}));
}
}

The patch operator expresses the intended modification quite nicely and returns a function that will apply these modifications as a new object based on the provided state. In order to understand what this is doing let's express this in a long handed form:

// For demonstration purposes! This long handed form is not needed from NGXS v3.4 onwards.
@Action(CreateMonkeys)
createMonkeys(ctx: StateContext<AnimalsStateModel>) {
const state = ctx.getState();
ctx.setState({
...state,
monkeys: []
});
}

Supplied State Operators

This is not the only operator, we introduce much more that can be used along with or in place of patch.

If you want to update the value of a property based on some condition - you can use iif, it's signature is:

iif<T>(
condition: Predicate<T> | boolean,
trueOperatorOrValue: StateOperator<T> | T,
elseOperatorOrValue?: StateOperator<T> | T
): StateOperator<T>

If you want to update an item in the array using an operator or value - you can use updateItem, it's signature is:

updateItem<T>(selector: number | Predicate<T>, operator: T | StateOperator<T>): StateOperator<T[]>

If you want to remove an item from an array by index or predicate - you can use removeItem:

removeItem<T>(selector: number | Predicate<T>): StateOperator<T[]>

If you want to insert an item to an array, optionally before a specified index - use insertItem operator:

insertItem<T>(value: T, beforePosition?: number): StateOperator<T[]>

If you want to append specified items to the end of an array - the append operator is suitable for that:

append<T>(items: T[]): StateOperator<T[]>

It's also possible to compose multiple operators into a single operator that would apply each consecutively using compose:

compose<T>(...operators: StateOperator<T>[]): StateOperator<T>

These operators introduce a new way of declarative state mutation.

Advanced Example

Let's look at more advanced examples:

import { State, Action, StateContext } from '@ngxs/store';
import { patch, append, removeItem, insertItem, updateItem } from '@ngxs/store/operators';
export interface AnimalsStateModel {
zebras: string[];
pandas: string[];
}
export class AddZebra {
static readonly type = '[Animals] Add zebra';
constructor(public payload: string) {}
}
export class RemovePanda {
static readonly type = '[Animals] Remove panda';
constructor(public payload: string) {}
}
export class ChangePandaName {
static readonly type = '[Animals] Change panda name';
constructor(public payload: { name: string; newName: string }) {}
}
@State<AnimalsStateModel>({
name: 'animals',
defaults: {
zebras: ['Jimmy', 'Jake', 'Alan'],
pandas: ['Michael', 'John']
}
})
export class AnimalsState {
@Action(AddZebra)
addZebra(ctx: StateContext<AnimalsStateModel>, { payload }: AddZebra) {
ctx.setState(
patch({
zebras: append([payload])
})
);
}
@Action(RemovePanda)
removePanda(ctx: StateContext<AnimalsStateModel>, { payload }: RemovePanda) {
ctx.setState(
patch({
pandas: removeItem<string>(name => name === payload)
})
);
}
@Action(ChangePandaName)
changePandaName(ctx: StateContext<AnimalsStateModel>, { payload }: ChangePandaName) {
ctx.setState(
patch({
pandas: updateItem<string>(name => name === payload.name, payload.newName)
})
);
}

You will see that in each case above the state operators are wrapped within a call to the patch operator. This is only done because of the convenience that the patch state operator provides for targeting a nested property of the state.

Custom Operators

You can also define your own operators for updates that are common to your domain. For example:

function addEntity(entity: Entity): StateOperator<EntitiesStateModel> {
return (state: ReadOnly<EntitiesStateModel>) => {
return {
...state,
entities: { ...state.entities, [entity.id]: entity },
ids: [...state.ids, entity.id]
};
};
}
interface CitiesStateModel {
// ...
}
@State<CitiesStateModel>({
name: 'cities',
defaults: {
entities: {},
ids: []
}
})
export class CitiesState {
@Action(AddCity)
addCity(ctx: StateContext<CitiesStateModel>, { payload }: AddCity) {
ctx.setState(addEntity(payload.city));
}
}

Here you can see that the developer chose to define a convenience method called addEntity for doing a common state modification. This operator could also have also been defined using existing operators like so:

function addEntity(entity: Entity): StateOperator<EntitiesStateModel> {
return patch<EntitiesStateModel>({
entities: patch({ [entity.id]: entity }),
ids: append([entity.id])
});
}

As you can see, state operators are very powerful to start moving your immutable state updates to be more declarative and expressive. Enhancing the overall maintainability and readability of your state class code.

Relevant Articles

NGXS State Operators