Frontend coding conventions

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    In this page you can find a collection of guidelines, style suggestions, and tips for making contributions to the codebase.

    Two layers: Kea -> React

    Our frontend webapp is written with Kea and React as two separate layers. Kea is used to organise the app's data for rendering (we call this the data or state layer), and React is used to render the computed state (this is the view or template layer).

    We try to be very explicit about this separation, and avoid local React state wherever possible, with exceptions for the lib/ folder. Having all our data in one layer makes for code that's easier to test, and observe. Basically, getting your data layer right is hard enough. We aim to not make it harder by constraining your data to a DOM-style hierarchy.

    Hence the explicit separation between the data and view layers.

    General tips

    • Think data first: get your mental model of the data flowing through the app right, and then everything else will be simpler.
    • Be practical, yet remember that you are balancing speed of delivery with ease of maintainability. If you have to choose: code should be easier to understand than it was to write.

    Do-s & Don't-s

    • General
      • Write all new code with TypeScript and proper typing.
      • Write your frontend data handling code first, and write it in a Kea logic.
      • Don't use useState or useEffect to store local state. It's false convenience. Take the extra 3 minutes and change it to a logic early on in the development.
      • Logics still have a tiny initialization cost. Hence this rule doesn't apply to library components in the lib/ folder, which might be rendered hundreds of times on a page with different sets of data. Still feel free to write a logic for a complicated lib/ component when needed.
      • Use named exports (export const DashboardMenu = () => <div />), and avoid default exports.
    • Naming things:
      • Always look around the codebase for naming conventions, and follow the best practices of the environment (e.g. use camelCase variables in JS, snake_case in Python).
      • Use clear, yet functional names (searchResults vs data).
      • Logics are camelCase (dashboardLogic)
      • React components are PascalCase (DashboardMenu).
      • Props for both logics and components are PascalCase and end with Props (DashboardLogicProps & DashboardMenuProps)
      • Name the .ts file according to its main export: DashboardMenu.ts or DashboardMenu.tsx or dashboardLogic.ts or Dashboard.scss. Pay attention to the case.
      • Avoid index.ts, styles.css, and other generic names, even if this is the only file in a directory.
    • CSS
      • We use regular SCSS files for styling to keep things simple and maintainable in the long run, as opposed to supporting the CSS-in-JS flavour of the month.
      • Inside MyBlogComponent.tsx import MyBlogComponent.scss
      • Namespace all your CSS rules under globally unique classes that match the component's name and case, for example .DashboardMenu { put everything here }
      • We loosely follow BEM conventions. If an element can't be namespaced inside a container class (e.g. modals that break out of the containing DOM element), use BEM style names like .DashboardMenu__modal to keep things namespaced.
    • Testing
      • Write logic tests for all logic files.
      • If your component is in the lib/ folder, and has some interactivity, write a react testing library test for it.
      • Add all new presentational elements and scenes to our storybook. Run pnpm storybook locally.


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