Component Lifecycle methods help React to adapt quickly whenever the user interaction occurs or the Component updates. In order to understand their usage better, we can separate them into three major parts, create, update, destroy (or Mounting, Updating, Unmounting), just like the human beings’ lifecycle is divided into three major parts such as birth, change, and death, respectively. To transfer these functionalities into practical use, we can say that whenever the user opens a web page or creates something, the Lifecycle method responsible for creation is invoked, whenever the user changes anything, the Lifecycle update method is triggered. When the user deletes something or closes down a window, the delete method is called. These methods are called at specific times in Components, before or after render, they are not necessary, but they help the Components run smoothly and organize methods in a logical way.

Mounting

If we differentiate Lifecycle methods before and after therenderphase, we can say that only one method is called, static getDerivedStateFromProps just after theconstructor is triggered. The Mounting phase consists of two Lifecycle hooks, the static getDerivedStateFromProps(before render) and componentDidMount(after render). Why is it important to call these methods at a specific time, before or after render? It’s about user experience which is enhanced by the way the page loads. If we would call componentDidMount before render, it would require more loading time while this method is usually responsible for getting data from the back-end, running asynchronous requests like fetching data or updating, which can be time-consuming. We don’t want the user to wait this long, that’s why we first offer the user to observe whatever renderreturns, then fetch some data from the server, thus saving time. static getDerivedStateFromPropsruns before render, and, as the name suggests, it has access to any state and props, and the state can be changed just before the component renders. It’s the only hook to run before renderrender and before JSX is rendered into the DOM.

Updating

Anytime when the user interacts with Component and changes some data, it re-renders or updates the props and state. static getDerivedStateFromProps the method is called not only when Component is created, but also when it is updated. We already covered that this method gives us access to any props and state that can be changed or returned intact before renderruns. After that, if look at the scheme above, we can see that at this stage another method is triggered, such as shouldComponentUpdateand it runs just before re-rendering. As the name of the method prompts, it returns trueor false Boolean values while we don’t want the Component to re-render if no change has been made. So, anytime when shouldComponentUpdate returns false, it doesn’t make unnecessary re-rendering (updating) and, vice versa, the Component only updates when this method returns true, meaning that the state has been altered. This one answers to “why should component update when there is no change in the state” rhetorical question. Just after answering this question, React displays data by rendering JSX into DOM. Before entering the final stage of the update, React runs another method called getSnapshotBeforeUpdate which takes a “picture” or snapshots of minor changes just before updating such as mouse cursor or scroll position. After running all these methods, the final stage of the update is called, componentDidUpdate . It runs only after the Component is re-rendered and updated, taking with it both the previous and the current props and states and using them to make changes in libraries if necessary.

Unmounting

It is always a good idea to clean up after yourself. With this concept in mind, the final Lifecycle hook is triggered, componentWillUnmount . This one is responsible for deletion and clearing of all the changes committed during componentDidMount hook thus preventing unnecessary cluttering of the data.

At the unmounting stage, the component gets deleted and cleared out of the page. The only lifecycle hook at this stage is componentWillUnmount, which is called just before the component gets deleted. This is used to clear out any stuff set up in componentDidMount. This is especially useful when during the update stage the data continuously re-renders, for instance, when setInterval method is used. It can now use clearIntervalmethod to negate the results of constant re-rendering.

Conslusion

Three main cycles are answering for the three main parts of user interaction of the website, when the page loads, when it changes, and, finally, when it shuts down. These create, update, and delete methods are meant to provide the best user experience by shortening loading times and organizing the functions in a timely manner, extracting most of the Components’ performance.