6.1 Radio Group Animation

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What you'll learn:

  • Creating a simple counter
  • onClick
  • Live UI vs snapshot
  • React snapshots
  • React vs JavaScript

Intro to Radio Group

Welcome to the Radio Group module! We will build this radio group:

final result

See for yourself! Radio Group.

Note, this is not an HTML select element. This was built from scratch with Frames, and you'll soon learn how! The major advantage of building a radio group from scratch is the freedom to customize the appearance and animations.

More importantly, this will be a great opportunity to learn about React state. We’ll dive into how React state works, how to use it, and when to use it in your prototypes.

Before building the Radio Group, we'll start with a basic example.

Simple Counter

First, create a new React+TS Sandbox and replace the Hello CodeSandbox with Count: 10 and the <h1> with <button>+1</button>.

function App(){
    <div className="App">
<h1> Count: 10</h1>
</div> ) }
count preview

Our button is a little small, so let's change that in our styles.css file.

button {
  font-size: 25px;

Our current goal is that when the button is clicked we want to increase the count displayed.

bigger button

We know that when we put a pair of curly brackets around something in JSX, it’ll treat what’s inside as JavaScript code and try to run it. Furthermore, since we want to change the Count value, we’ll use a variable there.

function App(){
let count = 0
return( <div className="App">
<h1>Count: {count}</h1>
<button>+1</button> </div> ) }


We can now use the onClick button attribute because we want count to update after a button click. For now, we'll put a console.log inside onClick to see if it is running.


If we press the button, our console will display clicked.

clicked console

If we were coding in regular JavaScript, we can do the following to change the value of the variable count.

    count = count + 1
    // or shorthand: count +=1

In order of execution, the current value inside count is taken out, 1 is added, and reassigned back to count.

However, this does not update our browser preview.

count not working

Why does this not work? Is JavaScript broken, or is React broken?

Counter update bug

Let’s take a deeper look by printing out the value of count.

    count = count + 1
    // or shorthand: count +=1

We see in our console that count is being updated. Therefore, we can rule out any problems with our code.

console addition

What React is doing

We know that React is in charge of converting our code into HTML so that the browser can display it. As a result, we can probably conclude that, in this case, React is not aware of the variable change for some reason.

In fact, this is the reason why we can't see the new value on the web page.

Remember this doodle? Although it looks simple from our perspective, many secrets are hiding behind it.

react doodle

A React component is a function, and I’ve told you that a function is like a machine. Similarly, a React component is simply a special machine.

Our component works like a printer that prints out the snapshots of our desired user interface, one page after another.

Afterward, React grabs the pages, assembles them into a flipbook, and flips through the book in our browser. At that point, we’ll see a live UI.

I’ll repeat this:

A React component prints out a snapshot and not the real UI.

Although our code looks like HTML, it’s just a snapshot of how we want the UI to look like at a given moment.

If we want to change anything real in the browser, one snapshot is not enough. We need to print out more snapshots to make a proper flipbook. Essentially, you can think of what we are doing in terms of a camera. Once we take one photo, first snapshot, we can fiddle around with the settings and look out of the viewfinder but we'll never get anything new until we take a new photo, a new snapshot. Once we have enough photos, we can make animated picture or video.

Printing a new snapshot

How do we print a new snapshot? The only way is to call the App function.

Currently, clicking our button does not cause the App function to be called. This is why we don’t see any change. We only have one page in our flipbook.

We can verify this by adding a console.log in our App function.

function App(){
  let count = 0
console.log("New page!")
... }

Checking our console, we see there is an initial new page, which is what we see this in the browser. However, if we click on our button, there are no new pages, no new snapshots.

new page


In the previous posts, everything we could do in React could have been replaced by JavaScript. However, we have now stumbled upon an important difference.

In the next post, we'll learn about React State and implementing it to solve our problem!