6.6 True Face of the Spread Operator

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What you'll learn:

  • Using the spread operator
  • Spread operator syntax
  • Problem and solution to spread operator
  • Object destructuring and reverse three-dot operator

Implementing the spread operator

You’ve learned about the spread operator which breaks apart an object and uses its properties to set the attributes of a JSX tag.

If we want to write our RadioGroup in JavaScript, we use the spread operator in a similar way to JSX.

Since JSX tags are simply JavaScript calls, we can re-write the <Frame> of our RadioGroup component as follows:

function RadioGroup(){
React.createElement(Frame, {background: null, ...props}
, ... ) ) }

In the attribute parameter of createElement we can place the spread operator right inside the curly brackets when we construct an object. Don't forget to use a comma when separating parameters!

All in all, the spread operator takes an object, breaks apart all its properties, and spreads them around in a new object.

To illustrate, let's use the console for our next example.

Spread operator syntax

Copy and paste this piece of code:

person = { name: 'Linton', age: Infinity }

We are creating an object called person which has two properties, name and age.

After we press return, we can use the person object to construct a new object.

Let's type this statement inside our console:

{ hobby: "Lie about his age", ...person }

After we press return again, we'll get a new object with a hobby property and all of the person object's properties: name and age.

hobby properties in console

Furthermore, the parameter position/order of the spread operator, ...person matters!

For example if we type this into the console,

{ age:0, ...person }

The person object's age property is overrides age:0 because the spread operator is last.

Vice versa:

{...person, age:0 }

This time, age:0 overrides the person object's properties.

age property

Therefore, we can conclude that whatever appears last in parameter order has the final say.

Object destructuring and Spread operator

The three-dot operator can be used together with object destructuring as well. In fact, it is very common.

function RadioGroup(props) {
  return (
<Frame background={null} {...props}>
{props.choices.map(choice => ( <Radio key={choice}>{choice}</Radio> ))} </Frame> ) }

Problem with using {...props}

In our case, we are using ...props here to forward the RadioGroup attributes to the Frame. Although it works, we can pass too many properties to the <Frame> tag. For example, when using ...props we are also passing on choices to the <Frame>. However, since choices is not an attribute supported by Frame, we just don't see it, but to be efficient and clear, how can we choose a property to exclude from being passed on?

Object destructuring

If you remember, with object destructuring, we can replace props in our RadioGroup parameter with an object.

function RadioGroup({choices}) {
return ( <Frame background={null} {...props}>
{choices.map(choice => (
<Radio key={choice}>{choice}</Radio> ))} </Frame> ) }

This change assumes the parameter to be an object, extracts the choices property, and defines a new variable of our choice, in which we named, choices.

We can now change props.choices to choices, but now ...props is undefined.

Reverse three-dot operator

How can we capture the rest of the properties?

function RadioGroup({choices, ...rest}) {
return (
<Frame background={null} {...rest}>
{choices.map(choice => ( <Radio key={choice}>{choice}</Radio> ))} </Frame> ) }

The rest object will have all the properties of the original parameter except the choices property.

As a reminder, object destructuring allows us to create new variables. Therefore, we can name them however we like.

function RadioGroup({optionChoices, ...newProps}) {
return (
<Frame background={null} {...newProps}>
{optionChoices.map(choice => (
<Radio key={choice}>{choice}</Radio> ))} </Frame> ) }

Unlike our previous examples, the three-dot operator is working the opposite way. Instead of breaking apart properties, it is collecting the rest of them and assembling them into a new object.


Alright, that’s a short summary about the spread operator. It is commonly used in modern JavaScript due to how convenient the spread operator is.

In the next post, we'll add a React State to our RadioGroup and make it finally functional!