Introducing React-Scroll-To v2

The latest version of a React component I maintain just released, v2 of react-scroll-to. First, it started out as a component I needed, but over time a few people started using it. Because it was initially created for my specific use-case it started to show its warts when new features were ask for. The goals for v2 were two-part: introduce a more flexible API and implement some highly asked for features (scroll by a ref and smooth scrolling).

So what is react-scroll-to? React-scroll-to is a pretty simple component. It allows the control of scrolling either the brower’s window, or a component (overflow) to a specific point.

We’ll look at a few examples to show off what react-scroll-to can do. (As a note, in this post I’ll only be showing render props, but react-scroll-to also supports higher order components. Examples can be found at: https://github.com/ganderzz/react-scroll-to)

Basics

import React, { Component } from "react";
import { ScrollTo } from "react-scroll-to";

export default class MyComponent extends Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <ScrollTo>
        {({ scrollTo }) => (
          <a onClick={() => scrollTo({ y: 500 })}>Scroll to Bottom</a>
        )}
      </ScrollTo>
    );
  }
}

In the component above we’re importing the ScrollTo component from react-scroll-to. This is a render prop, so we’ll pass a function as its children. ScrollTo’s children has an object as its parameter–this is so the consumer of this component can choose, exactly, what properties they care about. Generally we’ll only need scrollTo.

scrollTo() is a function, when called, will either:

Note: react-scroll-to uses absolute positions–the ability to use relative positioning is coming soon!

When a user clicks on the link, in the example, we’ll see the window scroll down 500px!

Scroll Area

The <ScrollArea> component gives scrollTo the ability to scroll components, instead of the window.

import React, { Component } from "react";
import { ScrollTo, ScrollArea } from "react-scroll-to";

export default class MyComponent extends Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <ScrollTo>
        {({ scrollTo }) => (
          <>
            <a onClick={() => scrollTo({ y: 500 })}>Scroll to Bottom</a>
          
            <ScrollArea>
               My long content...
            </ScrollArea>
          </>
        )}
      </ScrollTo>
    );
  }
}

Since a <ScrollArea/> component lives as a child component of <ScrollTo />, whenever we call scrollTo(), it’ll scroll all of the <ScrollArea /> components. So in this example when the link is clicked only the “My long content…” area will scroll.

But what if we have multiple <ScrollArea /> components?

import React, { Component } from "react";
import { ScrollTo, ScrollArea } from "react-scroll-to";

export default class MyComponent extends Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <ScrollTo>
        {({ scrollTo }) => (
          <>
            <a onClick={() => scrollTo({ y: 500 })}>Scroll to Bottom</a>
          
            <ScrollArea>
               My long content...
            </ScrollArea>

            <ScrollArea>
               My long content 2...
            </ScrollArea>
          </>
        )}
      </ScrollTo>
    );
  }
}

In the case where more than one <ScrollArea /> components exist in a <ScrollTo />, both components will scroll.

What if we only want to scroll one of the <ScrollArea /> components?

import React, { Component } from "react";
import { ScrollTo, ScrollArea } from "react-scroll-to";

export default class MyComponent extends Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <ScrollTo>
        {({ scrollTo }) => (
          <>
            <a onClick={() => scrollTo({ id: "content-two", y: 500 })}>Scroll to Bottom</a>
          
            <ScrollArea>
               My long content...
            </ScrollArea>

            <ScrollArea id="content-two">
               My long content 2...
            </ScrollArea>
          </>
        )}
      </ScrollTo>
    );
  }
}

By adding an id property to a <ScrollArea /> we are able to reference that component in our scrollTo() function. scrollTo() then takes another field, ‘id’, that’ll scroll any <ScrollArea /> component that matches that id (id’s must be unique).

V2 Features

scrollTo and ScrollArea have both existed in v1; let’s look at branch new features.

Smooth Scrolling

Smooth scrolling couldn’t be simpler. By adding a smooth: true property to the scrollTo() object, react-scroll-to will automatically apply smooth scrolling.

import React, { Component } from "react";
import { ScrollTo } from "react-scroll-to";

export default class MyComponent extends Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <ScrollTo>
        {({ scrollTo }) => (
          <a onClick={() => scrollTo({ x: 200, smooth: true })}>
             {/* Oh yeah, we can scroll by x also! */}
             Scroll to Bottom
          </a>
        )}
      </ScrollTo>
    );
  }
}
Scroll by Ref

Maybe instead of using a <ScrollArea /> component, we have a ref to a component we want to scroll. Or maybe instead we want to scroll a component outside <ScrollTo />’s children. Now we have the ability by providing the ref through the scrollTo() argument object!

import React, { Component } from "react";
import { ScrollTo } from "react-scroll-to";

export default class MyComponent extends Component {
  myRef = React.createRef();

  render() {
    return (
      <ScrollTo>
        {({ scrollTo }) => (
          <a onClick={() => scrollTo({ ref: this.myRef, y: 200, smooth: true })}>
             Scroll to Bottom
          </a>
        )}
      </ScrollTo>

      <div ref={this.myRef}>
        I'm outside ScrollTo!
      </div>
    );
  }
}

Conclusion

V2 of react-scroll-to provides a lot of behind-the-scenes structural changes that’ll allow for a better developer experience while implementing new features. We also added many new features that have been in demand. As things solidify, we hope to expose hooks in react-scroll-to to allow even more flexibility.

Check it out: react-scroll-to Examples: Click Here