/ Miscellaneous

Write React components in Elm

Write React components in Elm


This package makes it easy to turn Elm code into React components.

Companies that use Elm in production usually start with a single component. So if you want to use Elm at work, start with a small experiment. Do people think it is nice? Do more! Do people think it sucks? Do less!


After you have compiled an Elm program to JavaScript, you can embed it in React like this:

import Elm from 'react-elm-components'
import { Todo } from '../dist/elm/todomvc.js'

function render() {
	return <Elm src={Todo} />


Sometimes you want to give your Elm program some flags on start up. For example, maybe your Todo module needs to get an array of todos. You would write something like this:

import Elm from 'react-elm-components'
import { Todo } from '../dist/elm/todomvc.js'

function render() {
	var flags = { todos: ["Get Milk", "Do Laundry"] };
	return <Elm src={Todo} flags={flags} />

These flags will be given to the Elm program, allowing you to do some setup work in JS first.

JavaScript/Elm Interop

As your Elm program gets fancier, you will probably need to interact with JavaScript. We do this with ports. Think of these as holes in the side of an Elm program that let you pass messages back-and-forth.

So maybe we extend our Todo app to allow outsiders to register new tasks through the todos port. And maybe we also expose numActiveTodos so that the outsider can know how much work you have left. You would set it up like this:

import Elm from 'react-elm-components'
import { Todo } from '../dist/elm/todomvc.js'

function render() {
	return <Elm src={Todo} ports={setupPorts} />

function setupPorts(ports) {
	ports.numActiveTodos.subscribe(function(n) {

	ports.todos.send("Invent the Universe");
	ports.todos.send("Bake an Apple Pie");

In the setupPorts function, we first subscribe to the numActiveTodos port. Whenever the number of active todos changes, we will run that function and log the number on the console. After that, we send two values through the todos port. This will add both of these into the model and trigger the numActiveTodos callback twice.

Advanced Usage

Once the Elm component is initialized, changing the flags and ports properties will do nothing. So here are some tricks that may help you out:

  1. If you want to reinitialize your Elm component, add a different key to the old and new components. This way old one is destroyed and replaced by the new one.
  2. If you want to mess with ports, you can save the ports object into your state and access it later.
  3. This package is super simple. Fewer than 20 lines. Check out the implementation and do it different if you want!

Angular, Ember, etc.

If you want to embed Elm in Angular or Ember or whatever else, you are in luck!

The implementation is under 20 lines, mostly React-related. The important lines are basically running the following program at the correct time:

var Elm = require('../dist/elm/todomvc.js');
var app = Elm.Todo.embed(node, flags);