Redux vs Context API : How to choose?


Bit confused, about when, how, and where to use redux and context API. Let’s take a brief look.

We have a simple application named as Movie app. In that movie app, we have basic three-component search, login, and movies. If we want to share data between these components then quite easy than nested child components in one big app that leads to prop drilling. So, to solve the prop drilling issue here state management is important. State management we can do in both redux as well as context API. Once again confused about which one is better to use. Let’s start woohoo….!

Context API :

In general, react applications, data is passed from parent to child (top to down) through props, but such usage can be difficult for certain types of props like UI theme, and local preference. These types of props required many components in an application. Context API provides a way to share values between components without having to explicitly pass a prop through every level of the tree.

Context API provides a way to pass data through components without having to pass props manually at every level. ContextAPI’s main purpose is to share data between components without using props or actions. Context API reduces the complexity of state management in an application.

Context API contains mainly contains 2 parts.

  1. Provider   2.  Consumer

The provider is used to define and track certain pieces of state. This state can be accessed by all the children inside the provider. These children are referred to as consumers. The consumer is every component that is accessing or modifying the state from the provider.

Redux :

The Redux is a JavaScript library. It helps to manage data flow in a centralized manner. Redux stores the entire state of the app. In redux state can be accessed by any component without prop-drilling i.e. without having to pass down props from one component to another component.

Redux contains mainly 3 parts.

  1. Action     2.  Reducers    3.  Store

Action is a JS (JavaScript) object that has a type field. The actions are events that send data to the redux store.  Actions are called directly by an application or they can be triggered by user interaction. Each action needs a unique type as well as a payload associated with it.

Reducers contain a function. That function takes the current state and an action as an argument. It returns a new state result.  In redux application has only one reducer function: the “root reducer” function that you will pass to createStore later on.

Store where we can create or configure the store.

Difference between context API and Redux

Context API: The Context API is not a “state management” tool. The Context API is a Dependency Injection mechanism, whose only purpose is to make a single value accessible to nested children of React components.

Context API is a way to effectively produce a global variable that can pass into our components. In context API, changes are made with context value. Context API re-renders all the components whenever any changes in the provider’s value props. In two or three components where state changes are minimal then context API is useful.

Redux: The redux is a state management library. Redux is used for managing data and state in components as well as used for data storage for any UI (user interface).  In redux changes are made with reducer which is a pure react function.

In redux, we cannot change the state directly because the state is read-only. Redux only re-renders updated/changed value components. When we have a big application i.e. in which where high-frequency state updates then redux is perfect.

Redux or Context API? Who is the winner?

Does React Context API work more efficiently than Redux? Do you think is it simpler, built-in, and easier to learn and has endless advantages? Not always. The Context API is not designed for handling high-frequency state updates. It doesn’t mean context API will not work. It will work, and the developer can decide to use it with success (especially in smaller projects). 

Moreover, The Context API supports more finely by designing low-frequency updates (selected language, color theme) than others. On the other hand, Redux is perfect for the high-frequency update data field. 

Let’s sum it up..!

In the end, there is no specific answer, “Which is better to use” should be understood as “what is better for our react application and our team”. It totally depends on the developer’s experience, their knowledge of both context API and redux solutions, and the use cases in individual projects.

Keep Learning…..!

Thank you React Developers for Reading this information

About the author

Shivani Kumbhar
By Shivani Kumbhar