Specifically for ReactJS and responsive frameworks that show/hide elements based on width like Bootstrap.

Because ReactJS has a virtual DOM I am presuming doing the DOM manipulation is faster and in the end a bit easier to debug because you are not trying to think which parts are display:none and there are less elements to debug. It was also easier to me to think that way because of my programming background rather than CSS.

I haven't dealt with too much performance testing yet on ReactJS (that's a few chapters down) but what is better from an engineering standpoint.

Code wise it looks like this...

constructor(props) {
    this.updateStatesBasedOnWindowSize =
    this.state = {
        smallDeviceNavigation: false,
        sideNavVisible: false,
componentWillMount() {
componentDidMount() {
    window.addEventListener("resize", this.updateStatesBasedOnWindowSize)
componentWillUnmount() {
    window.removeEventListener("resize", this.updateStatesBasedOnWindowSize)

 * This will trigger a state change based on the device size.
updateStatesBasedOnWindowSize() {

    const w = window,
        d = document,
        documentElement = d.documentElement,
        body = d.getElementsByTagName('body')[0],
        width = w.innerWidth || 
                documentElement.clientWidth || body.clientWidth

    if (width >= 576) {
        if (this.state.smallDeviceNavigation) {
            this.setState({ smallDeviceNavigation: false })
        if (!this.state.sideNavVisible) {
            this.setState({ sideNavVisible: true })
    } else {
        if (!this.state.smallDeviceNavigation) {
            // Force hide the side 
            // nav if the smallDeviceNavigation was false before.
            this.setState({ sideNavVisible: false })
        if (!this.state.smallDeviceNavigation) {
            this.setState({ smallDeviceNavigation: true })

Then in the components I just check this.state accordingly. I get the advantage that I am dealing with the state based on a logical name rather than physical widths and breakpoints I am not dealing with.

Mind you this is for show/hide hence I emphasized it earlier. Layouts based on CSS I just left alone and let bootstrap grid deal with it. But menus and navs I did the DOM manipulation.

  • The window object is outside of the virtual dom, so show/hide via DOM computed properties causes reflow and repaint. Oct 18 '18 at 2:05

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