A different approach to routing in Single-Page Applications: now in production

I've recently wrote an article about a framework agnostic routing approach for SPA and promised to post an update once it is a bit more tested. I have since moved Proppy from react-router v2 to the structure described in my article and the result is pretty great!

I did change a few things from it though.

First, the onClick of the Link component was incorrect and has been changed to:

private onClick(event: React.MouseEvent<{}>) {
    // I also changed the props `name` to `to`
    const {to, params, options} = this.props;
    router.navigate(to, params, options);

The store also changed in order to only display an animation after a certain amount of time, avoiding blinking effects:

class RouterStore {
  @observable current: State;
  @observable asyncInProgress = false;
  // Only happens if the page wasn't loaded in less than 500ms
  @observable showLoadingScreen = false;
  loadingTimeout: null | number;

  @action setCurrent(state: State) {
    this.current = state;
    this.asyncInProgress = false;
    this.showLoadingScreen = false;

  @action startAsyncLoading() {
    this.asyncInProgress = true;
    this.loadingTimeout = setTimeout(() => this.showLoadingScreen = true, 500);

Any component can now observe showLoadingScreen and render a loading effect very easily. 500 milliseconds is probably too high but I was on a slow connection several thousands of kilometers away from our servers when I tried it.

The only issue we encountered was that some users were faced with a blank page. I was not able to reproduce it and no errors were reported to our Sentry server. After a couple of unsuccessful debugging sessions, I noticed something in the router5 documentation: the strictQueryParams.

By default in router5, a route with a path of / will not be matched by the URL /?_ga=blabla: turns out this was exactly what was happening for Proppy. I opened an issue to change the default to a saner one and it seems it will happen, but in the next major version as this is a breaking change. In the meantime, the paragraph about strictQueryParams got moved to the top in the docs in order to be more visible.

Lastly, someone mailed me mentioning react-mobx-router5 which was inspired by the same article as this serie of posts. I think a library for this routing approach is overkill. Pretty much all the code needed is in the previous article and is less than 100 LOC that you can customise any way you want since different apps will have different needs.