FAQ: The State Hook - Objects in State

This community-built FAQ covers the “Objects in State” exercise from the lesson “The State Hook”.

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FAQs on the exercise Objects in State

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“Did you notice the square brackets around the name ? This Computed Property Name allows us to use the string value stored by the name variable as a property key!”

I don’t really understand this. What kind of datatype is name?

The datatype of name is string. If you look at the input elements, they have an attribute called name (i.e. name="firstName", name="password"). The “firstName” and “password” are strings. The Computed Property Name notation allows us to use these strings as keys in our state object.
In the snippet

{ ...prev, 
[name]: value }

the string name “firstName” or “password” will be converted to property keys in our state object because of the square brackets around name. So, our object will have property keys called firstName and password. The value of the property will be whatever we have entered in the respective input field.
For example, if we enter Jack in the input field for First Name, then the [name]: value notation will mean that the object has a property whose key is firstName and value is “Jack”. If we did something like console.log(formState.firstName), it will output the string value Jack to the console.

1 Like
setFormState((prev) => ({ ...prev }))

Why do we use parentheses to surround the object? Is it to indicate that the object between it is to be returned? I’ve tried the same method in the previous exercise on return [item, ...prev], changing it into ([item, ...prev]), and it worked. But I just want to be sure if that is the case.


I didn’t think the parentheses in this snippet were significant until you posted your comment. Researching and thinking about the topic, the parentheses are indeed necessary in the snippet you posted. It has to do with the implicit return of an object in an arrow function.
If we wanted to explicitly return an object in an arrow function, we would have to use the return keyword and use curly braces:

setFormState((prev) => {
  return {...prev};

However, we want to do an implicit return of the object. If we tried to do something like:

setFormState((prev) => {...prev})

this wouldn’t capture our intent. We intend to implicitly return the {...prev} object, but JavaScript looks at the curly braces and decides that this is actually a block of code and not an object.
To implicitly return the object, we need the parentheses as you posted above:

setFormState((prev) => ({...prev}))

Have a look at this article. It is a short read, but it explains the issue very nicely with examples.

As regards the previous exercise, we are returning a list explicitly. Furthermore, the return keyword and the opening bracket of the list are on the same line. So, we don’t need parentheses.
return [item, ...prev]; does the job just fine.



I can’t understand why do we need this braces (marked in arrows)? Is there an other way? Thanks!

setProfile((prevProfile) => → ( <–{
[name]: value
} → ) <–);

 const handleChange = ({ target }) => {
    const {name, value} = target
    setProfile((prevProfile) => ({
      [name]: value

Have you looked at the previous post? It is the same reason about the implicit return of an object in an arrow function.
In the arrow function in setProfile, we want to return the object { ...prevProfile, [name]: value }

If you want to do an explicit return, you could do something like:

    setProfile((prevProfile) => {
        return { ...prevProfile, [name]: value };

However, if we want to do an implicit return, then

    setProfile((prevProfile) => { ...prevProfile, [name]: value } );

will NOT work. We want to implicitly return the object, but the compiler will think that the curly braces { } aren’t meant to denote an object but a block of code constituting the body of the arrow function.
If we want to do the implicit return of the object, we need the parentheses:

    setProfile((prevProfile) => ( { ...prevProfile, [name]: value } ) );