React Prevent Re-renders

Today I learned how to prevent React from unnecessarily re-rendering a component:

shouldComponentUpdate(nextProps) {
  // Compare the props with one another
  if (this.props.actions !== nextProps.actions) {
    return true;

  return false;

I was trying to use a loop to sort some items prior to rendering them in a component. During the debug step I kept seeing the loop run twice, when I was only expecting it to run once.

After spending a little too long thinking my loop was the problem, it suddenly clicked that React was re-rendering my component in reaction to a prop change. Although the props have changed only once, for some (slightly unknown ) reason the component was being rendered twice. By implementing a check with shouldComponentUpdate I can prevent the unnecessary render.

I used another React lifecyle method initially to confirm the component was being re-rendered:

componentDidUpdate(prevProps) {
  if (this.props !== prevProps) {

Although I visually inspected this.props against prevProps and to me they looked identical, they obviously aren’t.

A final note from React’s documentation to remember when debugging:

componentDidUpdate() will not be invoked if shouldComponentUpdate() returns false.