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Check out my React hooks introduction first, if you’re new to them.

One React hook I sometimes use is useRef.

import React, { useRef } from 'react'

This hook allows us to access a DOM element imperatively.

Here’s an example, where I log to the console the value of the DOM reference of the span element that contains the count value:

import React, { useState, useRef } from 'react'

const Counter = () => {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0)
  const counterEl = useRef(null)

  const increment = () => {
    setCount(count + 1)
    console.log(counterEl)
  }

  return (
    <>
      Count: <span ref={counterEl}>{count}</span>
      <button onClick={increment}>+</button>
    </>
  )
}

ReactDOM.render(<Counter />, document.getElementById('app'))

Notice the const counterEl = useRef(null) line, and the <span ref={counterEl}>{count}</span>. This is what sets the link.

Now we can access the DOM reference by accessing counterEl.current.

See it on Codepen:

See the Pen React useRef hook by Flavio Copes (@flaviocopes) on CodePen.


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