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In React.js should I make my initial network request in componentWillMount or componentDidMount?

In the react docs it recommends making initial network requests in the componentDidMount method:

componentDidMount() is invoked immediately after a component is mounted. Initialization that requires DOM nodes should go here. If you need to load data from a remote endpoint, this is a good place to instantiate the network request. Setting state in this method will trigger a re-rendering.

If componentWillMount is called before rendering the component, isn’t it better to make the request and set the state here? If I do so in componentDidMount, the component is rendered, the request is made, the state is changed, then the component is re-rendered. Why isn’t it better to make the request before anything is rendered?

Answer

You should do requests in componentDidMount.

If componentWillMount is called before rendering the component, isn’t it better to make the request and set the state here?

No because the request won’t finish by the time the component is rendered anyway.

If I do so in componentDidMount, the component is rendered, the request is made, the state is changed, then the component is re-rendered. Why isn’t it better to make the request before anything is rendered?

Because any network request is asynchronous. You can’t avoid a second render anyway unless you cached the data (and in this case you wouldn’t need to fire the request at all). You can’t avoid a second render by firing it earlier. It won’t help.

In future versions of React we expect that componentWillMount will fire more than once in some cases, so you should use componentDidMount for network requests.

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