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utility for subscribing to external data sources inside React components

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create-subscription is a utility for subscribing to external data sources inside React components.

It is no longer maintained and will not be updated. Use the built-in React.useSyncExternalStore instead.


# Yarn
yarn add create-subscription

npm install create-subscription


To configure a subscription, you must provide two methods: getCurrentValue and subscribe.

import { createSubscription } from "create-subscription";

const Subscription = createSubscription({
  getCurrentValue(source) {
    // Return the current value of the subscription (source),
    // or `undefined` if the value can't be read synchronously (e.g. native Promises).
  subscribe(source, callback) {
    // Subscribe (e.g. add an event listener) to the subscription (source).
    // Call callback(newValue) whenever a subscription changes.
    // Return an unsubscribe method,
    // Or a no-op if unsubscribe is not supported (e.g. native Promises).

To use the Subscription component, pass the subscribable property (e.g. an event dispatcher, observable) as the source property and use a render prop, children, to handle the subscribed value when it changes:

<Subscription source={eventDispatcher}>
  {value => <AnotherComponent value={value} />}


This API can be used to subscribe to a variety of "subscribable" sources, from event dispatchers to RxJS observables. Below are a few examples of how to subscribe to common types.

Subscribing to event dispatchers

Below is an example showing how create-subscription can be used to subscribe to event dispatchers such as DOM elements.

import React from "react";
import { createSubscription } from "create-subscription";

// Start with a simple component.
// In this case, it's a function component, but it could have been a class.
function FollowerComponent({ followersCount }) {
  return <div>You have {followersCount} followers!</div>;

// Create a wrapper component to manage the subscription.
const EventHandlerSubscription = createSubscription({
  getCurrentValue: eventDispatcher => eventDispatcher.value,
  subscribe: (eventDispatcher, callback) => {
    const onChange = event => callback(eventDispatcher.value);
    eventDispatcher.addEventListener("change", onChange);
    return () => eventDispatcher.removeEventListener("change", onChange);

// Your component can now be used as shown below.
// In this example, 'eventDispatcher' represents a generic event dispatcher.
<EventHandlerSubscription source={eventDispatcher}>
  {value => <FollowerComponent followersCount={value} />}

Subscribing to observables

Below are examples showing how create-subscription can be used to subscribe to certain types of observables (e.g. RxJS BehaviorSubject and ReplaySubject).

Note that it is not possible to support all observable types (e.g. RxJS Subject or Observable) because some provide no way to read the "current" value after it has been emitted.


const BehaviorSubscription = createSubscription({
  getCurrentValue: behaviorSubject => behaviorSubject.getValue(),
  subscribe: (behaviorSubject, callback) => {
    const subscription = behaviorSubject.subscribe(callback);
    return () => subscription.unsubscribe();


const ReplaySubscription = createSubscription({
  getCurrentValue: replaySubject => {
    let currentValue;
    // ReplaySubject does not have a sync data getter,
    // So we need to temporarily subscribe to retrieve the most recent value.
      .subscribe(value => {
        currentValue = value;
    return currentValue;
  subscribe: (replaySubject, callback) => {
    const subscription = replaySubject.subscribe(callback);
    return () => subscription.unsubscribe();

Subscribing to a Promise

Below is an example showing how create-subscription can be used with native Promises.

Note that an initial render value of undefined is unavoidable due to the fact that Promises provide no way to synchronously read their current value.

Note the lack of a way to "unsubscribe" from a Promise can result in memory leaks as long as something has a reference to the Promise. This should be taken into consideration when determining whether Promises are appropriate to use in this way within your application.

import React from "react";
import { createSubscription } from "create-subscription";

// Start with a simple component.
function LoadingComponent({ loadingStatus }) {
  if (loadingStatus === undefined) {
    // Loading
  } else if (loadingStatus === null) {
    // Error
  } else {
    // Success

// Wrap the function component with a subscriber HOC.
// This HOC will manage subscriptions and pass values to the decorated component.
// It will add and remove subscriptions in an async-safe way when props change.
const PromiseSubscription = createSubscription({
  getCurrentValue: promise => {
    // There is no way to synchronously read a Promise's value,
    // So this method should return undefined.
    return undefined;
  subscribe: (promise, callback) => {
      // Success
      value => callback(value),
      // Failure
      () => callback(null)

    // There is no way to "unsubscribe" from a Promise.
    // create-subscription will still prevent stale values from rendering.
    return () => {};

// Your component can now be used as shown below.
<PromiseSubscription source={loadingPromise}>
  {loadingStatus => <LoadingComponent loadingStatus={loadingStatus} />}


Last updated on 11 Apr 2022

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