How to Introduce Elm to a React Codebase

How to Introduce Elm to a React Codebase

Elm is a delightful language that helps make web applications more reliable by eliminating runtime exceptions. I find it extremely productive working with Elm, and would like to be able to use it in a JavaScript codebase without breaking the existing application or having to rewrite it altogether. However, it’s not obvious how to try out Elm in a small piece of the application, just enough to evaluate how well it works. This is what we will address in this article by exploring how to add a new feature to a React codebase with Elm.

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From JavaScript to Elm: A Blissful Journey

From JavaScript to Elm: A Blissful Journey

When building web applications with JavaScript, there are thousands of tools and frameworks to choose from. Most of these tools aim to make developing with JavaScript easier and more productive, and most of them help web developers achieve that. However, sometimes the language itself is the constraint. If you have built web applications in JavaScript, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced errors like Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'x' of undefined that end up taking lots of time to debug. The language does not help you catch these errors early enough in the development cycle, and they usually end up being discovered too late, mostly by your users reporting that something is not working.

What if you could release your web app with the confidence that you would never get any runtime exceptions again? What if every time you needed to refactor code, you could do it confidently knowing you have a compiler that would let you know of any errors and suggestions on how to fix them? What if you could get all these benefits today, right now?

Welcome to the world of Elm.

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