Inversion of Control | Kent C. Dodds

I have a tendency to prefer the kind of "inside-out" control that Kent is advocating in this piece, though I've never head it called "inversion of control" before. The idea of giving your users the ability to manipulate the output of a given function/API is a great way to futureproof your work and something I think is generally useful doing earlier rather than later.

The problem comes, as he identifies, when you overdo it:

What if that's all we ever needed filter to do and we never ran into a situation where we needed to filter on anything but null and undefined? In that case, adding inversion of control for a single use case would just make the code more complicated and not provide much value.

So how do you walk that fine line? Like most things, there's a lot of grey in the decision. Personally, I like to do things with no inversion first, sticking to the principle of "doing one thing well". Then, if I (or others) find that they need to extend that functionality, I begin adding overrides. Overrides are great for maintaining existing code and allowing for an inversion of control. For example, in the pseudo-array-filter example Kent uses, I would cede control of the filter options to a prop/variable (as he does), but then add a line that populates that variable with the original null and undefined checks if it's blank. That way existing implementations still work, nothing breaks, and moving forward the code is much more flexible (and, crucially, avoids the multiple-extension spaghetti that we're trying to avoid).

Sure, occasionally someone might inadvertently duplicate that setup, by re-specifying the default behaviour in the function call, but that's fine. If you didn't set the default behaviour every call would have to do that anyway, so it still saves time in the long run, and you avoid pre-extending code that never needs the flexibility in the first place.

Explore Other Notes

Older ➑

The End of "Someone"

I don’t think we have any clue about how disruptive this shift is going to be.There are people and organizations that are racing to break the fabric of community that we all […]

Made By Me, But Made Possible By:


Build: Gatsby

Deployment: GitHub

Hosting: Netlify

Connect With Me:

Twitter Twitter

Instagram Instragram

500px 500px

GitHub GitHub

Keep Up To Date:

All Posts RSS feed.

Articles RSS feed.

Journal RSS feed.

Notes RSS feed.