Input Component Specification

A component that displays and collects data. An input results in any JavaScript data type.


Because the closest Form type component does much of the heavy work, creating your own Input type component is not difficult.

An Input MUST (Requirements)

An Input SHOULD (Recommendations)

An Input MAY (As Necessary)

Additional Properties

These properties are not strictly governed by this specification, but in order to make it easy to swap similar components, we recommend the following naming conventions if you support these features:

Static Properties

defaultProps [OPTIONAL]

Setting the defaultProps static property is recommended but not required.

isFormInput [REQUIRED]

Set this to true so that the containing form and other components know that your component implements the Input specification.

Instance Methods

These instance methods are optional for inputs, but you should use these names for them if you support these functions. Also, if you provide one of them, you should provide all four.

isDirty() [OPTIONAL]

Returns a boolean indicating whether anything has been entered/changed by the user or by a call to the setValue instance method.

getValue() [OPTIONAL]

Returns the current value the input is showing

resetValue() [OPTIONAL]

Update the shown value to match the value prop, erasing any user changes

setValue(value) [OPTIONAL]

Update the value state to be the provided value. This is similar to passing a new value to the value prop except that isDirty() will return true after setting it this way if the set value doesn't match the prop value, so this is the best way to simulate the user having entered/chosen a value.

Additional Specs

Depending on what an input value's data type is and other factors, there are additional rules and recommendations to follow. These help ensure that it it easy to swap one input for another that is similar.

Inputs With String Value

Must accept an optional boolean property convertEmptyStringToNull, which if true should always call onChange and onChanging with null rather than "". The default value for this property can be either true or false, as the component author prefers. This feature is useful for some validation libraries where an empty string does not result in a "required" error, or to avoid storing empty strings in your database.

Must accept an optional boolean property trimValue, which if true should always call onChange and onChanging with a string that has no whitespace at the beginning or end. The default value for this property can be either true or false, as the component author prefers.

If both trimValue and convertEmptyStringToNull are true, the component should first trim, and then convert to null.

Inputs With Date Value

Must accept an optional string property timezone that will be set to the IANA timezone string that should be used to interpret the user-entered time, and/or an optional offset string property that will be set to the offset string, e.g. "+00:00". If neither are supplied, the timezone/offset of the local machine should be assumed.

May accept max and min properties that will be set to a Date object representing the earliest and latest times that may be selected.

NOTE: Inputs with Date values should be limited to inputs that are intended to have the user select an exact moment in time, such as an appointment start time. If an input has the user choose only a date and not a time, or only a time and not a date, or a date and time that are intended to be relative, then it's best to have the data type be a string, a number, or an object, to which you can apply a timezone later when displaying it.

Selection Inputs

Inputs that show multiple values to the user and allow selection must get those options from a property called options. The component should expect options in one of two valid formats:

  { label: '2013', value: 2013 },
  { label: '2014', value: 2014 },
  { label: '2015', value: 2015 },


    optgroup: 'Fun Years',
    options: [
      { label: '2013', value: 2013 },
      { label: '2014', value: 2014 },
      { label: '2015', value: 2015 },
    optgroup: "Boring Years",
    options: [
      { label: '2016', value: 2016 },
      { label: '2017', value: 2017 },
      { label: '2018', value: 2018 },

Components can choose not to support the optgroup format if it doesn't make sense.

The value is a number in these examples but could be a string, a boolean, a Date, or anything. A selection input can limit the data types it supports for values.

Selection input UI can be anything, for example, toggle buttons, check boxes, a dropdown list, etc.

In addition to label and value, which are required, id can be added if any values are duplicated. id should be used for array tracking (e.g., key prop in React) if supplied, otherwise use value.

Dropdown-type selection inputs must add a first option that is shown when the value is empty (undefined, null, empty string, etc.). Allow the user to set the label for this option using a string property called emptyLabel.


ReactoForm Input


Why is isReadOnly prop supported but not isDisabled?

In HTML, the form input element has both a readonly attribute and a disabled attribute. They are subtly different. The primary difference is that values from disabled inputs are not included when you serialize an HTML form. Also, disabled inputs do not receive focus and cannot be tabbed to. Read-only inputs, on the other hand, can be tabbed to, can receive focus, and are included in the serialized form values.

These distinctions do not really matter when doing forms this way, so we include only a single prop, isReadOnly. We use this rather than isDisabled because it is a clearer description. If you create an input component that ultimately renders an HTML input, you may choose to map isReadOnly to either HTML attribute. You can also add isDisabled if you really need to.

Testing Your Component

To add tests that help ensure your input properly implements the spec, use the composable-form-tests package.