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MobX Cheat Sheet 🚀

MobX has a pretty small API surface and tries to get out of your way as much as possible. Although minimal, there are few concepts you should be familiar with. This guide is meant to be a crash course in MobX.

Required Packages

Make sure to have the following packages installed for working effectively with MobX and Flutter:

  1. pub

The main MobX package that includes Observables, Actions, and Reactions

  1. pub

Provides the Observer widget that auto-renders when the tracked observables change.

  1. pub

A powerful code-generator that greatly improves the developer experience with MobX. It provides annotations like @observable, @computed, @action which hides all the boilerplate in a separately generated file, *.g.dart.

These packages should appear in your pubspec.yaml like below.

dependencies:
mobx: ^2.1.3
flutter_mobx: ^2.0.6+5

dev_dependencies:
build_runner: ^2.3.3
mobx_codegen: ^2.1.1

Declaring a Store class

Every store in MobX should be declared with the following boilerplate. This is probably the only boilerplate that gets repeated. You could make this into a code-snippet in your IDE. Below, we are declaring a Todo store.

// todo.dart
import 'package:mobx/mobx.dart';

part 'todo.g.dart';

class Todo = _Todo with _$Todo;

abstract class _Todo with Store {
/* rest of the class*/
}

Note that the basename of the part-file must match the containing-file exactly! In the above case, the part file is called todo.g.dart, which matches the todo.dart file in which it is contained. To generate the part-file, you have to run the following command:

flutter pub run build_runner watch --delete-conflicting-outputs

Ya, it looks like a mouthful 🙃 but it does the job!

Adding @observable, @computed, @action

Observables are the reactive state of your store and Actions are semantic operations that mutate them. Computed Observables are read-only properties that depend on other observables and auto-update when any of the dependent observables change.

// contact.dart
import 'package:mobx/mobx.dart';

part 'contact.g.dart';

class Contact = _Contact with _$Contact;

abstract class _Contact with Store {

String firstName;


String lastName;


String get fullName => '$firstName, $lastName';

ObservableList<String> phoneNumbers = ObservableList.of([]);


void addPhone(String phone) {
phoneNumbers.add(phone);
}

// async action

Future<void> fetchPhoneNumbers() async {
final numbers = await contactService.fetchFor(firstName, lastName);
phoneNumbers = ObservableList.of(numbers);
}
}

Reactive wrappers

MobX also comes with a set of wrapper-classes that add the reactive behavior. These include:

  • ObservableList<T>
  • ObservableSet<T>
  • ObservableMap<K,V>
  • ObservableFuture<T>
  • ObservableStream<T>

Reactive Extensions

You can convert plain List, Map, Set, Future and Stream instances into an observable version with the asObservable() extension method. For example, in the code-snippet above, you could do:

ObservableList<String> phoneNumbers = [].asObservable();

Don't underestimate the @computed

Although @computed looks like a simple, readonly observable, it can easily be your most powerful tool. By creating @computed properties that depend on other observables, you can dramatically simplify the UI code and eliminate most of the business logic inside your Widgets. It is most often used for hiding conditional logic and calculating some derived information.

For example, rather than checking if some data is loaded successfully inside a Widget...

Widget build(BuildContext context) {
final store = Provider.of<Contact>(context);

return Observer(
builder: (_) {
if (store.loadOperation != null &&
store.loadOperation.status == FutureStatus.fulfilled) {
return ContactView(store);
}

return Container();
}
);
}

...you can create a @computed property called hasResults...

class _Contact with Store {
/* rest of the class */

ObservableFuture<void> loadOperation = null;


bool get hasResults =>
loadOperation != null &&
loadOperation.status == FutureStatus.fulfilled;
}

...and simplify your widget logic...

Widget build(BuildContext context) {
final store = Provider.of<Contact>(context);

return Observer(
builder: (_) {
if (store.hasResults) {
return ContactView(store);
}

return Container();
}
);
}

...Since a @computed property is an observable, the Observer will automatically render when it changes!

Adding reactions

Reactions, as the name suggests, react to changes in observables. Without reactions, it would be a boring system that only produces changes in observables but nothing visible or useful ever happens because there are no reactions!

There are 3 types of reactions: autorun, reaction, when. Each reaction returns a ReactionDisposer, which when called will dispose the reaction. Disposing a reaction stops tracking the observables.

  • autorun: Is a long-running reaction and starts tracking immediately.
// example.dart

import 'package:mobx/mobx.dart';
part 'example.g.dart';

class Counter = _Counter with _$Counter;

abstract class _Counter with Store {
int counter = 0;
ReactionDisposer _dispose;

void setupReactions() {
_dispose = autorun((_){
print("Count is $counter");
});
}

}

  • reaction: Is a long-running reaction and starts tracking only after the first change. It runs the effect when any tracked observables change.
// example.dart

import 'package:mobx/mobx.dart';
part 'example.g.dart';

class Counter = _Counter with _$Counter;

abstract class _Counter with Store {
int counter = 0;
ReactionDisposer _dispose;

void setupReactions() {
_dispose = reaction((_) => counter, (int newValue){
print("Count is now $newValue");
});
}

}


  • when: a reaction that waits for a condition to become true before running the effect. After running the effect, it automatically disposes. Thus when is a one-time only reaction!.
// example.dart

import 'package:mobx/mobx.dart';
part 'example.g.dart';

class Counter = _Counter with _$Counter;

abstract class _Counter with Store {
int counter = 0;
ReactionDisposer _dispose;

void setupReactions() {
_dispose = when((_) => counter >= 10, (){
print("Count has reached the limit of 10");
});
}

}