Polymorphic Components in Chakra UI

Learn about the use of polymorphic components in the open-source Chakra UI library

Introduction

Chakra UI is a simple, modular, and accessible component library that gives us the building blocks we need to build our React applications. It’s easy to use, has dark-theme support, and is accessible by default.

In general, we achieve reusability in React components by using props. So, how does Chakra UI implement polymorphic props? The answer is by exposing an as prop.

The as prop is passed to a component to determine what container element to render to. Here's an example of using the Chakra UI as prop on a Box component:

<Box as='button'>
Button
</Box>
A basic Box component

We can use the as prop to change the element render, just like styled components.

By default, the Box component renders a div. However, by passing as='button', the Box component will now render a button element.

Chakra UI's polymorphic prop

Using the as prop is quite straightforward.

We pass it to the component. In the example above, it was the Box component. It looks like this:

<Box as="button"> Hello </Box>
A basic Box component usage

Next, the component will render a button element.

The Box component rendered as a button
The Box component rendered as a button

Now, let's change the as prop to an h1.

<Box as="h1"> Hello </Box>
Changing the as prop to an h1

Now, the Box component renders an h1 element.

The Box component rendered as an h1
The Box component rendered as an h1

That’s a polymorphic component at work!

The same component is rendered to entirely unique elements, all by passing down a single prop.

To fully appreciate this lesson:

  • Take a look at the rendered Box component.

  • Inspect the rendered UI element.

  • Change the value of the as prop and inspect the new rendered UI element.

Try it yourself

Below is a code playground with a basic Chakra UI project setup.

Click the “Run” button to view the project.

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Basic Chakra UI project