Combobox Primitive

An unstyled and accessible basis upon which to build a combobox.

Status
beta
Version
0.1.9
Sources
Github
Import from
@twilio-paste/core/combobox-primitive — or — @twilio-paste/combobox-primitive

Guidelines#

About the Combobox Primitive#

This package provides a foundation upon which developers can implement a WAI-Aria compliant Comboboxlink takes you to an external page. It can be used to build functional and accessible Comboboxes with or without autocomplete/typeahead features. Our Combobox is built on top of this primitive.

The purpose of providing these unstyled primitives is to cater for instances when the styled Combobox provided by Paste, doesn't meet the requirements needed to solve a unique or individual customer problem. At that point you are welcome to fallback to this functional primitive to roll your own styled Combobox whilst still providing a functional and accessible experience to your customers.

This primitive should be used to compose all custom Comboboxes to ensure accessibility and upgrade paths.

Warning

We strongly suggest that all components built on top of this primitive get reviewed by the Design Systems team and goes through the UX Review process to ensure an excellent experience for our customers.

Usage Guide#

This package is a wrapper around the Downshift packagelink takes you to an external page. Our wrapper currently only exposes the useCombobox hook, but renamed for Paste. The reason we chose to just expose the hook is that we feel it is the most flexible way of consuming downshift and better fit our chosen styling model.

If you’re wondering why we wrapped that package into our own, we reasoned that it would be best for our consumers' developer experience. For example:

  • If we want to migrate the underlying nuts and bolts in the future, Twilio products that depend on this primitive would need to replace all occurrences of import … from ‘x-package’ to import … from ‘@some-new/package’. By wrapping it in @twilio-paste/x-primitive, this refactor can be avoided. The only change would be a version bump in the package.json file for the primitive.
  • We can more strictly enforce semver and backwards compatibility than some of our dependencies.
  • We can control when to provide an update and which versions we allow, to help reduce potential bugs our consumers may face.
  • We can control which APIs we expose. For example, we may chose to enable or disable usage of certain undocumented APIs.

Installation#

This package is available individually or as part of @twilio-paste/core.

yarn add @twilio-paste/combobox-primitive - or - yarn add @twilio-paste/core

Examples#

Basic Combobox#

A basic Combobox is a direct replacement for the native HTML select element. It should function in roughly the same way, the difference being in the ability to style everything about it; the input trigger, option list and option content.

Contrary to the Downshift documentation and example, the basic Combobox should have an HTML input element as the trigger, and not an HTML button. Use an input element and set the role of Combobox in the getToggleButtonProps getter or directly on the element itself. You can see this demonstrated below:

Using an input element prevents screen readers like JAWS switching out of focus or forms mode when navigating through a form. This provides a really frustrating experience to users of JAWS. It is also a direct replacement for a form element, so the value should be accessible via the form submit event, which a button element will not provide.

    Autcomplete Combobox Example#

    This hook can be used to create custom autocomplete Combobox controls. These controls are useful when the customer needs to filter a list of available options, or provide a custom free form value to the input.

      useComboboxPrimitive Arguments#

      Basic Props#

      This is the list of props that you should probably know about. There are some advanced props below as well.

      items any[] | required

      The main difference from vanilla Downshift is that we pass the items we want to render to the hook as well. Opening the menu with an item already selected means the hook has to know in advance what items you plan to render and what is the position of that item in the list. Consequently, there won't be any need for two state changes: one for opening the menu and one for setting the highlighted index, like in Downshift.

      itemToString function(item: any) | defaults to: item => (item ? String(item) : '')

      If your items are stored as, say, objects instead of strings, downshift still needs a string representation for each one. This is required for accessibility messages (e.g., after making a selection).

      Note: This callback must include a null check: it is invoked with null whenever the user abandons input via <Esc>.

      onSelectedItemChange function(changes: object) | optional, no useful default

      Called each time the selected item was changed. Selection can be performed by item click, Enter Key while item is highlighted or by blurring the menu while an item is highlighted (Tab, Shift-Tab or clicking away).

      • changes: These are the properties that actually have changed since the last state change. This object is guaranteed to contain the selectedItem property with the newly selected value. This also has a type property which you can learn more about in the stateChangeTypes section. This property will be part of the actions that can trigger a selectedItem change, for example useCombobox.stateChangeTypes.ItemClick.
      stateReducer function(state: object, actionAndChanges: object) | optional

      🚨 This is a really handy power feature 🚨

      This function will be called each time useCombobox sets its internal state (or calls your onStateChange handler for control props). It allows you to modify the state change that will take place which can give you fine grain control over how the component interacts with user updates. It gives you the current state and the state that will be set, and you return the state that you want to set.

      • state: The full current state of downshift.
      • actionAndChanges: Object that contains the action type, props needed to return a new state based on that type and the changes suggested by the Downshift default reducer. About the type property you can learn more about in the stateChangeTypes section.

      Advanced Props#

      initialSelectedItem any | defaults to null

      Pass an item that should be selected when downshift is initialized.

      initialIsOpen boolean | defaults to false

      Pass a boolean that sets the open state of the menu when downshift is initialized.

      initialHighlightedIndex number | defaults to -1

      Pass a number that sets the index of the highlighted item when downshift is initialized.

      initialInputValue string | defaults to ''

      Pass a string that sets the content of the input when downshift is initialized.

      defaultSelectedItem any | defaults to null

      Pass an item that should be selected when downshift is reset.

      defaultIsOpen boolean | defaults to false

      Pass a boolean that sets the open state of the menu when downshift is reset or when an item is selected.

      defaultHighlightedIndex number | defaults to -1

      Pass a number that sets the index of the highlighted item when downshift is reset or when an item is selected.

      defaultInputValue string | defaults to ''

      Pass a string that sets the content of the input when downshift is reset or when an item is selected.

      getA11yStatusMessage function({/* see below */}) | default messages provided in English

      This function is passed as props to a status updating function nested within that allows you to create your own ARIA statuses. It is called when one of the following props change: items, highlightedIndex, inputValue or isOpen.

      A default getA11yStatusMessage function is provided that will check resultCount and return "No results are available." or if there are results , "resultCount results are available, use up and down arrow keys to navigate. Press Enter key to select."

      getA11ySelectionMessage function({/* see below */}) | default messages provided in English

      This function is similar to the getA11yStatusMessage but it is generating a message when an item is selected. It is passed as props to a status updating function nested within that allows you to create your own ARIA statuses. It is called when selectedItem changes.

      A default getA11ySelectionMessage function is provided. When an item is selected, the message is a selection related one, narrating "itemToString(selectedItem) has been selected".

      The object you are passed to generate your status message, for both getA11yStatusMessage and getA11ySelectionMessage, has the following properties:

      propertytypedescription
      highlightedIndexnumberThe currently highlighted index
      highlightedItemanyThe value of the highlighted item
      isOpenbooleanThe isOpen state
      inputValuestringThe value in the text input.
      itemToStringfunction(any)The itemToString function (see props) for getting the string value from one of the options
      previousResultCountnumberThe total items showing in the dropdown the last time the status was updated
      resultCountnumberThe total items showing in the dropdown
      selectedItemanyThe value of the currently selected item
      onHighlightedIndexChange function(changes: object) | optional, no useful default

      Called each time the highlighted item was changed. Items can be highlighted while hovering the mouse over them or by keyboard keys such as Up Arrow, Down Arrow, Home and End. Arrow keys can be combined with Shift to move by a step of 5 positions instead of 1. Items can also be highlighted by hitting character keys that are part of their starting string equivalent.

      • changes: These are the properties that actually have changed since the last state change. This object is guaranteed to contain the highlightedIndex property with the new value. This also has a type property which you can learn more about in the stateChangeTypes section. This property will be part of the actions that can trigger a highlightedIndex change, for example useCombobox.stateChangeTypes.MenuKeyDownArrowUp.
      onIsOpenChange function(changes: object) | optional, no useful default

      Called each time the menu is open or closed. Menu can be open by toggle button click, Enter, Space, Up Arrow or Down Arrow keys. Can be closed by selecting an item, blur (Tab, Shift-Tab or clicking outside), clicking the toggle button again or hitting Escape key.

      • changes: These are the properties that actually have changed since the last state change. This object is guaranteed to contain the isOpen property with the new value. This also has a type property which you can learn more about in the stateChangeTypes section. This property will be part of the actions that can trigger a isOpen change, for example useCombobox.stateChangeTypes.ToggleButtonClick.
      onInputValueChange function(changes: object) | optional, no useful default

      Called each time the value in the input text changes. The input value should change like any input of type text, at any character key press, Space, Backspace, Escape etc.

      • changes: These are the properties that actually have changed since the last state change. This object is guaranteed to contain the inputValue property with the new value. This also has a type property which you can learn more about in the stateChangeTypes section. This property will be part of the actions that can trigger a inputValue change, for example useCombobox.stateChangeTypes.InputChange.
      onStateChange function(changes: object) | optional, no useful default

      This function is called anytime the internal state changes. This can be useful if you're using downshift as a "controlled" component, where you manage some or all of the state (e.g., isOpen, selectedItem, highlightedIndex, etc) and then pass it as props, rather than letting downshift control all its state itself.

      • changes: These are the properties that actually have changed since the last state change. This also has a type property which you can learn more about in the stateChangeTypes section.
      highlightedIndex#

      number

      The index of the item that should be highlighted when menu is open.

      isOpen boolean

      The open state of the menu.

      selectedItem any

      The item that should be selected.

      inputValue string

      The value to be displayed in the text input.

      id string | defaults to a generated ID

      Used to generate the first part of the Downshift id on the elements. You can override this id with one of your own, provided as a prop, or you can override the id for each element altogether using the props below.

      labelId string | defaults to a generated ID

      Used for aria attributes and the id prop of the element (label) you use getLabelProps with.

      menuId string | defaults to a generated ID

      Used for aria attributes and the id prop of the element (ul) you use getMenuProps with.

      toggleButtonId string | defaults to a generated ID

      Used for aria attributes and the id prop of the element (button) you use getToggleButtonProps with.

      inputId string | defaults to a generated ID

      Used for aria attributes and the id prop of the element (input) you use getInputProps with.

      getItemId function(index) | defaults to a function that generates an ID based on the

      index

      Used for aria attributes and the id prop of the element (li) you use getItemProps with.

      environment window | defaults to window

      This prop is only useful if you're rendering downshift within a different window context from where your JavaScript is running; for example, an iframe or a shadow-root. If the given context is lacking document and/or add|removeEventListener on its prototype (as is the case for a shadow-root) then you will need to pass in a custom object that is able to provide access to these propertieslink takes you to an external page for downshift.

      circularNavigation boolean | defaults to true

      Controls the circular keyboard navigation between items. If set to true, when first item is highlighted, the Arrow Up will move highlight to the last item, and viceversa using Arrow Down.

      useComboboxPrimitive Returned#

      getLabelProps#

      This method should be applied to the label you render. It will generate an id that will be used to label the toggle button and the menu.

      There are no required properties for this method.

      Note: For accessibility purposes, calling this method is highly recommended.

      getMenuProps#

      This method should be applied to the element which contains your list of items. Typically, this will be a <div> or a <ul> that surrounds a map expression. This handles the proper ARIA roles and attributes.

      Optional properties:

      • refKey: if you're rendering a composite component, that component will need to accept a prop which it forwards to the root DOM element. Commonly, folks call this innerRef. So you'd call: getMenuProps({refKey: 'innerRef'}) and your composite component would forward like: <ul ref={props.innerRef} />. However, if you are just rendering a primitive component like <div>, there is no need to specify this property. It defaults to ref.

        Please keep in mind that menus, for accessiblity purposes, should always be rendered, regardless of whether you hide it or not. Otherwise, getMenuProps may throw error if you unmount and remount the menu.

      • aria-label: By default the menu will add an aria-labelledby that refers to the <label> rendered with getLabelProps. However, if you provide aria-label to give a more specific label that describes the options available, then aria-labelledby will not be provided and screen readers can use your aria-label instead.

      In some cases, you might want to completely bypass the refKey check. Then you can provide the object {suppressRefError : true} as the second argument to getMenuProps. Please use it with extreme care and only if you are absolutely sure that the ref is correctly forwarded otherwise useCombobox will unexpectedly fail.

      Note that for accessibility reasons it's best if you always render this element whether or not downshift is in an isOpen state.

      getItemProps#

      The props returned from calling this function should be applied to any menu items you render.

      This is an impure function, so it should only be called when you will actually be applying the props to an item.

      Required properties:

      The main difference from vanilla Downshift is that we require the items as props before rendering. The reason is to open the menu with items already highlighted, and we need to know the items before the actual render. It is still required to pass either item or index to getItemProps.

      • item: this is the item data that will be selected when the user selects a particular item.
      • index: This is how downshift keeps track of your item when updating the highlightedIndex as the user keys around. By default, downshift will assume the index is the order in which you're calling getItemProps. This is often good enough, but if you find odd behavior, try setting this explicitly. It's probably best to be explicit about index when using a windowing library like react-virtualized.

      Optional properties:

      • ref: if you need to access the item element via a ref object, you'd call the function like this: getItemProps({ref: yourItemRef}). As a result, the item element will receive a composed ref property, which guarantees that both your code and useCombobox use the same correct reference to the element.

      • refKey: if you're rendering a composite component, that component will need to accept a prop which it forwards to the root DOM element. Commonly, folks call this innerRef. So you'd call: getItemProps({refKey: 'innerRef'}) and your composite component would forward like: <li ref={props.innerRef} />. However, if you are just rendering a primitive component like <div>, there is no need to specify this property. It defaults to ref.

      • disabled: If this is set to true, then all of the downshift item event handlers will be omitted. Items will not be highlighted when hovered, and items will not be selected when clicked.

      getToggleButtonProps#

      Call this and apply the returned props to a button. It allows you to toggle the Menu component.

      Optional properties:

      • ref: if you need to access the button element via a ref object, you'd call the function like this: getToggleButton({ref: yourButtonRef}). As a result, the button element will receive a composed ref property, which guarantees that both your code and useCombobox use the same correct reference to the element.

      • refKey: if you're rendering a composite component, that component will need to accept a prop which it forwards to the root DOM element. Commonly, folks call this innerRef. So you'd call: getToggleButton({refKey: 'innerRef'}) and your composite component would forward like: <button ref={props.innerRef} />. However, if you are just rendering a primitive component like <div>, there is no need to specify this property. It defaults to ref.

      • disabled: If this is set to true, then all of the downshift button event handlers will be omitted (it won't toggle the menu when clicked).

      getInputProps#

      This method should be applied to the input you render. It is recommended that you pass all props as an object to this method which will compose together any of the event handlers you need to apply to the input while preserving the ones that downshift needs to apply to make the input behave.

      There are no required properties for this method.

      Optional properties:

      • disabled: If this is set to true, then no event handlers will be returned from getInputProps and a disabled prop will be returned (effectively disabling the input).

      • ref: if you need to access the input element via a ref object, you'd call the function like this: getInputProps({ref: yourInputRef}). As a result, the input element will receive a composed ref property, which guarantees that both your code and useCombobox use the same correct reference to the element.

      • refKey: if you're rendering a composite component, that component will need to accept a prop which it forwards to the root DOM element. Commonly, folks call this innerRef. So you'd call: getInputProps({refKey: 'innerRef'}) and your composite component would forward like: <input ref={props.innerRef} />. However, if you are just rendering a primitive component like <div>, there is no need to specify this property. It defaults to ref.

      In some cases, you might want to completely bypass the refKey check. Then you can provide the object {suppressRefError : true} as the second argument to getInput. Please use it with extreme care and only if you are absolutely sure that the ref is correctly forwarded otherwise useCombobox will unexpectedly fail.

      getComboboxProps#

      This method should be applied to the input wrapper element. It has similar return values to the getRootProps from vanilla Downshift, but renaming it as it's not a root element anymore. We are encouraging the correct combobox HTML structure as having the combobox wrapper as a root for the rest of the elements broke navigation and readings with assistive technologies. The wrapper should contain the input and the toggleButton and it should be on the same level with the menu.

      There are no required properties for this method.

      In some cases, you might want to completely bypass the refKey check. Then you can provide the object {suppressRefError : true} as the second argument to getComboboxProps. Please use it with extreme care and only if you are absolutely sure that the ref is correctly forwarded otherwise useCombobox will unexpectedly fail.

      Actions#

      These are functions you can call to change the state of the downshift useCombobox hook.

      propertytypedescription
      closeMenufunction()closes the menu
      openMenufunction()opens the menu
      selectItemfunction(item: any)selects the given item
      setHighlightedIndexfunction(index: number)call to set a new highlighted index
      setInputValuefunction(value: string)call to set a new value in the input
      toggleMenufunction()toggle the menu open state
      resetfunction()this resets downshift's state to a reasonable default

      State#

      These are values that represent the current state of the downshift component.

      propertytypedescription
      highlightedIndexnumberthe currently highlighted item
      isOpenbooleanthe menu open state
      selectedItemanythe currently selected item input
      inputValuestringthe value in the input

      Support

      If you need support, please open a new issue in our GitHub repository. Please try to provide as much detail as possible in your issue.

      Contributing

      The Paste design system is open source and contributions are welcome. Check out the project on GitHub to learn more about contributing.

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