Monday, April 9, 2018

Upgrading SPFx React from 1.1.0 to 1.4.0 build errors

Hey guys,

I've been playing with my SPFx demo project (code here on GitHub) getting ready for my session @SPSTC when I decided perhaps its time to upgrade one of my demo web parts to SPFx version 1.4.0 while keeping the other one in 1.1.0 so that I can discuss the upgrade process.

The upgrade process is, as I stated many times, a very tedious and hard manual work - and VERY error prone and time consuming.

Here are a few notes I gathered from this upgrade that I'd like to share - join my session to get the full picture!

Following this article as my base-line:
There are a few things that went wrong here...

React versions

If you follow this guide, it says to run npm outdated and get all packages to the latest versions. Well, that simply is bad advice since when it comes to the react packaged - you should get the same version that the Microsoft packages are using. This is not explained anywhere - you just end up with hundreds of errors in your gulp command with no clue why they are there or how to fix them. I simply went into the Microsoft packages and saw they were using these versions so I used the same:
  • "@types/react": "15.6.6"
  • "@types/react-dom": "15.5.6"
  • "react": "15.6.2"
  • "react-dom": "15.6.2"
That brought down the errors count to 1. Sounds simple? Not so much...

React createComponent error

See, in my web part demo that was built on version 1.1.0 of SPFx - the react component class was declared as:
export default class ReactWebPart extends React.Component<IReactWebPartProps, void>
In the web part class, it was used in this code:
      const element: React.ReactElement<IReactWebPartProps> = React.createElement<IReactWebPartProps>(
          userName: Utilities.GetUserName(this.context as any),
          license: licenseMessage,
which, in turn, produced this error message:
Error - typescript - src/webparts/reactWebPart/ReactWebPartWebPart.ts(27,8): error TS2345: Argument of type 'typeof ReactWebPart' is not assignable to parameter of type 'string | ComponentClass<IReactWebPartProps> | StatelessComponent<IReactWebPartProps>'.
Error - 'typescript' sub task errored after 4.49 s
 TypeScript error(s) occurred.
So, we checked the typescript version we were running, all the npm modules dependencies and versions - they all seemed to check out.
We went with our favorite way for fixing SPFx versioning issues:
We created a new sample SPFx React web part, and if that one (hopefully) compiles - we compare the two.

In our case, since this is a sample component without a lot of code - it was easier to find the difference between the two.
In the new project, the react component class is defined with one difference:
export default class ReactWebPart extends React.Component<IReactWebPartProps, {}>
See, the "void" that was sent in as the react state was changed to an empty object.

This made the error go away and now our project compiles with no problem. Yay!

I can't help but feeling SPFx tooling still has a long way to go before it will be adopted by the mass development community. It can get pretty frustrating every time you have to move computers or upgrade versions to the point that it is just scary and unpredictable.

That said - I have to admit it is brilliant, fast and fun to build on when you get it to compile. So - I'm keeping my hopes up for this platform.

I will continue to provide this feedback to the team @Microsoft, which are doing a great job at listening for feedback, but please also share your experience in the comments below, on their GitHub project  or by voting on user voice requests.

Here is a link to the GitHub with this project in case you want to see the code changes during the upgrade:

Hope this helps,
Funny thing... not 5 minutes after posting this, I went back to my demo and run gulp. Guess what? It errored out. This time showing this strange error:
[17:53:08] Error - Unknown
 Cannot find module 'typescript'
Guess what worked this time to fix this? delete node_modules folder and running npm install again...