Dark Mode with (P)React

Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Tags: tailwind javascript

There are three basic parts to this.

  1. Adding or removing a dark class from the <html> tag (Tailwind-style).
  2. Saving that preference in localStorage.
  3. Changing the mode in real time as different options are selected or the system’s mode changes.

Let’s start by loading the setting if it’s already set in localStorage. Put the following somewhere in the <head> of your document so there hopefully won’t be any flash of a different mode when the page loads. Just some basic vanilla JavaScript so far…

<script>
if ('theme' in localStorage) {
document.documentElement.classList.add(localStorage.theme);

if (window.matchMedia('(prefers-color-scheme: dark)').matches && localStorage.theme === 'system') {
document.documentElement.classList.add('dark');
}
}
</script>

This will add whatever the theme option is as a class on the <html> tag and an additional dark class if the person’s system is set to that mode and they’ve chosen the system option.

Now we’ll work in the component file of your choice. Let’s create some hooks to store and update as needed.

const [darkMode, setDarkMode] = useState(null);
const [systemMode, setSystemMode] = useState(null);

Now let’s create a way for someone to choose the option they want. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to create the little icon components I’m using here (they’re just thin wrappers around SVGs).

<div class="js-only">
<button onClick={() => handleModeChange({dark: false, system: false})}>
<Sun selected={(!darkMode && !systemMode)} />
</button>
<button onClick={() => handleModeChange({dark: true, system: false})}>
<Moon selected={(darkMode && !systemMode)} />
</button>
<button onClick={() => handleModeChange({system: true})}>
<Computer selected={(systemMode)} />
</button>
</div>

Now for the tricky bit. Let’s update things as needed, including when someone changes their system preferences and the system option is selected.

const handleModeChange = ({ dark, system }) => {
setDarkMode(dark);
setSystemMode(system);

if (system) {
localStorage.theme = 'system';
document.documentElement.className = localStorage.theme;
if (window.matchMedia('(prefers-color-scheme: dark)').matches) {
document.documentElement.classList.add('dark');
}
} else {
localStorage.theme = (dark) ? 'dark' : 'light';
document.documentElement.className = localStorage.theme;
}
};

useEffect(() => {
if (localStorage.theme === 'system') {
setSystemMode(true);
} else {
setSystemMode(false);
setDarkMode((localStorage.theme === 'dark'));
}

window.matchMedia('(prefers-color-scheme: dark)').addEventListener('change', (e) => {
if (localStorage.theme === 'system') {
if (e.matches) {
document.documentElement.classList.add('dark');
} else {
document.documentElement.classList.remove('dark');
}
}
});

jsReady();
}, []);

Note that the [] at the end of that useEffect means that it will only run on the initial page load.


Bonus progressive enhancement

The jsReady() function and js-only class are to hide this whole thing if JS isn’t enabled. Since I’m using Astro, I can hydrate the page on load if JS is available and then show this UI.

In a Tailwind-ified CSS file (I don’t think you’ll have problems extrapolating the plain CSS for this)…

@layer utilities {
/* Other stuff… */

.js-only { @apply hidden; }
}

Then somewhere in a utility JS file…

const jsReady = () => {
// Show things that only work with JS.
document.querySelectorAll('.js-only').forEach((element) => {
element.classList.remove('js-only');
});
};