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This is Yak Shaving

I sat down to write about a rendering technique I use to quickly wrap random D3 code in React components. I call them "blackbox components" because they're a black box.

It's already a chapter in React+D3v4 and a CodePen. How hard can it be to write a post?

Then I thought, ”This is dumb. People shouldn't keep rewriting this. It should be an npm module.”

So I started making a library.

Then I remembered that compiling libraries sucks.

So I went to copy config files from an old transition library I did. But the files were old and out of date. Possibly copied from a 0.2.x version of create-react-app.


So I looked for a create-react-lib because the -app version creates too much stuff that libraries don't need. Like all the setup for index.html and assets and webpack dev and webpack prod and eslint and jest and a default app page and…

Couldn't find one. Used create-react-app, ejected, copied config files, removed the parts I don't need.

30 minutes in: no post, no library, but I’ve got the config I need to get started.

So I copied the code from CodePen and cleaned it up and added some imports and exports. Made it Real Code™.

Then I thought, "You know, this technique can work for things that aren't SVG. There's plenty of stuff people might wanna use."

So I added a version that uses <div> instead of <g>.

Then I compiled. node_modules/babel-cli/bin/babel.js src --out-dir lib. It worked! ?

Now, how do I test this? ?

So I started writing an example project. Create react app and all of that. npm link to use unpublished library. Neat trick, that.

I started with the same axis example from CodePen. import BlackboxSvgHOC, use it to make an Axis component, render in an <svg>.

Error. Files not found.

Investigate, find a typo in the filename, fix, reload, renders default React app.

Waitaminute! Where's my example axis? How am I gonna add more awesome examples if I can't even load an axis?

Sigh. There's a nasty error in the console. Pretty sure I've never seen that one before.

How do you even debug that? ?

So I went to play Dirt3 for 20 minutes. To regain focus, ya know.

Then I wrote this story. And I wish I was kidding, but it took me an hour. Twitter is distracting.

3 hours after I started: no article, no library, no working code, no example project.

This is yak shaving. Don't do this.

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Published on January 27th, 2017 in Writing

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