December 16, 2018

643 words 4 mins read



The best way to build animation compositions for React.

repo name jondot/react-flight
repo link
language JavaScript
size (curr.) 3147 kB
stars (curr.) 2731
created 2017-06-15
license MIT License

The best way to build animation compositions for React. Design and compose a component to start with, a component to end with, and Flight will take it from there.

Flight tries to be for React what Principle is for Sketch compositions - the fastest, most friction free way to compose and an effortless way to animate an idea, an interaction, or a short movie-like composition in a self-contained widget (a React component after all).

Check out the new video: React Flight in Three Minutes

Quick Start (From Scratch)

Just clone and use the example, built around create-react-app:

$ git clone
$ cd react-flight/examples/compos
$ yarn && yarn start

Quick Start (Existing Project)

With yarn (or npm):

$ yarn add react-flight
$ curl -o src/anim.js

And now you can frame your compositions in anim.js, require and place it in any other React component.


  1. Add jQuery (or Zepto, or any jQuery drop-in) if you don’t have it already in the project.
  2. Or if you use create-react-app you can add it to your public/index.html, like here, or eject and configure webpack for jQuery.

NOTE: jQuery is currently a requirement of one of react-flight’s dependencies. We plan to rebuild that dependency any way, obsoleting this requirement in the process (also: PRs accepted!).


When you’re designing compositions, focus on designing frames. The first frame is marked source because that’s the starting point, and interactive because you want to play with it while you go.

  <Flight interactive ref={flight => (this.flight = flight)}>
    <Flight.Frame duration={300} source interactive showFrames>

Showing Frames

While designing, you want to have showFrames on. It will unpack all of the frames in front of you, so you could edit them while watching them. With Webpack hot-reload this becomes a fantastic experience.

When done, remove showFrames.

Controlling Flight Directly

This is where the ref addition comes in:

  <Flight interactive ref={flight => (this.flight = flight)}>
    <Flight.Frame duration={300} source interactive showFrames>

Once you can grab an instance of flight you can and flight.reset() on demand from your own components and actions.

Here’s a full layout:

  <Flight interactive ref={flight => (this.flight = flight)}>
    <Flight.Frame duration={300} source interactive showFrames>

      -- your own DOM / React Components ---
      -- starting position and styles    ---



      -- your own DOM / React Components ---
      -- ending position and styles    ---



If you’re using Redux, there’s basic support for it. Basic in the sense that react-flight is not going to handle deep renders of a stateful app with all its gotchas, so YMMV.

You can check out this Redux example for a fully working solution.

For your app, you can enable Redux support by indicating inclusion of store before using the Flight component:

Flight.contextTypes = {
  store: PropTypes.object,

Flight.childContextTypes = {
  store: PropTypes.object,

Under the Hood

If you want to hack on react-flight, here are some context to keep in mind.

react-flight does some cool stuff and some DOM-heavy stuff (perhaps less cool?). For the cool stuff, it walks the component tree, makes decisions about what should move where, and builds a clean and nice declarative data structure that represents the way compositions should behave.

Currently it will then hand over this data to a DOM-based adapter, that also uses Velocity.js, so that it would actually orchestrate the animations. This is where you’re welcome to plug in your own adapter - another animation engine, React Native, and what not.

Happy hacking!


Fork, implement, add tests, pull request, get my everlasting thanks and a respectable place here :).


To all Contributors - you make this happen, thanks!


Copyright (c) 2017 Dotan Nahum @jondot. See LICENSE for further details.

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