Event target is null inside functional setState

Imagine below function of some component:

handleInputChange(e) {
    // let val = e.target.value; - if I uncomment this, it works.

    // Update text box value
    this.setState(function (prevState, props) {
        return {
          searchValue: e.target.value,
        }
    })
}

and textbox, which is rendered by a child component of above component, and receives handleInputChange as props:

<input type="text" onChange={that.props.handleInputChange} value={that.props.searchValue} />

When I enter something in text field I get error that Cannot read property 'value' of null.

If I uncomment the first line inside handleInputChange function, where I store text box value inside val variable, it works well. Ideas why?

Answers:

Answer

That is because of React doing event pooling - all the event's fields get nullified after the callback is done, so you observe them as nulls in the asynchronous setState callback.

Please copy your event data to a variable or call event.persist() to disable this behavior.

handleInputChange(e) {
  e.persist();

  this.setState(function (prevState, props) {
      return {
        searchValue: e.target.value,
      }
  })
}

Or:

handleInputChange(e) {
  const val = e.target.value;

  this.setState(function (prevState, props) {
      return {
        searchValue: val
      }
  })
}

Please see the following example:

class Example extends React.Component {
  constructor() {
    super()
    this.state = { }
  }
  
  handleInputChangeCopy = (e) => {   
    const val = e.target.value;
    
    console.log('in callback');
    console.log(e.target.value);
    
    this.setState(function (prevState, props) {
        console.log('in async callback');
        console.log(val);
        
        return {
          searchValue: val
        }
    })
  }
  
  handleInputChangePersist = (e) => {
    e.persist();
    console.log('in callback');
    console.log(e.target.value);
    
    this.setState(function (prevState, props) {
        console.log('in async callback');
        console.log({ isNull: e.target === null })
        
        console.log(e.target.value);
        
        return {
          searchValue: e.target.value
        }
    })
  }
  
  handleInputChange = (e) => {
    console.log('in callback');
    console.log(e.target.value);
    
    this.setState(function (prevState, props) {
        console.log('in async callback');
        
        console.log({ isNull: e.target === null })
        console.log({ event: e });
        
        console.log(e.target.value);
        
        return {
            searchValue: e.target.value
        }
    })
  }
  
  render() {
    return (
    <div>
      <div>Copy example</div>
      <input 
        type="text"
        onChange={this.handleInputChangeCopy} 
      />
      
      <p>Persist example</p>
      <input 
        type="text"
        onChange={this.handleInputChangePersist} 
      />
      
      <p>Original example - please note nullified fields of the event in the async callback. <small>Breaks the example, please re-run after a Script error</small></p>
      <input 
        type="text"
        onChange={this.handleInputChange} 
      />

      <div style={{height: 300}} />
    </div>
    )
  }
}

ReactDOM.render(
  <Example searchValue={"test"} />,
  document.getElementById('app')
)
<script src="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/react/15.1.0/react.min.js"></script>
<script src="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/react/15.1.0/react-dom.min.js"></script>
<div id="app"></div>

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