Incorporating Vanilla JS/TS with React TanStack Table for Enhanced Functionality

Anton Ioffe - March 6th 2024 - 10 minutes read

In the rapidly evolving landscape of modern web development, the harmonious integration of foundational technologies like Vanilla JavaScript/TypeScript with cutting-edge libraries such as React TanStack Table represents a quantum leap in creating highly efficient, scalable, and maintainable applications. This article ventures deep into the nexus of these powerful tools, unveiling how their cohesive application can revolutionize the way developers approach building web applications. From setting up a robust development environment, navigating through the intricacies of integration techniques, sidestepping common pitfalls, to mastering advanced optimizations and culminating in a hands-on practical project, we will guide you through a journey that promises to elevate your skills to new heights. Whether you are looking to enhance functionality, improve performance, or simply explore the synergies between Vanilla JS/TS and React TanStack Table, this comprehensive exploration is tailored for senior-level developers seeking to push the boundaries of what's possible in web development.

Understanding the Foundations of Vanilla JS/TS and React TanStack Table

Vanilla JavaScript (JS) and TypeScript (TS) stand as the foundational pillars upon which modern web development is constructed. JS, being the scripting language of the Web, enables developers to implement complex features on web pages. TypeScript, on the other hand, is a superset of JavaScript that introduces static typing, making it easier to write more robust code and maintain large-scale applications. Both are instrumental in developing responsive, interactive web applications. While JS provides the immediacy of reflecting changes on the web UI, TS brings a layer of type safety and predictability that significantly reduces runtime errors.

The React TanStack Table library, formerly known as React Table, represents a headless UI toolkit specifically designed for building complex, interactive data tables and grids. It stands out in the landscape of front-end development tools for its "headless" nature - meaning it provides the core functionality of a table or grid without dictating the UI. This offers developers unparalleled flexibility in crafting the look and feel of their data presentation components, enabling the creation of highly custom and performant tables that can seamlessly integrate into any design system.

In the context of modern web development projects, the utilization of Vanilla JS or TS in conjunction with React TanStack Table opens up a myriad of possibilities. Vanilla JS/TS serves as the vehicle for implementing dynamic functionality and handling the logical aspects of web applications, such as manipulating data or performing API calls. When it comes to representing this data in a structured, interactive format, React TanStack Table steps in to provide the necessary scaffolding for building data tables without imposing limitations on design or function.

The strength of Vanilla JS/TS lies in its ubiquity and simplicity, allowing for quick prototyping and flexibility in development. TypeScript further builds on this by adding static typing, which is particularly beneficial in large, complex projects where maintaining code quality and predictability becomes crucial. On the other hand, the React TanStack Table excels in offering a high degree of customizability and performance optimizations for data rendering, something that is increasingly important in data-intensive applications.

Understanding the distinct features and strengths of both Vanilla JavaScript/TypeScript and React TanStack Table is crucial for developers aiming to leverage these technologies in modern web development. While Vanilla JS/TS dictates how data is manipulated and managed behind the scenes, React TanStack Table focuses on the efficient, flexible presentation of this data in the UI. This foundational knowledge sets the stage for successfully integrating the two, enabling the creation of web applications that are not only functionally rich but also visually engaging and responsive.

Setting Up the Environment for Integration

To kickstart the development environment that marries the utility of Vanilla JS/TS with the potent data management capabilities of React's TanStack Table, the preliminary step involves the establishment of a React project configured to support TypeScript. Initiating this setup can be achieved by utilizing create-react-app, a widely recognized bootstrapping tool for React applications. One can streamline this process through the command line by executing npx create-react-app my-app --template typescript, which scaffolds a new React project named my-app with TypeScript pre-configured. This step sets a solid foundation, ensuring that the environment is primed for the integration of Vanilla JS/TS and React-specific libraries.

Following the project setup, the next crucial step is to incorporate the TanStack Table library into the project. This can be accomplished by running npm install react-table within the project directory. TanStack Table, renowned for its headless UI approach, provides developers with the flexibility to create custom table components tailored to their specific needs while leveraging React's efficient rendering capabilities. The installation process connects the project with an extensive toolkit designed for crafting sophisticated data grids and tables, setting the stage for advanced data management and display functionalities.

With the project and TanStack Table library in place, it becomes imperative to configure the build tools to effortlessly handle the incorporation of Vanilla JS/TS within the React ecosystem. A key aspect of this configuration involves adjusting the TypeScript compiler options in the tsconfig.json file to ensure compatibility and optimal compiling of the mixed codebase. Tweaks such as enabling allowJs can facilitate the seamless integration of JavaScript files into the TypeScript-project, thereby harmonizing the coexistence of both scripting languages within the same development environment.

To solidify the environment's readiness, a basic configuration can be tested by creating a simple React component that utilizes TanStack Table hooks. For instance, a functional component that implements useTable from TanStack Table can serve as a tangible verification of the successful integration. This component would typically encapsulate the logic for rendering a data table, leveraging hooks such as getTableProps and getTableBodyProps to dynamically generate table markup based on provided data and columns configuration.

import React from 'react';
import { useTable } from 'react-table';

const BasicTable = ({ columns, data }) => {
  const {
  } = useTable({

  return (
    <table {...getTableProps()}>
        { => (
          <tr {...headerGroup.getHeaderGroupProps()}>
            { => (
              <th {...column.getHeaderProps()}>{column.render('Header')}</th>
      <tbody {...getTableBodyProps()}>
        { => {
          return (
            <tr {...row.getRowProps()}>
              { => (
                <td {...cell.getCellProps()}>{cell.render('Cell')}</td>

export default BasicTable;

This rudimentary component exemplifies the integration's first fruits, allowing developers to press forward, confident in the efficacy of their setup. By meticulously following these steps, developers can cultivate an environment ripe for the sophisticated integration of Vanilla JS/TS functionalities within a React project leveraging the dynamic capabilities of the TanStack Table library.

Bridging Vanilla JS/TS with React TanStack Table - Methods and Practices

Integrating Vanilla JavaScript or TypeScript (JS/TS) functionalities within a React project, especially when using TanStack Table, requires thoughtful consideration of performance, memory usage, and ease of maintenance. One approach involves creating custom hooks in Vanilla JS/TS for data fetching operations. These hooks not only encapsulate the logic required to interact with APIs but also provide a clear separation of concerns. This method enhances modularity and reusability, as these hooks can be used across different React components. An example of this would be a useFetchData hook that abstracts away the fetching logic, error handling, and state management related to retrieving table data.

function useFetchData(url) {
    const [data, setData] = useState(null);
    const [loading, setLoading] = useState(true);
    const [error, setError] = useState(null);

    useEffect(() => {
        const fetchData = async () => {
            try {
                const response = await fetch(url);
                const json = await response.json();
            } catch (error) {
            } finally {

    }, [url]);

    return { data, loading, error };

Incorporating such hooks within React components that leverage TanStack Table is straightforward. By passing the fetched data to the table's data prop and dynamically rendering UI based on the loading and error state, developers can create a seamless user experience. Importantly, this approach significantly improves performance and memory usage by avoiding unnecessary re-renders and fetching operations, thanks to React's efficient handling of state changes and effect hooks.

Another important method is creating custom utility functions in JS/TS for tasks such as sorting and filtering data on the client side. While TanStack Table provides hooks for managing sorting state, executing these operations in vanilla JS/TS can offer more control and potentially better performance for complex datasets. Critical to this approach is ensuring these utility functions are pure and side-effect-free to avoid unexpected behavior and facilitate easier debugging and maintenance.

function sortData(data, accessor, direction) {
    return data.slice().sort((a, b) => {
        if (a[accessor] < b[accessor]) return direction === 'ascending' ? -1 : 1;
        if (a[accessor] > b[accessor]) return direction === 'ascending' ? 1 : -1;
        return 0;

However, common coding mistakes when bridging Vanilla JS/TS with React TanStack Table include overlooking the memoization of handlers and not properly managing the state, leading to excessive data processing and rerenders. For instance, passing an un-memoized sorting function directly into a component can cause the sort operation to run more often than necessary.

// Incorrect
const sortedData = sortData(data, 'name', 'ascending');

// Correct
const sortedData = useMemo(() => sortData(data, 'name', 'ascending'), [data]);

To provoke thought, consider how leveraging TypeScript more effectively within custom hooks and utility functions can further enhance type safety and developer experience. How might the explicit typing of function return values and arguments prevent common runtime errors associated with data manipulation in large-scale applications?

Common Pitfalls and Advanced Techniques

One frequent integration mistake between Vanilla JS/TS and React TanStack Table is neglecting the optimization of rendering performance, particularly when handling large datasets. A common pitfall is the failure to utilize React's memoization hooks (useMemo and useCallback) properly. This oversight can lead to needless re-renders and sluggish UIs. For instance, not memoizing the columns and data can cause the table to re-render unnecessarily on every parent component update. The corrected approach involves wrapping these structures with useMemo:

const data = React.useMemo(() => myData, [myData]);
const columns = React.useMemo(() => myColumns, [myColumns]);

Another error developers often encounter is inefficient memory management, particularly with callbacks in event handlers. For example, defining a function within a component's render method without using useCallback leads to the creation of a new function instance on each render, which, when passed as a prop, can trigger child component re-renders. The solution is to wrap such functions with useCallback:

const handleRowClick = React.useCallback((row) => {/*...*/}, []);

An advanced technique to further optimize performance is implementing server-side operations like pagination, sorting, and filtering. This approach minimizes the amount of data sent to the client, thus reducing the load on the browser. However, developers often incorrectly manage the state or forget to sync the UI with the current state of data on the server. This inconsistency can be mitigated by correctly setting up the useEffect hook to fetch data based on the current state (e.g., page index, sort parameters) and ensuring the UI components are properly updated to reflect these states.

In large datasets, another nuanced but crucial aspect is the effective rendering of cells and rows. Custom cell renderers are powerful but if overused or misused, they can significantly degrade performance. A better practice is to use simple and efficient cell renderers, reserving complex custom renderers for specific cases where they provide substantial value. Furthermore, utilizing the built-in 'windowing' or 'virtualization' techniques, which only render the DOM elements in view, can massively boost performance.

Finally, a subtle yet recurring mistake is the inadequate handling of asynchronous data fetching and state updates which can lead to race conditions or memory leaks. For instance, triggering a data fetch inside a useEffect without cancelling the operation if the component unmounts before the fetch completes can cause such issues. Implementing clean-up functions within useEffect to cancel the operation can resolve this:

React.useEffect(() => {
    const controller = new AbortController();
    fetchData({ signal: controller.signal });
    return () => controller.abort();
}, [fetchData]);

By comparing these flawed approaches with the best practices, developers can gain a deeper understanding of common issues and their solutions, enhancing their capability to build highly performant and robust applications using Vanilla JS/TS and React TanStack Table.

Building a Sample Project: A Practical Application

To practically implement the concepts discussed, we'll embark on building a real-world application that marries the simplicity and flexibility of Vanilla JS/TS with the power of React TanStack Table. This project will serve as a concrete example of how to integrate advanced table functionalities like sorting, filtering, and pagination into a React application using custom Vanilla JS/TS code. By dissecting our code choices through comments, we aim to highlight the impact on performance, modularity, and reusability, showcasing the best practices for constructing a robust and efficient application.

The foundation of our application begins with the structuring of a React component for our table. Utilizing the useTable hook from React TanStack Table, we structure our table's basic UI. The real magic happens as we weave in custom Vanilla JS/TS logic for sorting and filtering data. For instance, we implement a custom sorting function that leverages the JavaScript sort() and localeCompare() methods, enhancing it with TypeScript for added type safety and utilizing it within the context of useSortBy from React TanStack Table for an integrated solution.

Pagination functionality, often a cumbersome feature to implement effectively, will be handled through a combination of React TanStack's usePagination hook and custom Vanilla JS/TS code. This approach allows us to manage the complexity of server-side pagination logic while maintaining a smooth and responsive client-side experience. Special attention is paid to minimizing re-renders and optimizing performance, employing techniques such as memoization via React's useMemo and debouncing pagination API calls.

Throughout the building process, we carefully comment on our code to elucidate decisions related to performance optimizations, the rationale behind the choice of React hooks, and the integration of Vanilla JS/TS. We address common pitfalls, such as the improper handling of asynchronous operations leading to race conditions or memory leaks, providing solid solutions and alternatives. Our comments serve not only as a guide but also to provoke thought on alternative approaches and the underlying principles of web development.

In culmination, the application emerges as a cohesive, fully functional example of how to skillfully blend the strengths of Vanilla JS/TS with React TanStack Table to build advanced data-driven UIs. This project does not only serve as a testament to the discussed best practices but also as a versatile blueprint for developers to adapt and expand upon in their own complex applications. Through this comprehensive guide, readers are equipped not only with the knowledge to implement such functionality but also with the insight to make informed decisions optimizing their applications for performance, readability, and maintainability.


This article explores the integration of Vanilla JavaScript/TypeScript with the React TanStack Table library for enhanced functionality in modern web development. It delves into the foundations of both technologies, provides guidance on setting up the development environment, and offers methods and practices for bridging Vanilla JS/TS with React TanStack Table. The article highlights common pitfalls and advanced techniques for optimizing performance and addresses the challenges of efficiently rendering large datasets and handling asynchronous data fetching. The reader is also invited to build a practical application that combines Vanilla JS/TS and React TanStack Table, showcasing the integration of advanced table functionalities and providing valuable insights for building robust and efficient web applications.

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