What is componentDidMount in React and when is it used?
`componentDidMount` is one of React’s lifecycle methods specific to class-based components. As its name suggests, this method is invoked immediately after a component has been inserted, or “mounted”, into the DOM. It belongs to the mounting phase of a component’s lifecycle, and it gets executed only once during this phase, making it an ideal spot for one-time setup operations.
A common use case for `componentDidMount` is initiating network requests, such as fetching data from an API. Since the component is guaranteed to be fully integrated into the DOM when this method runs, developers can confidently interact with or reference the DOM or schedule updates, knowing that the component and its children have been rendered properly.
Another frequent application of `componentDidMount` is setting up subscriptions or event listeners. For instance, if a component needs to listen for window resizing events or set up an interval timer, `componentDidMount` is the place to do it. Correspondingly, any listeners or subscriptions established here should be cleaned up in the `componentWillUnmount` method to prevent memory leaks or unintended side effects.
Furthermore, `componentDidMount` can be used to integrate non-React libraries that need access to the DOM, ensuring that they operate on elements that have been rendered.
While the emergence of Hooks in React has introduced alternative ways to handle side effects in functional components, primarily through the `useEffect` hook, `componentDidMount` remains a fundamental and widely-used method in class components. It provides developers with a reliable and structured way to perform actions right after the initial render, ensuring that the component is fully prepared for subsequent interactions or updates.
`componentDidMount` offers a clear and dependable checkpoint in the lifecycle of class components, ensuring that initialization and setup operations occur at the optimal moment.