What are fragments?
Fragments in React are a powerful yet somewhat understated feature, allowing developers to group multiple elements without adding any extra nodes to the DOM. Traditionally in React, if you needed to return multiple elements from a component, you’d have to wrap them in a parent container, often a `<div>`. While this approach works, it can introduce unnecessary clutter into the rendered output, and in some cases, interfere with CSS styles and layouts.
React Fragments come to the rescue in such scenarios. They let you bundle multiple children without adding a new DOM element to the wrapping layer. This has several benefits: It keeps the rendered output cleaner, can lead to minor performance improvements since there’s one less DOM node to manage, and prevents potential disruptions to layout and styling.
The syntax for Fragments is concise. You can use the `<React.Fragment>` tag to encapsulate multiple elements, but a shorthand syntax, which is just an empty set of angle brackets `<>…</>`, is also available and is frequently preferred due to its brevity.
For example, instead of wrapping two sibling elements inside a `<div>`, you can wrap them inside a Fragment, ensuring that only those sibling elements get rendered directly, without any surrounding container.
Another notable benefit of Fragments is their use in tables. In HTML, certain elements expect specific child elements. For instance, a `<tr>` expects `<td>` or `<th>` as direct children. Fragments allow you to group multiple table rows or cells together without violating this expectation.
React Fragments provide a lightweight and efficient way to return multiple elements from a component without adding unnecessary nodes to the DOM. They maintain a cleaner output, offer performance benefits, and adhere to the structural expectations of certain HTML elements.