16 September 2019


Off-main-thread React Redux with Performance

Run Redux in Web Workers
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It is said that Redux has been overused in some use cases and React context+hooks plays well in such use cases. While I agree with it, Redux should work well in some other situations. Redux should help developing larger apps with many developers. Various libraries in Redux ecosystem should accelerate development. There’s another situation in which Redux may help, and that is Web Workers.

A while back, Surma posted a nice blog post: React + Redux + Comlink = Off-main-thread

Redux itself is independent from the UI thing, it should be easy and reasonable to run Redux in a web worker. The blog post shows the proof-of-concept code with comlink.

However, this PoC code doesn’t perform well with React. Let me quote a note from the blog post.

Note: It was pointed out to me on Twitter that by moving Redux to a worker every state change will cause the creation of a new copy due to structured cloning. This can be bad as it will cause React to rerender the entire app instead of just the elements whose state properties that have changed. While I didn’t solve this problem in this blog post, I did talk about a solution in my previous blog post in the “Patching” section.

I was so interested in fixing this problem that I can’t help myself stopping developing a new library.


My library is called “redux-in-worker.” There are so many similar libraries in npm. I hope this library name makes sense.


It works as a simple wrapper to a Redux store.

In your worker file, you create and expose a store like this:

// store.worker.js

import { createStore } from 'redux';
import { exposeStore } from 'redux-in-worker';

const reducer = ...;
const store = createStore(reducer);


In your app file, you wrap the worker to get a normal store.

// app.js

import React from 'react';
import { Provider } from 'react-redux';
import { wrapStore } from 'redux-in-worker';

const initialState = ...;
const worker = new Worker('./store.worker', { type: 'module' });
const store = wrapStore(worker, initialState);

const App = () => (
  <Provider store={store}>

There’s one caveat that you need to explicitly specify initialState. This is because the worker acts asynchronously and we need the initialState before the worker becomes ready and pushes the real initialState.

For those who are interested in the implementation, I encourage them to read the source code which is rather small.

There are some notes to clarify the implementation details:

  • I didn’t use comlink because Redux is not RPC and it is basically asynchronous by nature.
  • I didn’t use immer-like patches because it may not work in edge cases and we don’t need it as we can depend on Redux’s immutability contract.
  • Hence, there’s no proxies involved, and the implementation is very simple.

The current implementation should be performant enough thanks to the immutability. Proxy-based implementation might or might not perform better, but we will see it in the future if someone is interested.


Now, that brings us to benchmarking.

We use js-framework-benchmark. There’s already a benchmark “react-redux-hooks” and I converted it with redux-in-worker as “react-redux-hooks-worker.”

Here’s the result.


At a glance, there’s little difference. It is very good because it means the overhead of diffing, postMessage, and patching is comparably low in this scenario.

You may notice “script bootup time” increases a bit.

Interestingly, “creating 1,000 rows” is faster with redux-in-worker, and “creating 10,000 rows” is slower obviously. (I have another experiment which shows creating many items slows down.)

Closing notes

Off-main-thread Redux is relatively easy, but there are some hurdles in practice when it comes to React Redux. The most notable one would be redux-thunk which is often used in many React Redux apps and Redux Starter Kit. Because we can’t dispatch functions to a worker, thunks simply don’t work. Another difficulty is DOM-based middleware, such as connected-react-router. Personally, I would suggest to move DOM-related state from Redux to React local state or context. But that won’t happen overnight, and there’re so many existing apps and best practices.

Lastly, in terms of off-main-thead React Redux, the portion of Redux is typically smaller than React. There has been several experiments for off-main-thread React renders, which I think is a very interesting idea. But it is not trivial. I don’t know if any of them reach the point to work practically. As a final note, React team seems to push concurrent mode rather than web workers.

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