barnaby keene • @southclaws

How to diagnose Hydration failed

This happens when the server renders one tree and the client hydrates to a different tree.

Hydration failed because the initial UI does not match what was rendered on the server

The most common tutorials and even the Next.js docs talk about useEffect and mistakes relating to client/server code around interactive components.

One of the lesser talked about causes of this is invalid HTML. Which is actually the #1 item in the list on Next.js docs.

Why does invalid HTML cause this error?

Basically, browsers are really lenient about what they will render. So if you have invalid HTML, the browser will not try to fix it for you but it will try to render it for you.

But the Next.js server also pre-processes the static HTML that's delivered on the server render. When it does, it seems to clean up mistakes like this. When it finds a \<p\> nested within a \<p\> for example, it simply moves the child to a sibling.

For example, this is the resulting HTML rendered in the browser from a mistake I made in the Storyden codebase where I nested a button inside a menu trigger which is already a button:

<button id="menu::R9mnnnjbqkq::trigger">
  <button class="button">

This is quite easy to find, React tells you with a nice message:

Warning: Expected server HTML to contain a matching <button> in <button>.

And the reason this causes the hydration error is because this issue is actually "fixed" automatically on the server render. If you disable javascript in your browser and render the nested button, you'll see:

<button id="menu::R9mnnnjbqkq::trigger"></button>
<button class="button">

The child button (the one with the class) has been shifted out of the parent button and is now a sibling. It's also a sibling with no children so if you rendered this, it would be invisible. However, it can cause layout issues because if these buttons are inside a grid or a flex container then, as children, they will contribute to layout calculations.

Ark menus

A side note about Ark menus.

In moving from Chakra to Ark, I ran in to a couple of instances where I forgot to mark a trigger as a child component. If you don't add asChild, then MenuTrigger in the below example becomes a \<button\> and obviously \<MoreAction /\> is a button already so you end up with a nested button.

Make sure you add the asChild prop if you're using an existing component as a button.

- <MenuTrigger>
+ <MenuTrigger asChild>
    <MoreAction />

In Storyden, I don't construct icon-buttons ad-hoc, instead I keep them all in one place and use them as components. This keeps naming consistent and makes it easier to re-use semantically similar actions throughout the product. A "More" menu in the above example is always the same behaviour, appearance, ARIA roles, etc. and I can change it app-wide if I want.