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The Single Responsibility Principle: Lessons from React and Factorio for Clean Design and Data Flow Management

Apr 13, 24

Exploring the principle of sole responsibility through React and the Factorio game, learning about optimization and efficiency.

The Single Responsibility Principle: Lessons from React and Factorio for Clean Design and Data Flow Management

A brief explanation of the Single Responsibility Principle (SRP) in the context of programming:

In the world of programming, project complexity can grow exponentially. In such conditions, maintaining clean and understandable code ceases to be merely a desire—it becomes a critically important necessity. One of the key principles aimed at achieving this goal is the Single Responsibility Principle (SRP), which is part of the fundamental SOLID principles in object-oriented programming.

What is SRP?

Every module, class, or function in a program should have one and only one reason to change.

SRP states

This means that each entity should be responsible for only one aspect of the program's functionality and be independent of other components. This principle aims to:

  • Reduce the interdependence of program components.
  • Simplify testing and facilitate subsequent refactoring.

Example from life

Suppose we have a content management system (CMS) for a culinary blog. According to SRP, individual components of the system should include:

  1. Article management
  2. Comment management
  3. User settings management

By dividing functionalities into independent parts, we avoid creating a monolithic class that handles everything at once. This simplifies the development of each part of the system separately and allows making changes in one area without risking inadvertently affecting another.

Practical application

Applying SRP in practice requires a deep understanding of the domain and close collaboration with the client or end-user to clearly define the boundaries of responsibility. The time and effort invested are repaid with simplified maintenance and project development in the long run.

Introduction to React and Factorio as Tools for Demonstrating SRP

As a result, looking at development through the lens of React, we find that this framework not only supports but actively encourages adherence to the Single Responsibility Principle. In particular, React's component-based approach aligns perfectly with the concept of SRP, providing developers with a powerful tool for creating maintainable and scalable applications.

The Importance of SRP in React

Let's delve into the Single Responsibility Principle in the context of React. Based on SRP, each component in React should be responsible for a single task and be independent of other components. This significantly simplifies the development process and subsequent testing because changes in one component rarely necessitate adjustments in others.

Furthermore, adhering to SRP in React promotes code reusability. Components that handle only one task are easier to adapt and use in various parts of the application or even in other projects.

A Practical Example

Let's consider a concrete example. Imagine a UserProfile component that displays user information. According to SRP, this component should only handle the display of information, while all operations related to fetching user data should be extracted into a separate service or hook.

React Component Diagram

Thus, integrating the Single Responsibility Principle into React development not only facilitates managing complex applications but also contributes to creating cleaner, organized, and, importantly, reusable code. Ultimately, SRP serves as the key to building resilient and easily scalable applications, making it an integral part of modern web development.

In the game Factorio, players apply the Single Responsibility Principle by managing resource flows and production lines efficiently. Just like in programming, each part of the factory should focus on its specific function for optimal production. Factorio demonstrates how this principle applies to both code and management systems.

Section 1: Single Responsibility Principle in React

Overview of how React's component-based approach promotes SRP.

In modern web development, the React framework stands out for its component-based approach, which exemplifies the Single Responsibility Principle exceptionally well. This approach not only simplifies interface creation but also makes the code more organized and easier to maintain.

Key Benefits of React's Component-Based Approach

  1. Clear Separation of Concerns:
    Firstly, components in React are designed in a way that each is responsible for a distinct aspect of the UI. It could be a button, an input form, or even an entire user information block. This allows developers to easily pinpoint where changes need to be made without worrying that these changes will unexpectedly impact other parts of the application.
  2. Simplified Testing and Maintenance:
    Secondly, such a structure significantly simplifies component testing. Since each component handles only its unique task, it can be tested in isolation, ensuring higher test reliability. By focusing on single responsibility, developers can more efficiently catch and fix errors, enhancing the quality and stability of the application.
  3. Increased Code Reusability:
    Thirdly, using components oriented towards SRP promotes their reusability. Components that perform specific functions can be easily transferred and adapted to different parts of the application, and sometimes even in entirely new projects, significantly reducing development time and effort.
An example of reusing the Button component in React.

After discussing how React's component-based approach supports the Single Responsibility Principle, it's worth moving on to more specific examples from practice. These examples will demonstrate how proper division of components into smaller, specialized parts facilitates the maintenance and development of applications.

Examples from practice

How dividing components into smaller ones, each with a single responsibility, facilitates maintenance and development of the codebase.

Case 1: Reusing UI Components

Let's take, for example, a UI button component. In its basic version, the button component may have several props for configuring its appearance: color, size, icon, etc. By dividing this base component into smaller ones, such as IconButton, PrimaryButton, and SecondaryButton, we get ready-to-use elements that can be easily reused throughout the application, while maintaining consistency in style and behavior.

Let's say we have a basic button component:

function Button({ children, onClick, className }) {
  return (
    <button onClick={onClick} className={`button ${className}`}>

Using this base component, we can create specialized buttons, such as PrimaryButton and SecondaryButton, without duplicating code:

function PrimaryButton(props) {
  return <Button {...props} className="primary" />;

function SecondaryButton(props) {
  return <Button {...props} className="secondary" />;

Case 2: Separating Containers and Presentational Components

Another illustrative example is separating components into containers and presentational components. Presentational components are responsible for displaying the UI and do not handle data processing, while containers handle data and logic. This separation allows for easily changing the appearance of the application without modifying the business logic, and also facilitates testing.

The presentational component UserAvatar is responsible solely for displaying the user's avatar:

function UserAvatar({ url, alt }) {
  return <img src={url} alt={alt} className="user-avatar" />;

The container UserData retrieves user data and passes it to the presentational components:

class UserData extends React.Component {
  state = {
    user: null,

  componentDidMount() {
    fetchUser(this.props.userId).then(user => this.setState({ user }));

  render() {
    const { user } = this.state;

    if (!user) {
      return <div>Loading...</div>;

    return (
        <UserAvatar url={user.avatarUrl} alt={user.name} />

In this example, UserData handles data retrieval and processing, while UserAvatar is solely responsible for displaying it. This separation facilitates component testing and reuse.

Through these code examples, we see how adhering to the Single Responsibility Principle allows for creating a cleaner, more organized, and easily maintainable codebase in React. By separating logic from presentation and decomposing complex components into simpler ones, we enhance the flexibility and scalability of our applications.

Impact on Support and Development

Adhering to this practice has a profound impact on the development and maintenance process of applications:

  • Simplified Maintenance: Changes in the design or functionality of a specific component do not require reworking the entire project. This makes the support process less labor-intensive and reduces the risk of introducing errors.
  • Facilitated Scalability: As the project grows, adding new features becomes easier since there already exists a clear structure of components that can be reused or extended.
  • Enhanced Code Quality: Clear separation of responsibilities between components improves code readability and understanding, directly impacting the quality and reliability of the application.
Diagram of Component Separation in React
Diagram of Component Separation in React

Detecting SRP Violations in React Projects

The component has many props, especially those used only for passing through to other components.
Complex lifecycle methods containing logic unrelated to the core function of the component.
Mixing state management logic and UI logic, where the component handles both aspects simultaneously.
Difficulties in testing the component due to its dependencies on external services or components.

Methods for Addressing SRP Violations

  • Component Separation If a component starts to become "bloated," consider splitting it into smaller parts. For example, separate presentational components from containers. You can also divide components into those that only display data and those responsible for processing it.
  • Utilizing Hooks With the introduction of hooks in React, it's become easier to eliminate "heavyweight" components. Hooks allow you to use state and effect logic without writing class components. You can create custom hooks for reusing state and effect logic, reducing the complexity of your components.
  • Outsourcing Logic to Services For complex logic unrelated to component rendering, consider outsourcing it to separate modules or services. This could include handling API requests, data validation, or complex business logic.
  • Application of Design Patterns Sometimes, applying design patterns can help solve the problem, such as "Factory" for creating components with different behaviors or "Strategy" for changing the execution algorithm depending on the context. Patterns can help organize the code so that each part is responsible for only one task.

Applying these methods and advice will allow you to maintain cleanliness and organization in your code, following the Single Responsibility Principle. This will not only simplify the maintenance and development of your project but also make the code more understandable and accessible to new team members.

Section 2: Lessons from Factorio

Moving on to the second part of our article, we will explore how playing Factorio can shed light on the Single Responsibility Principle and why this experience is so valuable for developers. Factorio is a game where players build and manage factories in an automated industrial ecosystem. Faced with the need to optimize production and efficiently allocate resources, players learn to apply principles directly resonating with software development principles.

Analogy between Managing Data Flows and Resources

Factorio provides a rich analogy for software developers, especially in the context of managing data flows. In the game, as in programming, success depends on your ability to efficiently divide and manage resources (or data). Let's consider a few key lessons:

Modularity: In Factorio, factory construction begins with small, manageable modules, each performing a specific task (such as resource mining, processing, or component manufacturing). This resembles component development in programming, where each component is responsible for one function.

Refactoring for Optimization: As factories grow in Factorio, players often face the need to refactor their production lines to improve efficiency and reduce "spaghetti code" - tangled and inefficient routes. This resembles the refactoring process in programming, where code is optimized to enhance readability, performance, and maintainability.

Scaling: In Factorio, successful factory scaling requires anticipating future needs and building infrastructure with these needs in mind. In programming, this corresponds to designing systems with the ability to scale easily and add new features.

Example from the Game

Let's take a specific example from Factorio: the production system for science packs, which requires coordinated production of various resources. If the system is not optimized, it can lead to bottlenecks and delays in production. Applying a modular approach allows players to divide the process into separate, easily manageable segments, similar to breaking down components in programming into subtasks.

Bottleneck in Factorio
Common bottleneck in Factorio

Playing Factorio teaches important lessons that can be applicable in software development: modularity, the importance of refactoring for optimization, and strategic planning for scalability. These principles, along with the Single Responsibility Principle, contribute to creating cleaner, more efficient, and maintainable code. Factorio provides a unique sandbox for experimenting with these concepts in conditions where mistakes do not have as high a cost as in real projects, making it an excellent tool for developing design and optimization skills.

Lessons in planning, modularity, and preventing "spaghetti code" from Factorio

Factorio isn't just a game; it's a comprehensive management and optimization simulator that can teach developers valuable skills. Through building and expanding automated factories, players learn the importance of planning, modularity, and methods for combating system complexity.


Planning In Factorio, as in programming, the key to success is good planning. Before starting construction, players need to develop a plan that takes into account not only current needs but also future scalability. This involves strategically placing production lines to minimize transportation distances between machines and creating sufficient space for future expansion. In programming, this corresponds to architectural planning of the system considering its potential growth and changes in requirements.


Modularity is another key lesson from Factorio. Dividing the factory into separate, independently functioning modules not only facilitates management and scalability but also simplifies debugging and optimization. This principle directly translates to software development, where using a modular approach enables the creation of systems that are easy to test, maintain, and extend.

Preventing "spaghetti code"

"Spaghetti code" in Factorio manifests as tangled and inefficient transportation systems, which can seriously hinder resource management and factory scalability. Similarly, in programming, a similar problem arises when the code becomes too convoluted and difficult to understand. In Factorio, successfully addressing this issue requires regular refactoring and attention to the structure of production lines, reminiscent of the need for constant code refactoring and maintaining code cleanliness in software development.

modular railworld megabase
modular rail megabase

Example from the game

Example from the game Imagine you are building a production line to create electronic circuits in Factorio. Starting from resource extraction and ending with assembly, each stage should be planned to minimize unnecessary movements and ensure ease of adding new production modules in the future. This is reminiscent of developing modular architecture in software, where each component or layer of the application is developed considering its interaction with others and the ability to easily integrate new functionalities.


Thank you so much for spending time with this article! I hope the immersion into the world of React and Factorio was not only useful but also engaging. We aimed to demonstrate how principles familiar to Factorio players can be applied in programming, and vice versa.

However, it seems we got a bit carried away and ended up with quite a lot of text. To ensure that delving into each topic is not only informative but also comfortable, I've decided to split our discussion into two parts. In the next article, we will continue the conversation about how lessons from Factorio can be used to improve your programming projects.

Thank you for your attention and interest! Don't forget to check out the second part—I promise it will be interesting!

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