Index as Key Anti-pattern in ReactJS

Using the index of an item in a list as its key in ReactJS can be an anti-pattern. While it may be tempting to use the index as a key because it’s easy and readily available, there are several reasons why it’s not a good practice:

  1. Unstable Keys: The index of an item in a list can change when items are added, removed or reordered, leading to unstable keys. This can result in unexpected behavior, such as items being incorrectly added, removed, or updated.
  2. Poor Performance: When a key is not unique or stable, React will be forced to re-render more elements than necessary, leading to poor performance. This is because React has to work harder to identify which elements have changed, been added, or been removed.
  3. Accessibility: Using the index as a key can also have negative impacts on accessibility, as it can make it difficult for screen readers to identify and navigate the list correctly.

To avoid these issues, it’s generally recommended to use a unique and stable key for each item in a list. A good approach is to use a unique identifier for each item, such as an ID or UUID. If no unique identifier is available, a combination of properties that uniquely identify the item can be used as the key.

Here’s an example of how to avoid using the index as a key in ReactJS:

const items = [
  { id: 1, text: 'Item 1' },
  { id: 2, text: 'Item 2' },
  { id: 3, text: 'Item 3' },

function MyList() {
  return (
      { => (
        <li key={}>{item.text}</li>

In this example, each item in the items array has a unique id property that’s used as the key prop for the corresponding <li> element. This ensures that the key is unique and stable, and helps to avoid potential issues with performance and accessibility.

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