Cheating on JSX with JSON based components
Last updated a year ago by 3rdeden .
MIT · Repository · Bugs · Original npm · Tarball · package.json
$ cnpm install treason 
SYNC missed versions from official npm registry.


Treason, that's how it feels when you cheat on React by using JSON instead of JSX. This allows you to easily an API, or external source to generate your views. Possibilities are endless.

So how does this work, we iterate over your supplied JSON payload, look for the layout key and iterate the array, creating new elements using React.createElement. To support deeply nested structures we automatically generate the required key properties, or you supply them your self in as props for the components. To fully unlock all potential of this module we allow you modify every step of the process using various of helper methods. Want to use a stylesheet object instead of style props? Easy mode. Wrapping the app with Redux store? No problem. Custom components, React-Native? Yep, all supported.

Take a look at our examples folder for some usage patterns.

Table of Contents


The package is released in the public npm registry and can be installed by running:

npm install --save treason


The treason module exposes the Treason class which you need to initialize.

import Treason from 'treason';

const layout = new Treason();

The treason instance allows a single optional argument:

  • layout The property that of the supplied JSON that stores the layout structure according to our JSON specification. Defaults to layout.

Now that the Treason instance is created you can register the components that should be allowed to render.

layout.register('MyComponent', MyComponent);

Now that we have components register a payload can be decoded so we can render an output.

const view = layout.render(require('./you/json/payload.json'));

And that it, your JSON payload is now rendered and stored in the view variable. So for a more complete picture, here's it all together:

import { Text, View, ScrollView } from 'react-native';
import { Svg, Path, Circle } from 'react-native-svg';
import { Foo, Bar, Loading } from './components';
import React, { Component } from 'react';
import Treason from 'treason';

const treason = new Treason();

.register('Text', Text)
.register('View', View)
.register('Path', Path)
.register('Foo', foo);

Now that the we've registered the elements we want to allow in our view, we can pass it some JSON to render.

const view = treason.render(require('./path/to/file.json'));

  { view }

But we can take it a step further, so why not load the JSON file from a remote service:

class Main extends Component {
  constructor() {

    this.state = {
      view: null

  componentDidMount() {
    fetch('').then((data) => {
      this.setState({ view: layout.parse(data) });

  render() {
    if (!this.state.view) return <Loading />

    return this.state.view;

Now you have on the fly updating of your app's layout.



Registers a new custom component that can be rendered by the JSON structure. The method accepts 2 arguments:

  • name Name of the component in which it's addressed in the JSON structure.
  • Component The component that should be inserted.
class Example extends React.Component {
  render() {
    return <p>This is an example</p>

treason.register('Example', Example);

The method returns it self so it can be used for chaining purposes.


The supplied function will receive the plugin API that will give authors access to the following methods:


treason.use(function (api) {
  // api.register();
  // api.modify();
  // api.before();
  // api.after();

The treason library ships with the following plugins by default:

  • treason/svgs The svgs library allows you to create Svgs that work in React and React-Native. This plugin will register all components so they can be used by the layout.
  • treason/react-native Registers all available components that are exposed by the react-native library.


The modify functions allows you to transform specific properties. It requires the following properties:

  • prop The name of the property that needs to be intercepted.
  • callback Function that is invoked when the given property is encountered.

The callback receives the following arguments:

  • value The value of the property.
  • config An object with some additional information on where it's encountered
    • Component: The component that is being rendered with the property.
    • props: Reference to all props on the component.
    • children: Children of the Component.
    • data: Only set when you use the special @ syntax.

The callback should return the new value for the property.

For example to prevent the dangerouslySetInnerHTML from being used as property on any of the components, you could forcefully remove it by modifying the value from the HTML payload to undefined:

treason.modify('dangerouslySetInnerHTML', function modify(value, config) {
  return undefined;

The modify function allows you to reference the additional data structures that you've send together with your layout payload. You can reference this data by prefixing the name of the properties with an @.

Because these properties are references data structures that were received in the JSON structure they will be removed automatically after they have been encountered in the props of the component.

treason.modify('@style', function modify(value, config) {
  // config.props
  // config.Component
  // config.children
  // =[value];

  style: { /* this will be set as in the function above */ },
  layout: ['div' { '@style': 'hello' }, [
    ['div', { '@style': 'hello' }]

In the example above, the @style modifier will be called for the div, and receive hello as value. The is propagated with the contents of the style property of the JSON payload that you supplied to treason.render.

So in this example we're re-using a single style object instead of having to supply the same style information multiple times in the JSON structure. Allowing you to create a smaller and more efficient payload.

But we can do better, you can combine this with the before method that will pre-process the referenced style object. So if you where to do this on React-Native, you could transform the style into a StyleSheet instance:

import { StyleSheet } from 'react-native';

treason.before('style', function (payload) {
  return StyleSheet.create(payload);


Pre-process the data in the JSON.

  • name The name of the property in the initial JSON payload.
  • callback Function that is invoked when the given property is encountered.

The callback receives the following arguments:

  • data Data that the name referenced in the JSON payload.
  • layout The layout structure before they are transformed into React elements.

The callback should return the payload that you received as first argument. Anything that you return will be now used as value.

import { createStore } from 'redux';
import reducer from './reducer';

treason.before('store', function before(data, layout) {
  const store = createStore(reducer, data);

  return store;

PRO TIP: As the layout is stored with a layout key, you also modify that when it's received:

treason.before('layout', function before(data, layout) {
  // data == layout, as we're pre-processing the `layout` key from the
  // supplied JSON payload. But we can now modify the whole JSON structure,
  // add, remove elements as you wish. So in this case, we're going to
  // wrap the received elements in a `<div class="container">` element.
  return ['div', { className: 'container' }, layout];


Allows you to apply any additional post processing after the layout has been transformed into React elements. The method requires 2 arguments:

  • name The name of the property in the initial JSON payload.
  • callback Function that is invoked when the given property is encountered.

The callback receives the following arguments:

  • elements The rendered React Elements tree.
  • data Data that the name referenced in the JSON payload.

The callback should return the React Elements tree, or a new modified tree:

treason.after('messages', function after(elements, messages) {
  return (
    <IntlProvider locale={ navigator.language } messages={ messages }>
      { elements }

treason.render({ messages: {}, layout: ['Foo'] });

In the example above we have our React Intl messages stored as messages key in the initial payload, so after the elements are transformed we wrap the generated React Tree and pass it the initial messages payload.

PRO TIP:* Just like the before method, you can also process the layout key and apply additional transformation to the elements tree.


This method transforms your given JSON string, or object structure into the actual React elements. It accepts a single argument, the JSON string, or object that needs to be transformed into React Elements. It should have a layout key that follows our JSON structure specification. Additional keys may be supplied as their content can be referenced using the before, after and modify functions.

It's a synchronous process so the method will return created elements:

const elements = layout.render({
  layout: ['ComponentName', { props: 'here' }]

As it's returning React Element's it can be used inside components as well.

class Ads extends React.Component {
  constructor() {

    this.state = {
      view: null

  componentDidMount() {
    fetch('').then(function parse(response) {
      return response.json();
    .then(function update(myJson) {
      this.setState({ view: treason.render(myJson) });

  render() {
    if (!this.state.view) return <div className="placeholder" />

    return (
      <div className="ads">
        { this.state.view }

Word of caution Your JSON, your problem, we do not sanitize your data. Any of the registered components as well as normal elements can be rendered through the payload so do not allow user input as JSON/layout values.


Clear the instance of all of it's registered components and before, after, use, modify functions.



The JSON structure is simple and straightforward. The root element of the JSON structure should be an object, with a key layout. The layout should contain the layout that destructured as Array

  layout: []
["ComponentName", { props: "here" }, [
  // children of the ComponentName
  ["ChildComponent", { props: "foo"} ],
  ["AnotherChild", { props: "bar"}]
  1. First item is the name of the component that needs to be rendered. This name should correspond to the name that you specified in the register method. If the first item is not a string, we will assume that it's Fragment that needs to be rendered.
  2. Next item is an object with the props that should be applied to the specified component. This object can omitted if there are no props to apply.
  3. Last item is an array of children that needs to be rendered within the component. This array should have children that are specified in exactly the same way as the parent component.

If you are familiar with AssetSystem, it uses the same structure. Below are some examples where the different use's and their outputs are rendered.


[{ foo: bar}, ["Example"]]


<Fragment foo="bar">
  <Example />


['Svg', [
  ["Rect", { height: 100, width: 100, fillColor: "red" }],
  ["Path", { d: "17n098d" }],
  ["G", [
    ["Circle", { x: 0, y: 0 }],
    ["Circle", { x: 0, y: 10 }]


  <Rect height={ 100 } width={ 100 } fillColor="red" />
  <Path d="17n098d" />
    <Circle x={ 0 } y={ 0 } />
    <Circle x={ 0 } y={ 10 } />

You can go as deep as you want with the structures, supply as many props as want.



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