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Version: XState v4

Guards

A guard is a condition that the machine checks when it goes through an event. If the condition is true, the transition can be taken. If the condition is false, the next potential transition is tested to determine if it can be taken. Any transition can be a guarded transition.

A common pattern in any program is if/else logic — the ability to make decisions based on inputs. The best way to apply if/else logic with statecharts is through guarded transitions.

In the following example, we’ll imagine you want to order a decaf coffee at a cafe. You can send the ORDER_DECAF event to the barista, but the cafe might not have decaf coffee available! The machine for the ordering process could be as follows:

import { createMachine } from 'xstate';

const baristaMachine = createMachine(
{
initial: 'receivingOrder',
states: {
receivingOrder: {
on: {
/**
* Guarded transitions are expressed
* as an array
*/
ORDER_DECAF: [
{
/**
* 'cond' stands for condition
*/
cond: 'hasDecaf',
target: 'makingDecafCoffee',
},
],
},
},
makingDecafCoffee: {},
},
},
{
guards: {
/**
* Implement the guard below
*/
hasDecaf: (context, event) => false,
},
}
);

The machine above will only go to the makingDecafCoffee state if the hasDecaf guard returns true. You might have noticed that guards take similar arguments to actions.

You can also provide multiple guards to the same transition. In the example below, the machine checks if the customer is okay with regular coffee if decaf is unavailable:

import { createMachine } from 'xstate';

const baristaMachine = createMachine(
{
initial: 'receivingOrder',
states: {
receivingOrder: {
on: {
ORDER_DECAF: [
{
cond: 'hasDecaf',
target: 'makingDecafCoffee',
},
{
cond: 'customerIsOkWithRegularCoffee',
target: 'makingRegularCoffee',
},
],
},
},
makingDecafCoffee: {},
makingRegularCoffee: {},
},
},
{
guards: {
hasDecaf: (context, event) => false,
customerIsOkWithRegularCoffee: (context, event) => false,
},
}
);

The code above is similar to a normal JavaScript function:

const makeDecafCoffee = () => {};
const makeRegularCoffee = () => {};
const hasDecaf = false;
const customerIsOKWithRegularCoffee = false;


if (hasDecaf) {
makeDecafCoffee();
} else if (customerIsOKWithRegularCoffee) {
makeRegularCoffee();
}

To add an else condition, you can create a transition without a cond at the end of the array:

import { createMachine } from 'xstate';

const baristaMachine = createMachine(
{
initial: 'receivingOrder',
states: {
receivingOrder: {
on: {
ORDER_DECAF: [
{
cond: 'hasDecaf',
target: 'makingDecafCoffee',
},
{
cond: 'customerIsOkWithRegularCoffee',
target: 'makingRegularCoffee',
},
{
target: 'wavingGoodbye',
},
],
},
},
makingDecafCoffee: {},
makingRegularCoffee: {},
wavingGoodbye: {},
},
},
{
guards: {
hasDecaf: (context, event) => false,
customerIsOkWithRegularCoffee: (context, event) => false,
},
}
);

In the example above, the machine goes to the wavingGoodbye state if hasDecaf and customerIsOkWithRegularCoffee are both false.

Which transitions can be guarded?

You can turn ANY transition into a guarded transition. Anywhere you can target: 'newState', you can also add a cond property and express if/else logic.

We’ll learn about all the types of transitions in more depth later; here’s a brief list: always, after, invoke.onDone, invoke.onError, state.onDone.