Stories for multiple components

It's useful to write stories that render two or more components at once if those components are designed to work together. For example, ButtonGroups, Lists, and Page components. Here's an example with List and ListItem components:

Note that by adding subcomponents to the default export, we get an extra pane on the ArgsTable, listing the props of ListItem:

Storybook story with subcomponent argstable

The downside of the approach used above, where each story creates its own combination of components, is that it does not take advantage of Storybook Args meaning:

  1. You cannot change the stories via the controls panel
  2. There is no args reuse possible, which makes the stories harder to maintain.

Let's talk about some techniques you can use to mitigate the above, which are especially useful in more complicated situations.

Reusing subcomponent stories

The simplest change we can make to the above is to reuse the stories of the ListItem in the List:

By rendering the Unchecked story with its args, we are able to reuse the input data from the ListItem stories in the List.

However, we still aren’t using args to control the ListItem stories, which means we cannot change them with controls and we cannot reuse them in other, more complex component stories.

Using children as an arg

One way we improve that situation is by pulling the rendered subcomponent out into a children arg:

Now that children is an arg, we can potentially reuse it in another story.

However, there are some caveats when using this approach that you should be aware of.

The children args as any other arg needs to be JSON serializable. It means that you should:

  • Avoid using empty values
  • Use caution with components that include third party libraries

As they could lead into errors with your Storybook.

We're currently working on improving the overall experience for the children arg and allow you to edit children arg in a control and allow you to use other types of components in the near future. But for now you need to factor in this caveat when you're implementing your stories.

Creating a Template Component

Another option that is more “data”-based is to create a special “story-generating” template component:

This approach is a little more complex to setup, but it means you can more easily reuse the args to each story in a composite component. It also means that you can alter the args to the component with the Controls addon: