Chevron DownAPI Reference

Property Types

This article documents the system that offers to provide extra type annotations for layer properties.

A number of features are enabled by rich descriptions of the types of the properties in a layer:

  • Asynchronous props (e.g. loading layer data from an URL)
  • Type checking (during development)
  • Improve render performance, see "Prop Types and Performance" section below
  • Transitions and Animation
  • Reflection (e.g. dynamically creating UI controls for layer props)

Declaring Layer Properties

A layer class may supply a static member defaultProps that defines its default property types and values:

import {Layer} from '';

class MyLayer extends Layer {
  // implementation

MyLayer.defaultProps = {
  texture: {type: 'object', value: null, async: true},
  strokeOpacity: {type: 'number', value: 1, min: 0, max: 1},
  strokeColor: {type: 'color', value: [255, 0, 0]},
  getRadius: {type: 'accessor', value: d => d.radius}

When the user construct this layer, the props are resolved as such:

const layer = new MyLayer({id: 'my-layer', strokeOpacity: 0.5})
    texture: null,
    strokeOpacity: 0.5,
    strokeColor: [255, 0, 0],
    getRadius: d => d.radius,
    // other default base Layer props

Property Types

The property types system enables layers to opt-in to specifying types, and also allows a certain amount of type auto-deduction to happen based on existing default values for layers that do not opt in.

Each prop in defaultProps may be an object in the following shape:

  • type (string, required)
  • value (any, required) - the default value if this prop is not supplied
  • async (boolean, optional) - if true, the prop can either be a Promise that resolves to its actual value, or an url string (loaded using the base Layer's fetch prop).
  • validate (function, optional) - receives value as argument and returns true if the value is valid. Validation of layer props is only invoked in debug mode. This function is automatically populated if the prop has a built-in type.
  • equal (function, optional) - receives value1, value2 as argument and returns true if the two values are equal. Comparison of layer props is invoked during layer update and the result is passed to changeFlags.propsChanged. This function is automatically populated if the prop has a built-in type.
  • deprecatedFor (string|array, optional) - mark this prop as deprecated. The value is the new prop name(s) that this prop has been deprecated for. If the old prop is supplied instead of the new one, its value will be transferred to the new prop. The user will get a warning about the deprecation.
  • Any additional options, see individual types below.

Built-in Types


Any value.

  • Default validate: always pass
  • Default equal: compared by truthiness
MyLayerClass.defaultProps = {
  // explicit
  fill: {type: 'boolean', value: false}
  // inferred
  fill: false

A numeric value.

  • Options:
    • min (number, optional) - the minimum allowed value
    • max (number, optional) - the maximum allowed value
  • Default validate: value is finite and within bounds (if specified)
  • Default equal: strict equal
MyLayerClass.defaultProps = {
  // explicit, with bounds
  radiusScale: {type: 'number', value: 1, min: 0}
  // inferred, no bounds
  radiusScale: 1

A RGBA color.

  • Default validate: value is an array of 3 or 4 elements
  • Default equal: deep equal
MyLayerClass.defaultProps = {
  // must be explicit
  fillColor: {type: 'color', value: [255, 204, 0]}

An array of objects.

  • Options:
    • optional (boolean, optional) - accept null or undefined. Default false.
    • compare (boolean, optional) - compare deeply during prop comparison. Default false.
  • Default validate: value is an array of 3 or 4 elements
  • Default equal: shallow equal if compare: false, otherwise deep equal
MyLayerClass.defaultProps = {
  // explicit
  coordinateOrigin: {type: 'array', value: [0, 0, 0], compare: true}
  // inferred
  coordinateOrigin: [0, 0, 0]

An accessor used to update shader attributes.

  • Default validate: value is either a function or the same type as the default value
  • Default equal: true if function, otherwise deep equal
MyLayerClass.defaultProps = {
  // must be explicit
  getColor: {type: 'accessor', value: [255, 255, 255]}

A function.

  • Options:
    • optional (boolean, optional) - accept null or undefined. Default false.
    • compare (boolean, optional) - compare strictly during prop comparison. Default true.
  • Default validate: value is a function
  • Default equal: true if compare: false, otherwise strict equal
MyLayerClass.defaultProps = {
  // explicit
  sizeScale: {type: 'function', value: x => Math.sqrt(x), compare: false}
  // inferred
  sizeScale: x => Math.sqrt(x)

Prop Types and Performance

The performance of a application can be greately improved by limiting the frequency of layer updates. Consider the following app:

import React from 'react';

function App() {
  const layers = [
    new GeoJsonLayer({
      id: 'geojson',
      data: DATA_URL,
      extruded: true,
      wireframe: true,
      getElevation: f => ELEVATION_SCALE(,
      getFillColor: f => COLOR_SCALE(,
      getLineColor: [255, 255, 255]

  return (
        latitude: 49.254,
        longitude: -123.13,
        zoom: 11

Each time the user interacts with the viewport, the app state is updated, and render() is called. Because getElevation, getFillColor and getLineColor are functions and arrays defined inline, they have changed from the previous render.

Usually, any prop change results in updating a layer, that is, recomputing its internal states. Updating a layer could be expensive. In GeoJsonLayer's case, it creates ScatterplotLayer, PolygonLayer and PathLayer, and those layers also need to be updated recursively.

In reality, we do not want to update GeoJsonLayer, because no layer props changed from the user's perspective. In GeoJsonLayer, these props are declared as such:

const defaultProps = {
    getElevation: {type: 'accessor', value: 1000},
    getFillColor: {type: 'accessor', value: [0, 0, 0, 255]},
    getLineColor: {type: 'accessor', value: [0, 0, 0, 255]}

The default comparator of the access prop type ignores shallow changes in functions. As a result, decides that no props have changed between the two renders, and the GeoJsonLayer does not need to be updated.