Custom React hook & context for controlling browser audio

Apr 20, 2020
Custom React hook & context for controlling browser audio


A custom React hook for controlling browser audio powered by the amazing howler.js library. The intention of this package is to abstract away the details of howler's API using built-in React primitives to create an interface that is more React-friendly, allowing you to write React code that is free from audio-related side-effects.


yarn add react-use-audio-player


For convenience, the library's type definitions are included in the package under index.d.ts.


This library exports a context Provider and two hooks for controlling an audio source, giving you the tools you need to build you own audio player or visualization.


This Provider is required for the hooks to function.
The Provider contains a single audio source and exposes an interface for manipulating it via the useAudioPlayer hook.
The benefit of having a single, shared audio source is that it allows the developer to compose together multiple components that share knowledge about the audio.
For example, you may have separate components PlayPauseButton, SeekBar and VolumeControls all working together on the same audio source.

import React from "react" import { AudioPlayerProvider } from "react-use-audio-player" const App = () => { return ( <AudioPlayerProvider> <AudioPlayer file="meow.mp3" /> </AudioPlayerProvider> ) }


This is the main hook for controlling your audio instance.


import React from "react" import { useAudioPlayer } from "react-use-audio-player" const AudioPlayer = ({ file }) => { const { togglePlayPause, ready, loading, playing } = useAudioPlayer({ src: file, format: "mp3", autoplay: false }) if (!ready && !loading) return <div>No audio to play</div> if (loading) return <div>Loading audio</div> return ( <div> <button onClick={togglePlayPause}>{playing ? "Pause" : "Play"}</button> </div> ) }



  • (optional) audioPlayerConfig: { src: string, format?: string, autoplay?: boolean }

    autoplay and format are optional. autoplay will default to false.

Return Value

useAudioPlayer returns a single object containing the following members:

  • load: ({ src: string, format?: string, autoplay?: boolean }) => void

    method to lazily load audio

  • loading: boolean

    true if audio is being fetched

  • ready: boolean

    true if the audio has been loaded and can be played

  • playing: boolean

    true is the audio is currently playing

  • stopped: boolean

    true if the audio has been stopped

  • error: Error

    set when audio has failed to load

  • play: () => void

    plays the loaded audio

  • pause: () => void

    pauses the audio

  • togglePlayPause: () => void

    convenient equivalent to alternating calls to play and pause

  • stop: () => void

    stops the audio, returning the position to 0

  • seek: (position: number) => number | undefined

    sets the position of the audio to position (seconds)

  • mute: () => void

    mutes the audio

  • volume: (value: number) => number

    get/set the volume of the current sound. Volume values between 0.0 and 1.0


This hooks exposes the current position and duration of the audio instance as its playing in real time.
This data may be useful when animating a visualization for your audio like a seek bar.
A separate hook was created to manage this state in order to avoid many rerenders of components that don't need the live data feed.
For example a component that renders a play/pause button may use useAudioPlayer but does not need to rerender every time the position of the playing audio changes.

import React from "react" import { useAudioPosition } from "react-use-audio-player" const PlayBar = () => { const { position, duration } = useAudioPosition({ highRefreshRate: true }) const [percent, setPercent] = React.useState(0) React.useEffect(() => { setPercent((position / duration) * 100 || 0) }, [position, duration]) return <ProgressBar percentComplete={percent} /> }



  • (optional) config: { highRefreshRate: boolean }

    highRefreshRate will allow useAudioPosition to update state at a smooth 60fps rate
    via the browser's requestAnimationFrame API. This is ideal for when you want smoother animations.

Return Value

useAudioPosition returns an object containing the following members:

  • position: number

    the current playback position of the audio in seconds

  • duration: number

    the total length of the audio in seconds

  • seek

    For convenience the seek method from useAudioPlayer is also returned from this hook


To run the example applications follow the following steps:

  1. git clone the repository
  2. cd useAudioPlayer/examples
  3. yarn install
  4. yarn start
  5. follow the local README for further assistance


The most basic npm release strategy is being followed for now. A good explanation can be found here.


  1. commit work & tests
  2. yarn/npm version (preversion script will ensure code is tested and built)
  3. yarn/npm publish
  4. git push & git push --tags