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mobx-spine

Build Status codecov

A frontend package built upon MobX to add models and collections. It has first-class support for relations and can communicate to a backend.

By default it comes with a "communication layer" for Django Binder, which is Code Yellow's Python backend framework. It is easy to add support for another backend.

yarn add mobx-spine lodash mobx moment
npm install mobx-spine lodash mobx moment

Work In Progress.

mobx-spine is highly inspired by Backbone and by the package we built on top of Backbone, Backbone Relation.

Design differences with Backbone

Since mobx-spine uses MobX, it does not need to have an event system like Backbone has. This means that there are no this.listenTo()'s. If you need something like that, look for autorun() or add a @computed property.

Another difference is that in mobx-spine, all properties of a model must be defined beforehand. So if a model has the props id and name defined, it's not possible to suddenly add a slug property unless you define it on the model itself. Not allowing this helps with keeping overview of the props there are.

mobx-spine has support for relations and pagination built-in, in contrast to Backbone.

A model or collection can only do requests to an API if you add an api instance to it. This allows for easy mocking of the API, and makes mobx-spine not coupled to Binder, our Python framework. It would be easy to make a package or just a separate file with a custom backend.

Model

A model is a data container with a set of helper functions. Models should extend Model from mobx-spine, and the very least define some properties.

The Model contructor takes 2 arguments:

  • data: An object with default values for a model.
  • options: An object with options.

Constructor: data

Let's for example define a class Animal with 2 properties id and name.

import { observable } from 'mobx';
import { Model } from 'mobx-spine';

// Define a class Animal, with 2 observed properties `id` and `name`.
class Animal extends Model {
    @observable id = null; // Default value is null.
    @observable name = ''; // Default value is ''.
}

If we instantiate a new animal without arguments it will create an empty animal using defaults defined on the model:

// Create an empty instance of an Animal.
const lion = new Animal();

console.log(lion.id); // null
console.log(lion.name); // ''

You can also supply data when creating a new instance:

// Create an instance of an Animal with existing data.
const cat = new Animal({ id: 1, name: 'Cat' });

console.log(cat.name); // Cat

When data is supplied in the constructor, these can be reset by calling clear:

const cat = new Animal({ id: 1, name: 'Cat' });

cat.name = '';
console.log(cat.name); // ''

cat.clear();
console.log(cat.name); // 'Cat'

When an undefined property key is supplied, it will be ignored:

const cat = new Animal({ id: 1, name: 'Cat', undefinedProperty: 'will be ignored' });

cat.name = '';
console.log(cat.undefinedProperty); // undefined

Constructor: options

key default
relations undefined Relations to be instantiated when instantiating this model as well. Should be an array of strings. ['location', 'owner.parents']

Properties

In its basic form, a model holds a few properties. These properties are normally observables and default values are defined on the property as well. This will define a basic animal model:

import { observable } from 'mobx';
import { Model } from 'mobx-spine';

// Define a class Animal, with 2 observed properties `id` and `name`.
class Animal extends Model {
    @observable id = null; // Default value is null.
    @observable name = ''; // Default value is ''.
    @observable color; // Default value is undefined.
}

You can also define frontend only fields, which will be excluded when performing for example a save. These properties start with a underscore:

class Animal extends Model {
    @observable id = null;
    @observable name = '';

    /**
     * Fields starts with underscore, so excluded from saving to 
     * backend because `toBackend` filters them out.
     **/ 
    @observable _notSavedToBackend = true;
}

Forbidden properties

There are some forbidden property names. Currently these are:

  • url
  • urlRoot
  • api
  • isNew
  • isLoading
  • parse
  • save
  • clear

Backend request

A model can communicate with the backend using a few functions:

  • fetch
  • save
  • delete

These functions go through the api, and by default the BinderApi is shipped with mobx-spine.

Backend request: fetch

Fetching data can be done by calling fetch. Lets look at an example and assume the backend returns with name Garfield:

const api = new BinderApi();

class Animal extends Model {
    api = api;
    
    // Supply either a backendResourceName (Model will calculate urlRoot) or a urlRoot.
    static backendResourceName = 'animal';
    // urlRoot = '/api/animal/';

    @observable id = null;
    @observable name = '';
}

const animal = new Animal({ id: 2 });

// Performs a GET request: /api/animal/2/
animal.fetch().then(() => {
    console.log(animal.name); // Garfield
});

Backend request: save

Saving data can be done by calling save. Lets look at creating a new model and saving that in the database:

const api = new BinderApi();

class Animal extends Model {
    api = api;
    static backendResourceName = 'animal';

    @observable id = null;
    @observable name = '';
}

class animal = new Animal();

// Performs a POST request: /api/animal/
animal.save().then(() => {
    console.log(animal.id); // 1
});

An existing model in the database can be updated as follows:

class animal = new Animal({ id: 1 });

// Performs a PUT request: /api/animal/
animal.save().then(() => {
    console.log(animal.id); // 1
});

The save function accepts a few paramaters as an options object:

key default
onlyChanges false When true, only changes made with setInput are saved. animal.save({ onlyChanges: true })
url undefined When set, use specified url for the request. animal.save({ url: '/api/animal/special/url' })
data undefined When set, append data to result. Existing keys from toBackend will be overwritten by data, while new keys will be added. animal.save({ data: { id: 1, some_other_field: 'will be added' } })
mapData undefined You can change the data which will be used for the request send by supplying a function. First argument is the formatted data ready for sending a request. Called at the very last of data formatting operations. animal.save({ mapData: data => (...data, some_other_field: 'will be added' } ) } })
forceFields undefined When onlyChanges is given, you can force fields to be included despite of having no changes. animal.save({ onlyChanges: true, forceFields: ['name'] } ) } })
relations undefined Relations to save when saving this model as well. Note that its not needed to include relations here so that they will be linked, only to save the models themselves. Should be an array of strings. animal.save({ relations: ['location', 'owner.parents'] })

Backend request: delete

Deleting a model can be done by calling model.delete(). Lets look at an example:

const api = new BinderApi();

class Animal extends Model {
    api = api;
    static backendResourceName = 'animal';

    @observable id = null;
    @observable name = '';
}

class animal = new Animal({ id: 2 });

// Performs a DELETE request: /api/animal/2/
animal.delete();


An example with a Store (called a Collection in Backbone).

Relations

Models can have relations to other models / stores. These relations are defined as follows:

class Breed extends Model {
    @observable id = null;
    @observable name = '';
}

class AnimalStore extends Store {
    Model = Animal;
}

class Animal extends Model {
    @observable id = null;
    @observable name = '';

    relations() {
        return {
            breed: Breed, // Define a breed relation to Breed.
            relatives: AnimalStore, // Define a relatives relation to AnimalStore.
        };
    }
}

You can now instantiate the animal with it's breed & relatives relation recursively:

class animal = new Animal(
    { 
        id: 2, 
        name: 'Rova', 
        breed: { id: 3, name: 'Main Coon' }, 
        relatives: [
            { id: 5, name: 'Gizmo', breed: { id: 3, name: 'Main Coon' } },
            { id: 7, name: 'Chiggy', breed: { id: 5, name: 'Mixed' } },
        ],
    }, { 
        relations: ['breed', 'relatives.breed'] 
    }
);

console.log(animal.name); // Rova
console.log(animal.breed.name); // Main Coon
console.log(animal.relatives.get(5).name); // Gizmo
console.log(animal.relatives.get(5).breed.name); // Main Coon
console.log(animal.relatives.get(7).name); // Chiggy
console.log(animal.relatives.get(7).breed.name); // Mixed

You can now instantiate the animal without it's breed relation and try to access it, it will throw an error:

class animal = new Animal({ id: 2, name: 'Rova', breed: { id: 3, name: 'Main Coon' } });

console.log(animal.breed.name); // Throws cannot read property name from undefined.

Pick fields

You can pick fields by either defining a static pickFields variable or a pickFields function. Keep in mind that id is mandatory, so it will always be included.

As a static field

class Animal extends Model {
    static pickFields = ['name'];

    @observable id = null;
    @observable name = '';
    @observable color = '';
}

const animal = new Animal({ id: 1, name: 'King', color: 'orange' });
animal.toBackend(); // { id: 1, name: 'King' }

As a function

class Animal extends Model {
    pickFields() {
        return ['name];
    }

    @observable id = null;
    @observable name = '';
    @observable color = '';
}

const animal = new Animal({ id: 1, name: 'King', color: 'orange' });
animal.toBackend(); // { id: 1, name: 'King' }

Omit fields

You can omit fields by either defining a static omitFields variable or a omitFields function. Keep in mind that id is mandatory, so it will always be included.

As a static field

class Animal extends Model {
    static omitFields = ['color'];

    @observable id = null;
    @observable name = '';
    @observable color = '';
}

const animal = new Animal({ id: 1, name: 'King', color: 'orange' });
animal.toBackend(); // { id: 1, name: 'King' }

As a function

class Animal extends Model {
    omitFields() {
        return ['color];
    }

    @observable id = null;
    @observable name = '';
    @observable color = '';
}

const animal = new Animal({ id: 1, name: 'King', color: 'orange' });
animal.toBackend(); // { id: 1, name: 'King' }

Update properties

There are 2 ways to update properties:

  • Direct assignment
  • Using setInput
lion.name = 'Lion'; // Direct assignment, doesn't register a change on the `name` property.
lion.setInput('name',  'Lion'); // Use `setInput` which registers a change on the `name` property.

When using setInput, a model.save({ onlyChanges: true }) will only submit fields to the backend which have been changed using setInput.

Store

A Store (Collection in Backbone) is holds multiple instances of models and have several helper functions.

Constructor: options

key default
relations undefined Relations to be instantiated when new models are instantiated using add(). Should be an array of strings. animalStore = new AnimalStore({ relations: ['location', 'owner.parents'] })
limit 25 Page size per fetch, also able to set using setLimit(). By default a limit is always set, but there are occations where you want to fetch everything. In this case, set limit to false. animalStore = new AnimalStore({ limit: false })
comparator undefined The models in the store will be sorted by comparator. When it's a string, the models will be sorted by that property name. If it's a function, the models will be sorted using the default array sort. animalStore = new AnimalStore({ comparator: 'name' })
params undefined All params will be converted to GET params. This is used for quering the server to fill the store with models. animalStore = new AnimalStore({ params: { 'search': 'Gizmo' } })

Adding models

Adding models to a store can be done using store.add(). You can supply either an object or an array of objects:

import { Model } from 'mobx-spine';

class AnimalStore extends Store {
    Model = Animal;
}

const animalStore = new AnimalStore();

animalStore.add({ id: 1, name: 'Rova' });

console.log(animalStore.length) // 1
console.log(animalStore.at(0).name) // Rova

animalStore.add([
    { id: 2, name: 'Gizmo' },
    { id: 3, name: 'Diva' },
]);

console.log(animalStore.length) // 3
console.log(animalStore.at(0).name) // Rova
console.log(animalStore.at(1).name) // Gizmo
console.log(animalStore.at(2).name) // Diva

Getting models

There are a few ways to get a specific model:

  • get: Use models id.
  • at: Use model index.
  • find: Use callback.
  • store.models: Get the mobx array that holds the models.

Some examples:

animalStore.add([
    { id: 1, name: 'Rova' },
    { id: 2, name: 'Gizmo' },
    { id: 3, name: 'Diva' },
]);

console.log(animalStore.at(0).name) // Rova
console.log(animalStore.get(1).name) // Rova
console.log(animalStore.find(animal => animal.name === 'Rova').name) // Rova
console.log(animalStore.models.find(animal => animal.name === 'Rova').name) // Rova

Backend request

A store can communicate with the backend using a few functions:

  • fetch

These functions go through the api, and by default the BinderApi is shipped with mobx-spine.

Backend request: fetch

Fetching data can be done by calling fetch. Lets look at an example and assume the backend returns 1 model with name Garfield:

const api = new BinderApi();

class AnimalStore extends Store {
    Model = Animal
    api = api;
    
    // Supply either a backendResourceName (Model will calculate url) or a url.
    static backendResourceName = 'animal';
    // url = '/api/animal/';
}

const animalStore = new AnimalStore();

// Performs a GET request: /api/animal/?limit=25
animalStore.fetch().then(() => {
    console.log(animalStore.at(0).name); // Garfield
});

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MobX with support for models, relations and an external API.

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