TypeScript based, boilerplate-less, Polymer toolbox friendly Polymer Modules
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README.MD

Typed Web Components

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Typed Web Components brings you a boilerplate-less, TypeScript based way, to write native Polymer modules (Polymer toolbox friendly). The entire process is done in the design time, so no additional dependency needs to be added to the project.

Installation

npm install -g twc

Using

TWC comes with the CLI. Most of its configuration comes from tsconfig (and bower.json), and it pretty much works the same as tsc. To transform ts classes into native polymer modules, just enter the project root dir and execute the following in the terminal:

twc

It works just as tsc, reading configuration from tsconfig.json file. The only difference is it outputs .html files with Polymer module instead of plain .js.

Configuration

Including annotations

Annotations will be available at the @types npm namespace. Until this happens, types need to be included in tsconfig:

{
  "compilerOptions": {
    ...
  },

  "files": [
    ...
  ],
  "include": [
    "node_modules/twc/types/polymer.decorators.d.ts"
  ]
}

Polymer version

TWC allows to compile the same code into either Polymer 1.x or Polymer 2.x. Before compiling, bower.json is checked for Polymer dependency version and then it is used as a target. For example:

"polymer": "Polymer/polymer#^1.8.0"

will build a Polymer 1.x module, while this one:

"polymer": "Polymer/polymer#^2.0.0"

builds an ES6 based Polymer 2.x module.

TypeScript options

TypeScript compiler options are available for twc as well, not everything is supported though. Here is a list of unsupported options (might eventually change in the future):

  • sourceMap
  • outFile
  • jsx
  • jsxFactory

Creating modules

Modules in TWC embrace the syntax and keywords of the TypeScript language, and are simply just classes. Conventions to follow match the Polymer 2.x (V1 Web Components spec).

@CustomElement()
export class MyElement extends Polymer.Element {
    name: string;
}

equals

<dom-module id="my-element">
  <script>
    Polymer({
      is: "my-element",
      properties: {
        name: {
          type: String
        }
      }
    });
  </script>
</dom-module>

Templating

There are 4 ways to add a template (so nobody gets bored):

  • Provide a template within @template decorator
  • Provide a path to template file within @template decorator
  • Return a template from template() method
  • Do not use any of the above and create an html file named the same as ts file with the component

The first approach is very common and you probably have seen this multiple times. Everything that would normally go between <template> tags, would now go into the decorator. No fancy magic here.

@CustomElement()
@template(`<h1>Hello [[name]]</h1>`)
export class MyElement extends Polymer.Element {
    name: string;
}

Similarly the second approach, you just need to provide a relative path to the template (just as you would import it via <link rel="import"> tag). The content of the template file should be as in the first approach - code between <template> tags.

@CustomElement()
@template('template.html')
export class MyElement extends Polymer.Element {
    name: string;
}

If you are coming more from a React world, you might like the render() method. So here it is, a template() method which works very alike. The advantage of this method is that you have access to the class prototype, and you can use it in a template string. Every this expression will be replaced with two-way binding to the property (if you have a suggestion how to determine when to use two-way and when to use one-way binding, please do let me know).

@CustomElement()
export class MyElement extends Polymer.Element {
    name: string;
    template() {
        return `<h1>Hello ${this.name}</h1>`;
    }
}

The final approach is to leave the class as is and create a template file, with the same name as the ts file. On compile time, twc will pick up the file contents and attach it (just like with second approach). Be careful though! If you don't specify outDir, final modules might replace the templates (by default, it will generate html file with the same base name).

Please note TWC uses Polymer templates. To read more about templates and binding please refer to this docs.

Importing scripts and html modules

ES imports do not work in the browsers yet. Instead Polymer uses the HTML Imports. This allows us to use <link> tags to import modules, but how do we do that in TWC?

import "./my-component.html";

Same principle applies to scripts (converted to <script> tags):

import "./some-library.js";

The above are compiled to

<link rel="import" href="./my-component.html">

and

<script src="./some-library.js"></script>

respectively.

Imports from bower

Handling relative paths to bower or npm repositories might be painful. This is where aliases come in handy:

import "bower:polymer/polymer-element.html";
import "npm:jquery/dist/jquery.min.js";

The above will be translated to use the bower directory from .bowerrc and will fall back to bower_components. As most of developers will use polymer-cli to serve the components, paths to bower_components will be translated to as if the project root were inside that folder.

If for any reason you need to change the npm or bower folder names or paths, you can do that by setting bowerDir and npmDir environment variables.

Imports relative to project root

It is also possible to import relative to project root. Just add a ~ in front of the path:

import "~demo/index.html";
import "~bower_components/polymer/polymer-element.html";

Importing members of a module

To import members of other modules (for example importing a behavior), use the ES imports:

import { IronControlState } from "bower:iron-behaviors/iron-control-state.html";

If there is a namespace declared in the definitions, it will automatically upgrade all the instances of imported member.

Please note to allow importing from html modules, you need to generate definitions.

Generating types for Polymer elements/behaviors

To generate the type declarations from existing behaviors/components, use the potts tool. Simply install it globally (npm install potts -g) and run potts in the project root directory. Declarations will be saved to the potts.d.ts file by default (configurable via --outFile or -o flag). This will generate declarations for all html files listen in main section of bower.json file of every bower dependency. All modules will be declared to match the importable path (for example bower:polymer/polymer.html).

Documenting events

Every solid project should have a proper documentation. This also includes documenting events fired by the component. TWC lets you do it with ease by creating an interface that extends Event or CustomEvent.

/** My custom event, which fires when needed */
export interface SomeEvent extends CustomEvent {
  detail: {
    /** Property inside event.detail */
    myCustomProp: string;
  };
}

Default values for properties

Any value set directly to property declaration will be used as the default value. Any not primitive value (Array, Object, etc) will be wrapped with a function:

export class MyElement {
    title: string = '';
    categories: Array = [];
}

will translate to

Polymer({
    properties: {
        title: {
            type: string,
            value: ''
        },
        categories: {
            type: Array,
            value: function() {
                return [];
            }
        }
    }
});

Private properties

Not everything should be added to properties config. To skip that process, property has to be defined as private:

export class MyElement {
    name: string; // is added to properties config
    private hasName: boolean; // is NOT added to properties config
}

ReadOnly properties

Not everything in Polymer can be done with TypeScript keywords, but read only property is as easy as prefixing it readonly:

export class MyElement {
    readonly name: string; // property will have `readOnly` flag
}

Mixins

ES Mixins are supported since TypeScript 2.2. You can read more about them here.

Mixins are NOT supported by Polymer v1

Behaviors

Behaviors are the first approach to sharing functionality in Polymer (now replaced with ES Mixins). They are defined as plain objects with Polymer properties and methods listed just as with Polymer v1 config object. To add a behavior, use the Polymer.mixinBehaviors() mixin (more info here). For Polymer v1, they will be added to behaviors config, while Polymer v2 will use them with above mixin.

Decorators

As mentioned before, not everything can be done with keywords. This is why TWC comes with a set of design-time annotations.

To use them, install twc locally and import in elements' source files as needed:

import { attr, compute, notify, observe, style, template } from 'twc/polymer';

@template

To give your component a body, you need to provide it with a template. This is done using @template annotation, which accepts either HTML template code, or a path to html template (has to have .html extension).

@template(`<h1>Hello {{name}}</h1>`)
export class MyElement {
    name: string;
}
@template(`template.html`)
export class MyElement {
    name: string;
}

@style

Styling the component is as easy as giving it a template. @style annotation accepts css code, css file path or shared style name. Multiple styles can be provided to a single component.

@template(`<h1>Hello {{name}}</h1>`)
@style(`:host {display: block;}`, `style.css`, `shared-styles`)
export class MyElement {
    name: string;
}

@attr and @notify

@attr and @notify add reflectToAttribute and notify flags to properties config.

export class MyElement {
    @attr() name: string; // property will have `reflectToAttribute` flag
    @notify() age: number; // property will have `notify` flag
}

@compute

Computed properties are properties that combine one or more dependencies (watched properties). Whenever any of the dependency changes, computed property method fires and returned result is assigned to the property. More info here. TWC allows to create them in 2 ways: by providing a function name and dependencies array, or by passing a resolver function directly (in that case dependencies can be passed in an array of strings, or as function arguments).

export class MyElement {
    name: string;
    age: number;
    cards: Array<string>;

    // Responds to `name` changes. Property name taken from function argument.
    @compute((name: string) => `Hi, I am ${name}`) greetings: string;

    // Responds to `age` changes. Property name taken from an array.
    @compute((value: number) => value >= 18, [ "age" ]) isAdult: boolean;

    // Responds to both `age` and `name` changes.
    @compute((age: number, name: string) => `${name} is ${age} years old`) aboutMe: string;

    // Responds to length of `cards` array changes. As dependency is a path, it has to be added to an array.
    @compute((size) => size, [ "cards.length" ]) collectionSize: number;

    // Responds to name and length of `cards` array changes. Resolver method is provided by name.
    @compute('_summary', [ "name", "cards.length" ]) summary: string;

    private _summary(name, collectionSize) {
        return `${name} has ${collectionSize} cards`;
    }
}

@observe

You can react to any property or path changes not only by computed properties, but also by observers. Observer does not return anything and this is the only difference between them.

export class MyElement {
    name: string;
    cards: Array<string>;

    // Responds to name and length of `cards` array changes.
    @observe("name", "cards.length") summary(name, collectionSize) {
        console.log(`${name} cards collection size changed to ${collectionSize} cards`;
    }
}

More to come!

Typed Web Components is in an early phase and needs your feedback. Please try it out and if you find a problem post it in issues. Also, do not hesitate to also post ideas!

Roadmap

  • Warn on using reserved property/method name (like classList)
  • Allow expressions in the templates
  • Importing events interfaces (to avoid redeclaration
  • Make relative imports not break if outDir changes the files structure
  • Generate valid source maps
  • Create PolymerTS compatible decorators and workflow

Running tests on Windows

To run tests on Windows (npm run test) it is currently necessary to modify the include section of tsconfig.json file so it contains the pattern below:

{
  "include": [
    "node_modules/@types/**/*.d.ts"
  ]
}