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Data Navigator

Data Navigator a web application that uses ReactJS to filter and display JSON data pulled from a web service. Reading this documentation along side working with the examples is probably the best way to understand how everything works.


This project requires ReactJS to function. Additionally, Bootstrap's CSS is used for the default styling and for some UI JavaScript. jQuery is used for some functions as well. The core web application is client-side and can work with any server-side code that accepts and returns JSON. The example web services use PHP.


The Data Navigator is already accompanied by an example web service, but in addition there are two larger examples that query databases instead of just using JSON objects created in the service itself.

  • Data Navigator: The main files - navigator.js and webService.php - simply show the basic functionality and how a web service might be written to work with the client. The data here is simply some of the contents of this project.
  • Pokémon database: example-pokemon.js, example-pokemon.php, and example-pokemon.sql are an example that allow the user to filter Pokémon by various properties such as their type and the generation they first appeared in. This example uses a MySQL database with several tables to obtain data. A live example can probably be found here, as of August 7, 2016.
  • World Sexual Terminology Resource: example-linguistics.js and example-linguistics.php represent the majority of the World Sexual Terminology Resource, which is the main reason this project exists. The resource serves as a live version of the example, so no setup is required to see the Data Navigator in action.


The two main files are index.html and navigator.js. The index file contains the required JavaScript and CSS imports and minimal HTML. The majority of the structure is created using ReactJS and is found in the navigator.js file.



The FullContainer Component holds the three main sections of the application: the SearchBar, the SideBar, and the ResultDisplayBox.


The SideBar contains one or more SideBarModules, which are used to filter results. For example, if the web application were used to search cars, modules could be make, model, and year. Each SideBarModule contains multiple SideBarListItems which, in the car example, would be the makes, models, and years themselves. Clicking SideBarListItems will relay this information to the FullContainer where they will be processed and the filtering will be done.

Each SideBarModule receives its data from a JSON web service which will be described in the Web Services section.


The SearchBar holds both a text area for user input and the Breadcrumb. The text area allows users to search with an arbitrary string in addition to the filters in the SideBar. The Breadcrumb is a container for the BreadcrumbItems, which identify which search query and filters are currently selected and being displayed.


The ResultDisplayBox displays either a welcome message, a "no results found" message, or one or more SingleValues. The SingleValue component is what contains the actual data based on the filters and search query specified. The HTML returned by this Component's render method will likely be changed to suit the data being returned.

In addition to displaying returned data, it also has support to link to related data - clicking on a properly set up link will create another SingleValue below it with that data's information. SingleValues can also have SourceButtons attached to them that, when clicked, will expand the SingleValue to provide more information about it.


At the top of the navigator.js file is the options object, which, in addition to the HTML returned in the SingleValue component, is what will be changed in setting up the application.


When the page is first loaded, this HTML will be displayed in the ResultDisplayBox.


If a search query is entered that returns no results (when paired with the filters, or, if there are no filters, on its own), this HTML will be displayed in the ResultDisplayBox.


All of the BreadcrumbItems have a CSS class assigned to them based on the options. Individual filters have this class assigned in the sidebars array, described below. The BreadcrumbItem created by the user search will use this property for its class.


This is an array describing all of the filters that will have SideBarModules created for them. Each element in the array is a JavaScript object with the following properties:

  • name: The text that will appear at the top of the SideBarModule describing this filter.
  • breadcrumbName: The text that will appear when this filter is in a BreadcrumbItem.
  • breadcrumbClass: The class that will be given to BreadcrumbItems based on this filter.
  • filterType: The name of this filter to pass to web services. Filters are passed in an array of objects with "key" and "value" properties. This is the "key."
  • getUrl: The path to the web service that will populate the SideBarModule for this filter.


The path to the web service that will populate the ResultDisplayBox.


When SingleValues have child, parent, sibling, or other related data, a web service will be called to get just the data for that related data instead of doing a search like the web service in contentURL. This property is the path to that web service.


An optional path to the web service that will pull sources that would be used by SingleValues and SourceButtons. If left blank, source buttons should not be used.


If "none", all SideBarModules will be expanded on page load. If "all", they will all be collapsed. If "first", then the first SideBarModule will be expanded, and the rest will be collapsed. Any other values are interpreted as "none."

Web Services

This web application uses three web services or functions, plus one for each SideBarModule. All web services return a JSON object with two values: "success" and "result." "success" is a boolean that is true when the web service executed successfully. "result" contains another JSON object or array of JSON objects, the contents of which vary depending on which web service it is.

Source Gather

The path to this web service is stored in sourcesURL in the options object. It is called once when the page first loads and its results are stored in the FullContainer's state variable. Unlike most of the other services, this service takes no input and is a "GET" request. Its result object is an array of JSON objects. The contents of these may be changed during setup to whatever is needed in the end result.

Content Getter

The path to this web service is stored in contentURL in the options object. Whenever a search is input or a filter is applied/removed, this service is called to populate the ResultDisplayBox. It uses "POST" and takes the "filters" JSON array, described below, as input. Its result object is an array of JSON objects. The contents of these may be changed during setup to whatever is needed in the end result.

SideBarModule Getters

Each object in the sidebars array in the options object has a getUrl value, which is the path to this web service. On the page's first load, this is called with an empty "filters" JSON array as input to populate the SideBarModules. Whenever a search is performed or a filter is changed, the SideBarModules are updated again with this web service. Like the Content Getter, it uses "POST." Its result object is an array of JSON objects that have the following key value pairs:

  • code: The value for this filter - when filtering by this item, this will be what is passed in the "filters" JSON array.
  • name: The display name for this filter, which will be shown in the SideBarListItem.
  • count: The number of items that match this filter. This number will be displayed next to the name in the SideBarListItem.
  • id: Used by ReactJS to ensure each SideBarListItem created has a unique key.
"filters" JSON

The "filters" JSON array is an array of objects - each one has two properties: key and value. The key will be the filterType from the SideBarModule's accompanying object in the options object's sidebars array, and the value will be the code of the selected SideBarListItem.

Single Item Getter

The path to this web service is stored in contentSingleURL* in the options object. When a SingleValue has a child, parent, sibling, or other related data, this web service will be called to get information about this object. It is called using "GET" with the id of the relevant data as its input. The result will be a single-valued array containing an object with the same format as the objects returned in the Content Getter service.


ReactJS web app to filter and display JSON data from a web service.





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