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README.md

ScriptUI

ScriptUI lets you write React components without JSX. It's easy to read. No build or transpilation required.

Installation | Usage | API | Motivation

const Hello = View("div")(
  Text("Hello World")
    .bold()
    .color("red"),
  Button("Alert", () => alert("ScriptUI Rocks!")
);

Installation

ScriptUI has peer dependencies: React, ReactDOM, and Emotion. Browser:

<!-- Include React, ReactDOM, and Emotion first -->
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react/umd/react.production.min.js"></script>
<script src="https://unpkg.com/react-dom/umd/react-dom.production.min.js"></script>
<script src="https://unpkg.com/emotion/dist/emotion.umd.min.js"></script>
<script src="https://unpkg.com/script-ui/public/index.umd.js"></script>
<!-- Include your scripts last -->

Node:

npm install --save script-ui react react-dom emotion

Usage

The following demonstrates how you render your View with ReactDOM.render.

Browser (Try it in CodePen):

// Assuming React & ReactDOM scripts are global.
const { View } = ScriptUI;
const MyView = View("span")("My View");
ReactDOM.render(
  View.render(MyView),
  document.querySelector("#root")
);

Node:

import View from "scriptui";
import ReactDOM from "react-dom";

const MyView = View("span")("My View");
ReactDOM.render(
  View.render(MyView),
  document.querySelector("#root")
);

API

View(type: string|element, props?: object) => (...children?) => view

element: { type, props{}, children[], …View.modifiers }

This is the core of ScriptUI. View is a higher order function that accepts type and props and returns a function that accepts children. When the returned function is called, it returns an element object containing type, props, children, and modifiers. You can use modifiers to apply or manipulate props through method chaining:

const Button = (label, onClick) => 
  View("button")(label)
    .set({ onClick })
    .background("blue")
    .padding("1em 0.5em")
    .radius("0.25em");

Methods and Properties

  • View.renderer: React.createElement
    • The renderer is used to determine how an element object should be interpreted. By default, React.createElement is used. You can use an alternative like Preact, Hyperscript, or write your own!
  • View.render(element: string|object|function) => View.renderer()
    • The render method accepts element objects from View and returns the element returned from View.renderer. For falsy elements, false is returned. String elements are returned as is.
  • View.modifiers: object
    • The modifiers property contains core modifier methods that are available to any element returned from a View.
  • View.addModifiers(newModifiers: object) => void
    • This method allows you to pass an object of modifier methods that can apply custom modifications. These must be instantiated before using the new modifiers.
    • newModifiers must contain functions as values and each function must return the modified object. These should be declared as methods for proper access to this.

Modifiers

Modifiers apply changes to the element object and return the modified object. There are a few modifiers that are included for convenience.

  • set(newProps: object)
    • merges newProps into the props object
  • modify(modifier: (object) => modifiedObject)
    • uses the provided modifier function to apply a modification. Use this for one time or private modifiers
  • style(newStyles: object)
    • merges in the newStyles object into the props.style object
  • class(…classNames: string)
    • applies strings from classNames to the className prop
  • css(newCSS: object)
    • applies newCSS to the element using emotion to generate styles and enable CSS features like child selectors, pseudo-elements, and media queries

Motivation

Today we can build web apps more quickly than ever. But somehow it’s never been harder to do it. To use JSX in your React app, you need node, npm, babel, and webpack. Beginners have to learn all of this just to get started. I think we can do better.

So I wonder: Is JSX the best we can do? Can it be easier?

JSX feels like HTML. So it’s easy to understand. And it has JavaScript super powers. In almost every way, it is better than templating languages. It’s much more legible than using React.createElement . It has a lot going for it.

That said, I find SwiftUI is easier to read than JSX. It’s been designed for Swift. It leverages the power of the language. That makes it more expressive and flexible. It offers insight into how to improve JavaScript UI code.

We don’t have all the same tricks in JavaScript, but we can get very close. So how can we get what’s good about SwiftUI and JSX?

That’s where ScriptUI comes in. The goal is to build a library that is easy to understand and get started with. Reading and writing components should feel intuitive. You shouldn’t need a terminal to start creating. It should feel effortless and encourage experimentation.

If you’re a fellow SwiftUI fan or don’t love all the tooling needed to write JSX, please try it. If you really like it, please share your experience or contribute to the project. Thank you for giving it a chance.

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