Compile transform your JSX templates into a template engine that works client AND server side
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README.md

react-jsx

From bigpipe.ioVersion npmBuild StatusDependenciesCoverage Status

The react-jsx module allows you to compile your JSX (.jsx) templates to:

  • React's React.createElement DOM syntax (default for server and client).
  • React's HTML output.
  • Pure HTML output.

These templates can be used on the server and client. This way you can move your JSX templates out of your React.createClass's render method and to it's own template files which leads to a more manageable code base.

In addition to the features mentioned above we also eliminated the requirement of "global" and "locally" scoped variables in your template. You can now pass in the data using a data argument.

By using the same templates on the front and back-end you can create progressively enhanced and SEO friendly web pages.

Table of Contents

Installation

The module is published in the public npm registry and can be installed using:

npm install --save react-jsx

And that's it! To learn more about how the API works, continue to the [usage] section.

Versioning

The minor version of this module is in sync with the version of react and react-tools that we depend upon. Bug fixes to this library will be done as patch releases so you should read our versioning as:

<react.major.version>.<react.minor.version>.<our.react-jsx-module.patches>

The earliest version of react that we support is 0.12. So please note that our 0.0.x releases CAN include a breaking change so when you're adding this module to your package.json make sure you put down the full semver version.

Usage

In all of the examples we assume that you've already required the jsx compiler as following:

'use strict';

var jsx = require('react-jsx');

This jsx variable now contains 3 methods:

  • server Use this method if you want transform your jsx templates for server-side usage. We will automatically inject React as global in the templates so it all works as intended. We will return a function which you can call to render your template.
  • client Use this method if you want to transform your jsx templates for client-side usage. It assumes that React is already available as global on the page. We will return a function which you can call to render you template.
  • transform Our internal compiler which transforms the JSX templates to a template API.

Both the server and client method share the same API for compiling and rendering:

var template = fs.readFileSync('template.jsx', 'utf-8');

var server = jsx.server(template, { /* options */});
var client = jsx.client(template, {});

console.log(server({ data: 'for template' }));

And they also share the same options:

  • filename: File name of the template file we're about to process. This will be used for debugging purposes in the inlined source map when you've set debug to true.
  • debug: When set to true, we will automatically inline source map.
  • ecma: Which ECMA version should the template be compiled towards. It defaults to es3 for the client and es5 on the server.
  • types Don't use strict types.
  • raw This allows you to control how the generated HTML is outputted. By default we output the React generated HTML which is full of data-react-xxx attributes. Setting this option to true will return a clean HTML instead.

When rendering the templates both the server and client method will return the expected React.createElement nodes just like you would normally do in your templates so you can easily share templates with child/parent relations. If you want the template methods. But your might want to output the raw/pure HTML instead. This can be done by supplying { html: true } as option to the template function:

var template = fs.readFileSync('/path/to/template.jsx', 'utf-8')
  , render = jsx.server(template, { filename: 'template.jsx' });

console.log(render({ foo: 'bar' }, { html: true }));

Passing data around

The generated client and server functions accept data or "scope" for the templates as first argument:

render({ foo: 'bar' });

If you want to set a custom this context for the template you could call the returned template function as followed:

render.call({ custom: 'this', value: 'is possible' });

But the template function we've generated is smart enough to figure out if you're passing around React instances and will automatically set the supplied data argument as context:

var HelloWorld = React.createClass({
  render: function render() {
    return render(this);
  }
});

So in the example above the data argument is set to this so it will automatically be introduced as this in the template AND all properties and methods will also be introduced as local variables. So if where to mixins the React.Intl module in the class above your template would have access to <FormattedMessage> components:

var HelloWorld = React.createClass({
  mixins: [require('react-intl').IntlMixin]
  render: function render() {
    return render(this);
  }
});

And the template that you would render could then contain:

<FormattedMessage
  message={this.getIntlMessage('post.meta')}
  num={this.props.post.comments.length}
  ago={<FormattedRelative value={this.props.post.date} />}
/>

Templates

The .jsx templates that you're creating should only contain the parts that are transformed in to React.createElement's. In addition to that there is no need to return or module.exports the template. This is all taken care of under the hood. The following example would a valid example of this:

<div>
  <input type="text" value={foo} />
</div>;

Working with components isn't a problem either, you can still pass them around using the data argument of the template function as illustrated in this HTTP server example:

var http = require('http')
  , path = require('path')
  , React = require('react')
  , jsx = require('react-jsx')
  , read = require('fs').readFileSync;

var templates = {
  hello: jsx.server(read(path.join(__dirname, 'hello.jsx'), 'utf-8')),
  index: jsx.server(read(path.join(__dirname, 'index.jsx'), 'utf-8'))
};

var HelloWorld = React.createClass({
  render: function render() {
    return templates.hello(this);
  }
});

http.createServer(function (req, res) {
  res.statusCode = 200;
  res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/html');

  res.end(templates.index({
    HelloWorld: HelloWorld,
    title: 'Hello world',
    another: 'variable'
  }, { html: true }));
}).listen(8080);
/* index.jsx */
<html>
  <head>
    <title>{title}</title>
  </head>
  <body>
    <HelloWorld name={another} />
  </body>
</html>
/* hello.jsx */
<div>
  Hello world, you're just another {this.props.name}
</div>

Client-side

The client that we generate is a function but is optimized for ES3 so it works in older browser versions without any addition hassle. As the jsx.client() method returns a function you might need to transform this to a string if you want to use it for client side templates. The string transformation is quite easy to do:

var build = 'var mytemplate = '+ jsx.client(template).toString();

The .toString() method automatically transforms the function in to an anonymous function. In the example above we saved the template as mytemplate variable. So when we store this a JavaScript file to disk using a fs.writeFileSync('/mytemplate.js', build); we can easily access the template on the client side by referencing the mytemplate global.

So with this knowledge, an illustration of this:

var Component = React.createClass({
  render: function render() {
    return mytemplate({ foo: 'bar' });
  }
});

Output

To give you an idea about what we're actually generating here, lets take the following JSX template and convert it a client and server template:

<div>
  <input type="text" value={defaultValue} />
  <button onclick="alert('clicked!');">Click Me!</button>
  <ul>
    {['un', 'deux', 'trois'].map(function(number) {
      return <li>{number}</li>;
    })}
  </ul>
</div>;

When we compile this template for server-side usage with the raw and html options enabled:

var server = jsx.server(template, { raw: true });
console.log(server({ defaultValue: 10 }, { html: true }));

It will generate the following output:

<div><input type="text" value="10"><button>Click Me!</button><ul><li>un</li><li>deux</li><li>trois</li></ul></div>

And with the raw option set to false it will generate:

<div data-reactid=".26uh899yvb4" data-react-checksum="-314283895"><input type="text" value="10" data-reactid=".26uh899yvb4.0"><button data-reactid=".26uh899yvb4.1">Click Me!</button><ul data-reactid=".26uh899yvb4.2"><li data-reactid=".26uh899yvb4.2.0">un</li><li data-reactid=".26uh899yvb4.2.1">deux</li><li data-reactid=".26uh899yvb4.2.2">trois</li></ul></div>

But by default we will just return React.createElement structures:

var client = jsx.client(template);
console.log(client({ defaultValue: 10 }));

Returns the expected React.createElement structure:

React.createElement("div", null,
  React.createElement("input", {type: "text", value: defaultValue}),
  React.createElement("button", {onclick: "alert('clicked!');"}, "Click Me!"),
  React.createElement("ul", null,
    ['un', 'deux', 'trois'].map(function(number) {
      return React.createElement("li", null, number);
    })
  )
);

Warnings

As we are using the react-tools to compile the templates to all the nice things it can happen that it output's "useful" information about your templates in the terminal. For example for the template used above you would see the following warning in your terminal:

Warning: You provided a `value` prop to a form field without an `onChange`
handler. This will render a read-only field. If the field should be mutable use
`defaultValue`. Otherwise, set either `onChange` or `readOnly`.

There's not really a way to prevent this from happening except for running your code with NODE_ENV=production as this will silence the warnings.

License

MIT