Efficiently render and re-render immutable data
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Readme.md

dumdom - The dumb DOM component library

dumdom is a component library that renders (and re-renders) immutable data efficiently. It delivers on the basic value proposition of React and its peers while eschewing features like component local state and object oriented APIs, and embracing ClojureScript features like immutable data structures.

dumdom is API compatible with Quiescent, and can be used as a drop-in replacement for it so long as you don't use React features directly.

dumdom is currently a wrapper for Snabbdom, but that should be considered an implementation detail, and may be subject to change. Using snabbdom features not explicitly exposed by dumdom is not recommended.

dumdom aims to be finished, stable, and worthy of your trust. Breaking changes will never be intentionally introduced to the codebase. For this reason, dumdom does not adhere to the "semantic" versioning scheme.

In addition to being API compatible with Quiescent, dumdom supports:

  • Rendering to strings (useful for server-side rendering from both the JVM and node.js)
  • Efficient "inflation" of server-rendered markup on the client side
  • Hiccup syntax for components

Table of contents

Install

With tools.deps:

cjohansen/dumdom {:mvn/version "2019.02.03-3"}

With Leiningen:

[cjohansen/dumdom "2019.02.03-3"]

Example

Using hiccup-style data:

(require '[dumdom.core :as dumdom :refer [defcomponent]])

(defcomponent heading
  :on-render (fn [dom-node val old-val])
  [data]
  [:h2 {:style {:background "#000"}} (:text data)])

(defcomponent page [data]
  [:div
    [heading (:heading data)]
    [:p (:body data)]])

(dumdom/render
 [page {:heading {:text "Hello world"}
        :body "This is a web page"}]
 (js/document.getElementById "app"))

Using the Quiescent-compatible function API:

(require '[dumdom.core :as dumdom :refer [defcomponent]]
         '[dumdom.dom :as d])

(defcomponent heading
  :on-render (fn [dom-node val old-val])
  [data]
  (d/h2 {:style {:background "#000"}} (:text data)))

(defcomponent page [data]
  (d/div {}
    (heading (:heading data))
    (d/p {} (:body data))))

(dumdom/render
 (page {:heading {:text "Hello world"}
        :body "This is a web page"})
 (js/document.getElementById "app"))

Rationale

Of the many possible options, Quiescent is to me the perfect expression of "React in ClojureScript". It's simple, light-weight, does not allow component-local state, and pitches itself as strictly a rendering library, not a state management tool or UI framework.

While Quiescent has been done (as in "complete") for a long time, it is built on React, which is on a cycle of recurring "deprecations" and API changes, making it hard to keep Quiescent up to date with relevant security patches etc. At the same time, React keeps adding features which are of no relevance to the API Quiescent exposes, thus growing the total bundle size for no advantage to its users.

dumdom provides the same API as that of Quiescent, but does not depend on React. It aims to be as stable and complete as Quiescent, but still be able to ship occasional security patches as they are made to the underlying virtual DOM library. dumdom aims to reduce the amount of churn in your UI stack.

Limitations

Because dumdom is not based on React, you opt out of the "React ecosystem" entirely by using it. If you depend on a lot of open source/shared React components, or other React-oriented tooling, dumdom might not be the best fit for you.

Because dumdom does not offer any kind of component local state, it cannot be used as a wholistic UI framework - it's just a rendering library. It does not come with any system for routing, dispatching actions, or managing state (either inside or outside of components), and is generally a batteries-not-included tool. I consider this a strength, others may see it differently.

Differences from Quiescent

Dumdom strives to be API compliant with Quiescent to the degree that it should be a drop-in replacement for Quiescent in any project that does not rely explicitly on any React APIs or third-party components. It does not necessarily commit to all the same restrictions that the Quiescent API imposes. The following is a list of minor details between the two:

  • Quiescent does not allow the use of :on-render along with either of :on-mount and :on-update. Dumdom acknowledges that some components will implement :on-render and :on-mount or :on-update, and allows this.
  • Dumdom doesn't really care about TransitionGroup. You are free to use them, but the animation callbacks will work equally well outside TransitionGroup. This may cause breakage in some cases when porting from Quiescent to Dumdom. The risk is pretty low, and the upside is significant enough to allow Dumdom to take this liberty.

Using with Devcards

Devcards is a system for rendering React components in isolation. Because dumdom components are not React components, they need some wrapping for Devcards to make sense of them. This is what the dumdom.devcards namespace is for:

(require '[dumdom.devcards :refer-macros [defcard]])

(defcard my-dumdom-card
  (my-dumdom-component {:value 0}))

dumdom.devcards.defcard works exactly the same as devcards.core.defcard.

Dumdom requires Devcards 0.2.6.

Contribute

Feel free to report bugs and, even better, provide bug fixing pull requests! Make sure to add tests for your fixes, and make sure the existing ones stay green before submitting fixes.

make test

You can also run the tests in a browser with figwheel, which might be more useful during development:

clojure -A:dev

Then open http://localhost:9500/figwheel-extra-main/tests.

If you have ideas for new features, please open an issue to discuss the idea and the API before implementing it to avoid putting lots of work into a pull request that might be rejected. I intend to keep dumdom a focused package, and don't want it to accrete a too wide/too losely coherent set of features.

Documentation

The vast majority of use-cases are covered by using hiccup-style markup for DOM elements, defining custom components with defcomponent, and rendering the resulting virtual DOM to an element with render:

(require '[dumdom.core :as dumdom :refer [defcomponent]])

(defcomponent my-component [data]
  [:div
    [:h1 "Hello world!"]
    [:p (:message data)]])

(dumdom/render
  (my-component {:message "Hello, indeed"})
  (js/document.getElementById "app"))

Components defined by defcomponent are functions, as demonstrated in the above example. You can also use them for hiccup markup, e.g.:

(dumdom/render
  [my-component {:message "Hello, indeed"}]
  (js/document.getElementById "app"))

The strength of hiccup markup is being able to represent DOM structures as pure data. Because functions are not data, there is no real benefit to using hiccup syntax for custom components, so I typically don't, but it doesn't make any difference either way.

Building virtual DOM

Virtual DOM elements are built with hiccup markup:

[tagname attr? children...]

tagname is always a keyword, attributes are in an optional map, and there might be one or more children, or a list of children. Beware that children should not be provided as a vector, lest it be interpreted as a new hiccup element.

Note: dumdom currently does not support inlining class names and ids on the tag name selector (e.g. :div.someclass#someid). This might be added in a future release.

For API compatibility with Quiescent, elements can also be created with the functions in dumdom.dom:

(dumdom.dom/div {:style {:border "1px solid red"}} "Hello world")

Note that with these functions, the attribute map is not optional, and must always be provided, even if empty.

Keys

You can specify the special attribute :key do help dumdom recognize DOM elements that move. :key should be set to a value that is unique among the element's siblings. For instance, if you are rendering lists of things, setting a key on each item means dumdom can update the rendered view by simply moving existing elements around in the DOM. Not setting the key will lead dumdom to work harder to align the DOM with the virtual representation:

(require '[dumdom.core :as dumdom :refer [defcomponent]])

(defcomponent list-item [fruit]
  [:li {:key fruit} fruit])

(def el (js/document.getElementById "app"))

(dumdom/render [:ul (map list-item ["Apples" "Oranges" "Kiwis"])] el)

;; This will now result in reordering the DOM elements, instead of recreating them
(dumdom/render [:ul (map list-item ["Oranges" "Apples" "Kiwis"])] el)

Event listeners

To attach events to your virtual DOM nodes, provide functions to camel-cased event name keys in the attribute map:

[:a {:href "#"
     :onClick (fn [e]
                (.preventDefault e)
                (prn "You clicked me!"))} "Click me!"]

Creating components

You create components with defcomponent or component - the first is just a convenience macro for def + component:

(require '[dumdom.core :refer [component defcomponent]])

(defcomponent my-component
  :on-render (fn [e] (js/console.log "Rendered" e))
  [data]
  [:div "Hello world"])

;; ...is the same as:

(def my-component
  (component
    (fn [data]
      [:div "Hello world"])
    {:on-render (fn [e] (js/console.log "Rendered" e))}))

Refer to the API docs for component for details on what options it supports, life-cycle hooks etc, and the API docs for defcomponent for more on how to use it.

A dumdom component is a function. When you call it with data it returns something that dumdom knows how to render, e.g.:

(dumdom.core/render (my-component {:id 42}) root-el)

You can also invoke the component with hiccup markup, although there is no real benefit to doing so - the result is exactly the same:

(dumdom.core/render [my-component {:id 42}] root-el)

Component arguments

When you call a dumdom component with data, it will recreate the virtual DOM node only if the data has changed since it was last called. However, this decision is based solely on the first argument passed to the component. So while you can pass any number of arguments to a component beware that only the first one is used to influence rendering decisions.

This design is inherited from Quiescent, and the idea is that you can pass along things like core.async message channels without having them interferring with the rendering decisions. When passing more than one argument to a dumdom component, make sure that any except the first one are constant for the lifetime of the component.

This only applies to components created with component/defcomponent, not virtual DOM functions, which take any number of DOM children.

CSS transitions

CSS transitions can be defined inline on components to animate the appearing or disappearing of elements. There are three keys you can use to achieve this effect:

  • :mounted-style - Styles that will apply after the element has been mounted
  • :leaving-style - Styles that will apply before the element is removed from its parent - the element will not be removed until all its transitions complete
  • :disappearing-style - Styles that will apply before the element is removed along with its parent element is being removed - the element will not be removed until all its transitions are complete

As an example, if you want an element to fade in, set its opacity to 0, and then its :mounted-style opacity to 1. To fade it out as well, set its :leaving-styles opacity to 0 again. Remember to enable transitions for the relevant CSS property:

[:div {:style {:opacity "0"
               :transition "opacity 0.25s"}
       :mounted-style {:opacity "1"}
       :leaving-style {:opacity "0"}}
  "I will fade both in and out"]

Class name transitions

In order to be API compatible with Quiescent, dumdom supports React's CSSTransitionGroup for doing enter/leave transitions with classs names instead of inline CSS. Given the following CSS:

.example-leave {
  opacity: 1;
  transition: opacity 0.25s;
}

.example-leave-active {
  opacity: 0;
}

Then we could fade out an element with:

(require '[dumdom.core :refer [CSSTransitionGroup]])

(CSSTransitionGroup {:transitionName "example"}
  [[:div "I will fade out"]])

Note that CSSTransitionGroup takes a vector/seq of children. Refer to the API docs for CSSTransitionGroup for more details. In general, using inline CSS transitions will be more straight-forward, and is recommended.

Refs

A :ref on an element is like an :on-mount callback that you can attach from "the outside":

;; NB! Just an example, there are better ways to do this with CSS

(defn square-element [el]
  (set! (.. el -style -height) (str (.-offsetWidth el) "px")))

[:div {:style {:border "1px solid red"}
       :ref square-element} "I will be in a square box"]

The :ref function will be called only once, when the element is first mounted. Use this feature with care - do not use it with functions that behave differently at different times. Consider this example:

(defcomponent my-component [data]
  [:div
    [:h1 "Example"]
    [:div {:ref (when (:actionable? data)
                  setup-click-indicator)}
      "I might or might not be clickable"]])

While this looks reasonable, refs are only called when the element mounts. Thus, if the value of (:actionable? data) changes, the changes will not be reflected on the element. If you need to conditionally make changes to an element this way, create a custom component and use the :on-render hook instead, which is called every time data changes.

Server rendering

Dumdom supports rendering your components to strings on the server and then "inflating" the view client-side. Inflating consists of associating the resulting DOM elements with their respective virtual DOM nodes, so dumdom can efficiently update your UI, and adding client-side event handlers so users can interact with your app.

Even though it sounds straight-forward, using server rendering requires that you write your entire UI layer in a way that can be loaded on both the server and client. This is easier said than done.

To render your UI to a string on the server:

(require '[dumdom.string :as dumdom])

(defn body []
  (str "<html><body><div id=\"app\">"
       (dumdom/render [:div [:h1 "Hello world"]])
       "</div></body></html>"))

(defn index [req]
  {:status 200
   :headers {"content-type" "text/html"}
   :body (body)})

Then, on the client:

(require '[dumdom.inflate :as dumdom])

(dumdom/render
  [:div [:h1 "Hello world]]
  (js/document.getElementById "app"))

To update your view, either call dumdom.inflate/render again, or use dumdom.core/render.

API Docs

(dumdom.core/render component element)

Render the virtual DOM node created by the component into the specified DOM element. Component can be either hiccup-style data, like [:div {} "Hello"] or the result of calling component functions, e.g. (dumdom.dom/div {} "Hello").

(dumdom.core/component render-fn [opt])

Returns a component that uses the provided function for rendering. The resulting component will only call through to its rendering function when called with data that is different from the data that produced the currently rendered version of the component.

The rendering function can be called with any number of arguments, but only the first one will influence rendering decisions. You should call the component with a single immutable value, followed by any number of other arguments, as desired. These additional constant arguments are suitable for passing messaging channels, configuration maps, and other utilities that are constant for the lifetime of the rendered element.

The rendering function can return hiccup-style data or the result of calling component functions.

The optional opts argument is a map with additional properties:

:on-mount - A function invoked once, immediately after initial rendering. It is passed the rendered DOM node, and all arguments passed to the render function.

:on-update - A function invoked immediately after an updated is flushed to the DOM, but not on the initial render. It is passed the underlying DOM node, the value, and any constant arguments passed to the render function.

:on-render - A function invoked immediately after the DOM is updated, both on the initial render and subsequent updates. It is passed the underlying DOM node, the value, the old value, and any constant arguments passed to the render function.

:on-unmount - A function invoked immediately before the component is unmounted from the DOM. It is passed the underlying DOM node, the most recent value and the most recent constant args passed to the render fn.

:will-appear - A function invoked when this component is added to a mounting container component. Invoked at the same time as :on-mount. It is passed the underlying DOM node, a callback function, the most recent value and the most recent constant args passed to the render fn. The callback should be called to indicate that the element is done "appearing".

:did-appear - A function invoked immediately after the callback passed to :will-appear is called. It is passed the underlying DOM node, the most recent value, and the most recent constant args passed to the render fn.

:will-enter - A function invoked when this component is added to an already mounted container component. Invoked at the same time as :on.mount. It is passed the underlying DOM node, a callback function, the value and any constant args passed to the render fn. The callback function should be called to indicate that the element is done entering.

:did-enter - A function invoked after the callback passed to :will-enter is called. It is passed the underlying DOM node, the value and any constant args passed to the render fn.

:will-leave - A function invoked when this component is removed from its containing component. Is passed the underlying DOM node, a callback function, the most recent value and the most recent constant args passed to the render fn. The DOM node will not be removed until the callback is called.

:did-leave - A function invoked after the callback passed to :will-leave is called (at the same time as :on-unmount). Is passed the underlying DOM node, the most recent value and the most recent constant args passed to the render fn.

(dumdom.core/defcomponent name & args)

Creates a component with the given name, a docstring (optional), any number of option->value pairs (optional), an argument vector and any number of forms body, which will be used as the rendering function to dumdom.core/component.

For example:

(defcomponent widget
  \"A Widget\"
  :on-mount #(...)
  :on-render #(...)
  [value constant-value]
  (some-child-components))

Is shorthand for:

(def widget (dumdom.core/component
  (fn [value constant-value] (some-child-components))
  {:on-mount #(...)
   :on-render #(...)}))

(dumdom.core/TransitionGroup opt children)

Exists solely for drop-in compatibility with Quiescent. Effectively does nothing. Do not use for new applications.

(dumdom.core/CSSTransitionGroup opt children)

Automates animation of entering and leaving elements via class names. If called with {:transitionName "example"} as opt, child elements will have class names set on them at appropriate times.

When the transition group mounts, all pre-existing children will have the class name example-enter set on them. Then, example-enter-active is set. When all transitions complete on the child node, example-enter-active will be removed again.

When elements are added to an already mounted transition group, they will have the class name example-appear added to them, if appear animations are enabled (they are not by default). Then the class name example-appear-active will be set, and then removed after all transitions complete.

When elements are removed from the transition group, the class name example-leave will be set, followed by example-leave-active, which is then removed after transitions complete.

You can control which transitions are used on elements, and how their classes are named with the following options:

transitionName

When set to a string: base-name for all classes. Can also be set to a map to control individual class names:

{:transitionName {:enter "entrance"}} ;; entrance / entrance-active
{:transitionName {:enter "enter" :enterActive "entering"}} enter / entering

And similarly for :leave/:leaveActive and :appear/:appearActive.

transitionEnter

Boolean, set to false to disable enter transitions. Defaults to true.

transitionAppear

Boolean, set to true to enable appear transitions. Defaults to false.

transitionLeave

Boolean, set to false to disable leave transitions. Defaults to true.

(dumdom.dom/[el] attr children)

Functions are defined for every HTML element:

(dumdom.dom/a {:href "https://cjohansen.no/"} "Blog")

Attributes are not optional, use an empty map if you don't have attributes. Children can be text, components, virtual DOM elements (like the one above), or a seq with a mix of those.

(dumdom.core/render-string component)

Renders component to string. Available on Clojure as well, and can be used to do server-side rendering of dumdom components.

(dumdom.inflate/render component el)

Renders the component into the provided element. If el contains server-rendered dumdom components, it will be inflated faster than a fresh render (which forcefully rebuilds the entire DOM tree).

NB! Currently, only string keys are supported. If a component uses non-string keys, inflating will not work, and it will be forcefully re-rendered. This limitation might be adressed in a future release.

Examples

Unfortunately, there is no TodoMVC implementation yet, but there is Yahtzee! Please get in touch if you've used dumdom for anything and I'll happily include a link to your app.

Changelog

2019.02.03-3

  • Built jar with a different version of pack.alpha, so cljdoc is able to analyze it

2019.01.21

  • Document and launch :mounted-style, :leaving-style, and :disappearing-style

2019.01.19

  • Added support for hiccup-style data
  • Added rendering components to strings
  • Added inflating server-rendered DOM

2018.12.22

  • Added snabbdom externs that hold up during advanced compilation

2018.12.21

Initial release

Roadmap

  • Provide TodoMVC app
  • Port Snabbdom (roughly, not API compatibly) to ClojureScript

License

Copyright © 2018-2019 Christian Johansen

Distributed under the Eclipse Public License either version 1.0 or (at your option) any later version.