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A flexible JavaScript Object and JSON to HTML converter with a focus on forms

branch: master
readme.md

The jQuery.dForm plugin generates HTML markup from JavaScript objects and JSON with a focus on HTML forms.

Some things you can do:

  • naturally generate JavaScript enhanced markup with your own extensions and custom types
  • use JavaScript and JSON instead of HTML markup since your page doesn't run without JS anyway
  • have an easy way to include jQuery UI elements and other jQuery plugins (some supported out of the box)
  • scaffold forms from business objects of your server side framework

Get started

Download the latest version 1.1.0 (min) (~7 Kb minified)

Include it in your jQuery powered page and try this:

<script type="text/javascript">
    $(function() {
      // Generate a form
        $("#myform").dform({
            "action" : "index.html",
            "method" : "get",
            "html" :
            [
                {
                    "type" : "p",
                    "html" : "You must login"
                },
                {
                    "name" : "username",
                    "id" : "txt-username",
                    "caption" : "Username",
                    "type" : "text",
                    "placeholder" : "E.g. user@example.com"
                },
                {
                    "name" : "password",
                    "caption" : "Password",
                    "type" : "password"
                },
                {
                    "type" : "submit",
                    "value" : "Login"
                }
            ]
        });
    });
</script>
<form id="myform"></form>

Or to quickly load an external form definition:

<script type="text/javascript">
    $(function() {
      // Load the form object from path/to/form.json
        $("#myform").dform('path/to/form.json', function(data) {
          this //-> Generated $('#myform')
          data //-> data from path/to/form.json
        });
</script>
<form id="myform"></form>

Demo:

Learn more:

Types

Type generators are functions that return a new jQuery DOM object for a specific type. If there is no type generator for that type, a basic HTML tag with that name will be created. Every other key in the JavaScript object you pass (the dForm object) will be used as an HTML attribute, except if there is a subscriber registered for that key. A plugin call like this:

$('#my-div').dform({
    type : "span",
    id : "the-span"
});

Will append an empty <span id="the-span"></span> to the selected element.

Core types

Besides standard HTML tags the following core types are supported:

container { "type" : "container" }
Creates a <div> container (you can also use { "type" : "div" })

text { "type" : "text" }
Creates a text input field

password { "type" : "password" }
Creates a password input field

submit { "type" : "submit" }
Creates a submit button input element

reset { "type" : "reset" }
Creates a reset button input element

hidden { "type" : "hidden" }
Creates a hidden input element

file { "type" : "file" }
Create a file upload field

radio { "type" : "radio" }
Creates a radio button

checkbox { "type" : "checkbox" }
Creates a checkbox

radiobuttons { "type" : "radiobuttons" }
Creates a group of radiobuttons (uses options subscriber explained below)

checkboxes { "type" : "checkboxes" }
Creates a group of checkboxes (uses options subscriber explained below)

number { "type" : "number" }
Creates an HTML 5 number input field

url { "type" : "url" }
Creates an HTML 5 url input field

tel { "type" : "tel" }
Creates an HTML 5 phone number input field

email { "type" : "email" }
Creates an HTML 5 email input field

Add your own

You can add your own types by calling $.dform.addType and pass the type name and a function that takes the dForm object as a parameter and returns a new jQuery DOM element:

$.dform.addType("hellobutton", function(options) {
    // Return a new button element that has all options that
    // don't have a registered subscriber as attributes
    return $("<button>").dform('attr', options).html("Say hello");
});

The type generator uses the attr plugin method to add the proper HTML attributes to the button. Now the new type can be used like this:

$('#myform').dform({
    "type" : "hellobutton",
    "id" : "my-button"
});

Which generates:

<button id="my-button" class="ui-dform-hellobutton">Say hello</button>

Type generators can be chained. That means, that if you add a type that already exists this in the generator function will refer to the element returned by its previous generator:

$.dform.addType("text", function(options) {
    return $(this).addClass('my-textfield-class');
});

$('#myform').dform({
    type : 'text'
});

Now generates

<input type="text" class="ui-dform-text my-textfield-class" />

Subscribers

While type generators are being used to generate a base element for the given type, subscribers attach to certain attributes in the dForm object. When traversing the object, all subscribers registered for that key will be executed on the current element.

Core subscribers

class {String}
Adds a class to the current element (instead of setting the attribute) using .addClass().

{
    "type" : "div",
    "class" : "the-div container"
}

Generates:

<div class="ui-dform-div the-div container"></div>

html/elements {String|Array|Object}
Based on the options it either sets the HTML string content of the current element or appends one or an array of dForm objects. The elements subscriber does the same but is kept for backwards compatibility.

{
    "type" : "div",
    "html" : "Div content"
}

Generates:

<div class="ui-dform-div">Div content</div>

This subscriber can also be used to create nested objects by using one or an array of dForm objects:

{
    "type" : "div",
    "html" :
    [
        {
            "type" : "text"
        },
        {
            "type" : "div",
            "html" : {
                "type" : "p",
                "html" : "A paragraph"
            }
        }
    ]
}

Generates:

<div class="ui-dform-div">
    <input type="text" class="ui-dform-text" />
    <div class="ui-dform-div">
        <p class="ui-dform-p">A paragraph</p>
    </div>
</div>

value {String|Function}
Sets the value of the element using .val()

{
    "type" : "text",
    "value" : "Text content"
}

Generates:

<input type="text" value="Text content" />

css {Object}
Sets CSS properties on an element using .css():

{
    "type" : "div",
    "css" : {
        "background-color" : "#FF0000",
        "display" : "none"
    }
}

Generates:

<div class="ui-dform-div" style="background-color: #FF0000; display: none;"></div>

options {Object}
Generates a list of options from a value to text (or dForm Object) mapping for elements of type select:

{
    "type" : "select",
    "options" : {
        "us" : "USA",
        "ca" : "Canada",
        "de" : {
            "selected" : "selected",
            "html" : "Germany"
        }
    }
}

Generates:

<select>
    <option value="us">USA</option>
    <option value="ca">Canada</option>
    <option value="de" selected="selected">Germany</option>
</select>

radiobuttons and checkboxes work similarly:

{
    "type" : "select",
    "options" : {
        "us" : "USA",
        "ca" : {
            "checked" : "checked",
            "caption" : "Canada"
        },
        "de" : "Germany"
    }
}

To use option groups just pass an object of type optgroup:

{
    "type" : "select",
    "options" : {
      "northamerica" : {
        "type" : "optgroup",
        "label" : "North America",
        "options" : {
      "us" : "USA",
      "ca" : "Canada"
        }
      },
      "europe" : {
        "type" : "optgroup",
        "label" : "Europe",
        "options" : {
          "de" : {
        "selected" : "selected",
        "html" : "Germany"
      },
      "fr" : "France"
        }
      }
    }
}

You can also use options on checkboxes and radiobuttons which will create a list of checkbox or radio elements:

{
    "type" : "checkboxes",
    "options" : {
        "newsletter" : "Receive the newsletter",
        "terms" : "I read the terms of service",
        "update" : "Keep me up to date on new events"
    }
}

Generates:

<div class="ui-dform-checkboxes">
    <input type="checkbox" class="ui-dform-checkbox" value="newsletter">
    <label class="ui-dform-label">Receive the newsletter</label>
    <input type="checkbox" class="ui-dform-checkbox" value="terms">
    <label class="ui-dform-label">I read the terms of service</label>
    <input type="checkbox" class="ui-dform-checkbox" value="update">
    <label class="ui-dform-label">Keep me up to date on new events</label>
</div>

Note: The Google Chrome JavaScript engine V8 orders object keys that can be cast to numbers by their value and not by the order of their definition.

caption {String|Object}
Adds a caption to the element. The type used depends on the element type:

  • A legend on fieldset elements
  • A label next to radio or checkbox elements
  • A label before any other element

If the element has its id set, the for attribute of the label will be set as well.

{
    "type" : "text",
    "name" : "username",
    "id" : "username",
    "caption" : "Enter your username"
}

Generates:

<label for="username" class="ui-dform-label">Enter your username</label>
<input type="text" class="ui-dform-text" id="username" />

For fieldsets:

{
    "type" : "fieldset",
    "caption" : "Address"
}

Generates:

<fieldset class="ui-dform-fieldset">
    <legend type="ui-dform-legend">Address</label>
</fieldset>

url {String|Object}
The url subscriber issues a $(element).dform('ajax', options) request to load content from remote files.

{
    "type" : "div",
    "url": "form.json"
}

type {String}
Besides looking up the correct Type Generator it also adds a dform specific class to the element using $.dform.options.prefix (ui-dform- by default) and the type name.

{
    "type" : "text"
}

Generates:

<input type="text" class="ui-dform-text" />

Set $.dform.options.prefix = null; if you don't want any classes being added.

Add your own

It is easy to add your own subscribers. Similar to a type generator you just pass the key name you want to subscribe to and a function that takes the options and the type name as a parameter to $.dform.subscribe. this in the subscriber function will refer to the current element. That way it is possible to add an alert to the hellobutton example created in the types section:

$.dform.subscribe("alert", function(options, type) {
    // Just run if the type is a hellobutton
    if(type === "hellobutton") {
        this.click(function() {
            alert(options);
        });
    }
});

And then you can use the plugin like this:

$("#mydiv").dform({
    "type" : "hellobutton",
    "alert" : "Hello world!"
});

Which generates:

<button class="ui-dform-hellobutton">Say Hello</button>

And alerts "Hello world!" when the button is clicked. Like type generators, subscribers will also be chained. You can therefore add multiple subscribers with the same name adding behaviour or reacting to different types.

Special subscribers

Currently there are two types of special subscribers:

[pre] {Object}
Functions registered with this name will be called before any processing occurs and get the original options passed.

[post] {Object}
Functions registered with this name will be called after all processing is finished and also get the original options passed.

Plugin

jQuery plugin methods

The dform plugin function follows the jQuery plugin convention of taking an options object or a method name as the first parameter to call different methods:

$(form).dform(options [, converter]) {Object} {String}
Append the dForm object to each selected element. If the element is of the same type (e.g. if you are appending a type : 'form' on a <form>) or if no type has been given run the subscribers and add the attributes on the current element. Optionally use a converter with a given name.

$(form).dform(url [, success], [, error]) {String} {Function} {Function}
Load a JSON form definition using GET from a given URL and execute a success handler when it returns or an error handler if the request faiuls. The handler gets the data passed and has this refer to the form element.

$(form).dform('run', options) {Object}
Run all subscribers from a given dForm object on the selected element(s).

$(form).dform('run', name, options, type) {String} {Mixed} {String}
Run a subscriber with a given name and options on the selected element(s) using a specific type. Usually used internally.

$(form).dform('append', options [, converter]) {Object} {String}
Append a dForm element to each selected element. Optionally using a converter with the given name.

$(form).dform('attr', options) {Object}
Set each attribute from the options object that doesn't have a corresponding subscriber registered.

$(form).dform('ajax', params [, success] [, error]) {Object|String} {Function} {Function}
Load a form definition using Ajax. The params take the same options as a jQuery Ajax call.

Static functions

$.keySet(object) {Object}
Return an array of the objects keys.

$.withKeys(object, keys) {Object} {Array}
Returns a new object that contains all values from the given object that have a key which is also in the array keys.

$.withoutKeys(object, keys) {Object} {Array}
Returns a new object that contains all value from the given object that do not have a key which is also in the array keys.

$.dform.options
Static options for generating a form. Currently only $.dform.options.prefix is being used.

$.dform.defaultType(options) {Object}
A type generator that will be used when no other registered type has been found. The standard generator creates an HTML element according to the type given:

{
    "type" : "a",
    "href" : "http://daffl.github.com/jquery.dform",
    "html" : "Visit the plugin homepage"
}

Generates:

<a class="ui-dform-a" href="http://daffl.github.com/jquery.dform">Visit the plugin homepage</a>

$.dform.types([name]) {String}
Returns all type generators for a given type name. If no name is given, a map of type names to an array of generator functions will be returned.

$.dform.addType(name, generator [, condition]) {String} {Function} {Boolean}
Add a new type with a given name and generator function which takes the options as the parameter and returns a new element. Optionally pass a condition which will add the type only if it is true.

$.dform.subscribe(name, subscriber [, condition]) {String} {Function} {Boolean}
Add a new subscriber function for a given name that takes the value and type name as the parameter and will have this set to the current element. Optionally pass as condition which will add the subscriber only if it is true.

$.dform.subscribers([name])
Returns all subscribers for a given name. If no name is given, an object containing all subscribers will be returned.

$.dform.hasSubscription(name) {String}
Returns if there is at least one subscriber registered with the given name.

$.dform.createElement(options) {Object}
Returns a new element either using a registered type generator or the default type generator.

jQuery UI

jQuery.dForm automatically adds support for whichever jQuery UI plugin is available. If the form has the ui-widget class the plugin will automatically turn buttons into jQuery UI buttons and add corners to text, textarea, password and fieldset elements.

Note: jQuery UI has to be loaded before the dForm plugin.

Types

Most jQuery UI widgets have an appropriate type generator implemented. Besides normal HTML attributes, each take the same options as described in the jQuery UI documentation.

progressbar { "type" : "progressbar" }
Creates a progressbar. Use the options as described in the jQuery UI progressbar documentation.

{
    "type" : "progressbar",
    "value" : "20"
}

slider { "type" : "slider" }
Creates a slider element.

{
    "type" : "slider",
    "step" : 5,
    "value" : 25
}

accordion { "type" : "accordion" }
Creates a container for a jQueryUI accordion. Use the entries subscriber to add elements. You can use any jQueryUI accordion option in the definition. The caption in each entries element will be used as the accordion heading:

{
  "type" : "accordion",
  "animated" : "bounceslide",
  "entries" : [
    {
      "caption" : "First entry",
      "html" : "Content 1"
    },
    {
      "caption" : "Second entry",
      "html" : "Content 2"
    }
  ]
}

tabs { "type" : "tabs" }
Creates a container for a set of jQuery UI tabs. Use the entries subscriber to add elements. You can use any jQueryUI tabs option in the definition. The caption in each entries element will be used as the tab heading. You can either pass an array of entries and set the id attribute individually or an object which will use the key name as the id:

{
  "type" : "tabs",
  "entries" : [
    {
      "caption" : "Tab 1",
      "id" : "first",
      "html" : "Content 1"
    },
    {
      "caption" : "Tab 2",
      "id" : "second",
      "html" : "Content 2"
    }
  ]
}

Which is equivalent to:

{
  "type" : "tabs",
  "entries" : {
    "first": {
      "caption" : "Tab 1",
      "html" : "Content 1"
    },
    "second" : {
      "caption" : "Tab 2",
      "html" : "Content 2"
    }
  }
}

Subscribers

Some other features have been implemented as subscribers:

entries {Object}
Add entries to an accordion or tabs element. See the accordion and tabs type documentation for examples.

dialog {Object}
Turns the current element into a jQueryUI dialog. Pass the jQueryUI dialog options or an empty object for the defaults.

resizable {Object}
Makes the current element resizable. Pass the jQueryUI resizable options or an empty object for the defaults.

datepicker {Object}
Adds a datepicker to a text element. Pass the jQueryUI datepicker options or an empty object for the defaults:

{
  "type" : "text",
  "datepicker" : {
    "minDate" : "+1"
  }
}

autocomplete {Object}
Adds autocomplete functionality to a text element. Pass the jQueryUI autocomplete options.

Other plugins

Form validation

jQuery.dForm adds a validate subscriber if the jQuery Form Validation plugin is available. The options passed are added as validation rulesets to the element:

{
    "type" : "text",
    "validate" : {
        "required" : true,
        "minlength" : 2,
        "messages" : {
            "required" : "Required input",
        }
    }
}

If the form has the ui-widget class the jQuery UI CSS error classes will be used to highlight fields.

jQuery Globalize

jQuery.Globalize adds internationalization to JavaScript. If available, the html and options subscribers will be enabled to use internationalized strings and option lists. For example with Globalize configured like this:

Globalize.culture('de');
    Globalize.addCultureInfo( "de", {
  messages: {
    "stuff" : {
      "hello" : "Hallo Welt",
      "options" : {
        "de" : "Deutschland",
        "ca" : "Kanada",
        "fr" : "Frankreich"
      }
    }
  }
});

You can create an internationalized form like this:

{
  "type" : "div",
  "html" : "stuff.hello"
}

Which generates:

<div class="ui-dform-div">Hallo Welt</div>

And an options list like:

{
  "type" : "select",
  "options" : "stuff.options"
}

Generates:

<select class="ui-dform-select">
  <option value="de">Deutschland</option>
  <option value="ca">Kanada</option>
  <option value="fr">Frankreich</option>
</select>

Changelog

1.1.0

  • Added url subscriber (#22)
  • Better Ajax support (#35)
  • Added dist files to GitHub pages for better CDN support
  • Registered bower package: bower install jquery.dform

1.0.1

  • Updated and fixed documentation
  • Added jQuery plugin deploy information
  • Moved away from GitHub downloads
  • Verified jQuery 1.9.0 compatibility

1.0.0

  • Improved documentation using DocumentUp
  • QUnit test suite
  • Major API improvements

0.1.4

  • Merged pull request #30: Wrap 'type' as an array so it doesn't break jQuery 1.7.1's $.inArray() when running in IE8
  • Added first QUnit tests
  • Fixed issue #22 with jQuery UI accordion causing problems with captions
  • Removed placeholder plugin. Use HTML 5 placeholders or the jQuery placeholder plugin
  • Updated documentation engine to DocumentJS and build system to StealJS
  • Merged pull request #19 and #20, support to set up a validate options for validate() in "form" type
  • Merged pull request #26 to support HTML 5 input types
  • Added simple getting started example

0.1.3

0.1.2

  • Added dformAttr to add HTML attributes to elements
  • Moved placeholder into a separate plugin
  • Added reset button type
  • Added dynamic form definition loading by passing a URL to the buildForm plugin function
  • Added ajax subscriber using the jQuery form plugin at http://jquery.malsup.com/form
  • Added the defaultType method to create any HTML element without having to register a type
  • Improved build process

0.1.1

  • Separated type and subscriber functions
  • Added types file, container, hidden, accordion, checkboxes and radiobuttons
  • Added auto class generation based on element type
  • Finished jQuery UI accordion and unified with tabs usage
  • Switched documentation to Natualdocs at http://naturaldocs.org
  • Added build.xml for generating documentation and minifying JavaScript

0.1

  • Initial release

License

Copyright (C) 2013 David Luecke, [http://daffl.github.com/jquery.dform]

The MIT license:

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

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