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README.rst

Sacrum

Sacrum is on the back burner for a while - if I can make it work, this is what it's going to be:

Sacrum provides components and conventions for writing single-page JavaScript apps which also run on Node.js for almost-free as good ol' forms 'n links webapps, allowing you to ditch the hashbangs and use real URLs like TBL intended, without having to expend significant effort on a separate backend and without leaving user agents which Don't Do JavaScript out in the cold.

It gives you a baseline from which to progressively enhance for those who Definitely Do Do JavaScript by running the JavaScript everybody else can't or won't run for them.


The sample application for Sacrum is Fragile - it serves as the test-bed and proving ground for new features, components and ideas.

Current Development Focus

In order to run relatively painlessly in both environments, Sacrum needs to get its async on.

The current example app code is all written in a synchronous style, but the following operations and components will need to support asynchronous usage:

Models
  • lookups when instances are not cached locally, for display and validation.
  • saving/updating of instances needs to be implemented.
Forms
  • newforms will need to add an async API for validations which involve I/O, such as performing a HEAD request to verify that a URL exists and is reachable.
  • ModelChoiceFields may need to perform an async lookup before a form can be displayed or validated.
Templating
  • it's possible that async operations would need to be performed by items being rendered in DOMBuilder templates. To support this, we would need to be able to specify when this is the case and...
    • defer displaying until callbacks are called?
    • (client) display as much as we can, with placeholders to be filled upon completion?
    • (server) sending as much of the response as we can until each async operation completes?

Dependencies & Demo

Sacrum is built using a number of dual-sided components - that is, JavaScript modules which are designed to run on both client and server. Browser dependencies which have not yet been ported to use Node.js-style modules are bundled in the deps/ directory.

Node.js dependencies are available via npm. If you're cloning this repo, run npm install to install them locally in a node_modules directory.

  • isomorph provides a dual-sided utility toolbelt.

  • urlresolve provides dual-sided routing/URL configuration.

  • Concur provides dual-sided inheritance sugar for Models and Views.

  • DOMBuilder provides dual-sided templating in code with template inheritance, generating DOM Elements and registering event handlers on the browser and generating HTML on Node.js with hooks for event handlers to be attached later.

  • newforms provides dual-sided form display, user input validation and type coercion. It also requires DOMBuilder for rendering across environments.

  • express is being used to hook the sample application up in Node.js.

    Run node server.js to bring it up and open http://localhost:8000/admin/ in a browser. Now disable JavaScript and notice how you're still able to navigate and use the (bits of the) app (which have been implemented so far).

Sacrum Components

The following components are defined in sacrum.js and (in browsers) exposed to the global scope as properties of a Sacrum object, which is omitted here for brevity.

Models

Model(props)

Base constructor for data types, which sets the given instance properties.

Model.extend(prototypeProps, constructorProps)

Creates a constructor which inherits from Model and sets its prototype and constructor properties in one fell swoop.

The prototypeProps argument is required and is expected to contain, at the very least, a Meta object which defines the model's name.

If a child constructor is not provided via prototypeProps.constructor, a new constructor which calls Model(props) on instantiation will be created for you.

Extended Model constructors and prototypes will have a _meta property which is an instance of a ModelOptions object, with the following properties:

name
The model's name.
namePlural
Plural form of the model's name - if not provided in the Meta object, this will be defaulted to name followed by an 's'.

Don't forget to add a toString method to the prototype when extending Model, to define its default display:

var Vehicle = Model.extend({
  toString: function() {
    return this.reg
  }
, Meta: {
    name: 'Vehicle'
  }
})

Storage(model)

Storage and retrieval of instances of a particular Model. Not persistent yet.

Prototype methods:

add(instance)
Generates and id for and adds the given instance.
remove(instance)
Removes the given instance.
all()
Gets all instances.
get(id)
Gets an instance by id.
query()
Creates a Query returning all instances.
var Vehicles = new Storage(Vehicle)

Query(storage)

Provides access to results of querying a Storage, and a means to perform further queries/filtering.

Prototype methods:

__iter__()
Returns query results - currently just storage.all()
get(id)
Gets an instance by id.

Model Validation

Sacrum doesn't offer any hooks for doing so yet, but it does let newforms know how its Storage objects work, which enables use of forms.ModelChoiceField for display, selection and validation of related models.

var DriverForm = forms.Form({
  name: forms.CharField({maxLength: 255})
, vehicle: forms.ModelChoiceField(Vehicles.query())
})

Views

A Views object contains a bunch of related functions which implement control and display logic.

Views(props)

Base constructor for objects containing functions which implement display and control logic. Use this constructor if you only need a singleton, setting its view functions as instance properties.

Views.extend(prototypeProps, constructorProps)

Creates a constructor which inherits from Views and sets its prototype and constructor properties in one fell swoop, if provided.

If a child constructor is not provided via prototypeProps.constructor, a new constructor which calls Views(props) on instantiation will be created for you.

Views.prototype methods expect the following instance properties:

name (String)

Name for the collection of view functions.

For example, if you have a bunch of view functions which handle listing and editing Vehicle objects, a logical name would be 'VehicleViews'.

el (Element)
The element which contains the views' contents.

These don't have to be set at construction time - you could defer setting them until the views' init() method is called, if appropriate, or in the case of el, it will be populated with an element if not already set when the display() method is used.

Prototype attributes:

tagName
The tagName used by _ensureElement to automatically create an element if needed - defaults to 'div'.

Prototype methods:

render(templateName, context, events)

Renders a DOMBuilder template with the given context data.

templateName (String)
Name of a DOMBuilder template.
context (Object)
Template rendering context data.
events (Object.<String, Function>)
Named event handling functions - if provided, these functions will be bound to this Views instance and added to the template context as an 'events' property.
display(templateName, context, events)
On browsers:
Ensures this view has an element which content can be inserted into by first calling _ensureElement(), renders a DOMBuilder template, replaces the contents of the element with the rendered contents and returns the element.
On servers:
Calls render and returns rendered contents.

To support usage in both environments, you should always return the result of calling this method when it signifies that your view function is finished doing its thing.

replaceContents(el, contents)
Replaces the contents of an element and returns it.
_ensureElement()
If an el instance property does not exist, creates and populates it with a suitable element which content can be appended to.
log(...), warn(...), error(...)
Console logging methods, which include the views' name in logs, passing all given arguments to console logging functions.
var VehicleViews = Sacrum.Views.extend({
  name: 'VehicleViews'

, init: function() {
    this.el = document.getElementById("vehicles")
  }

, list: function() {
    this.debug('list')
    var vehicles = Vehicles.all()
    return this.display('vehicleList', {vehicles: vehicles})
  }

  // ...
})

URLConf

URL patterns can be configuredto map URLs to views, capturing named parameters in the process, and to reverse-resolve a URL name and parameters to obtain a URL.

URLConf

Application URL configuration should be set in URLConf.patterns, which should contain a list of pattens for resolution.

resolve(path)
Resolves the given URL path, returning an object with func, args and urlName properties if successful, otherwise throwing a Resolver404 error.
reverse(urlName, args)
Reverse-resolves the given named URL with the given args (if applicable), returning a URL string if successful, otherwise throwing a NoReverseMatch error.

handleURLChange(e)

Event handling function which prevents navigation from occurring and instead simulates it, resolving the target URL, extracting arguments if necessary and calling the configured view function with them.

This function knows how to deal with:

  • Links (<a> elements), handling their onclick event.
  • Forms (<form> elements), handling their onsubmit event.

If used with a form's onsubmit event, submission of form parameters will be simulated as an object passed as the last argument to the view function. Values for multiple fields with the same name will be passed as a list.

var VehicleViews = new Sacrum.Views({
  // ...

, index: function() {
     return this.display('index')
  }

, details: function(id) {
    var vehicle = Vehicles.get(id)
    return this.display('vehicleDetails', {vehicle: vehicle})
  }

, getURLs: function() {
    return urlresolve.patterns(this
    , urlresolve.url('',      'index',   'vehicle_index')
    , urlresolve.url('list/', 'list',    'vehicle_list')
    , urlresolve.url(':id/',  'details', 'vehicle_details')
    )
  }

  // ..
})

URLConf.patterns = VehicleViews.getURLs()

Templates

Sacrum doesn't insist that you use any particular templating engine, but comes with helpers out of the box to use DOMBuilder's templating mode.

The default implementation of Views' render() method uses DOMBuilder templates and the following additional helpers are also provided.

URLNode(urlName, args, options)

A TemplateNode which reverse-resolves using the given URL details.

If an {as: 'someName'} options object is passed, the URL will be added to the template context under the given variable name, otherwise it will be returned.

The following convenience accessors are added to DOMBuilder.template:

$resolve
A reference to handleURLChange(e)
$url(urlName, args, options)
Creates a URLNode.
$template('vehicleList'
, TABLE({'class': 'list'}
  , THEAD(TR(
      TH('Registration')
    , TH('# Wheels')
    ))
  , TBODY($for('vehicle in vehicles'
    , $url('vehicle_details', ['{{ vehicle.id }}'], {as: 'detailsURL'})
    , TR({'class': $cycle(['odd', 'even'])}
      , TD(
          A({href: '{{ detailsURL }}', click: $resolve}, '{{ vehicle.reg }}')
        )
      , TD('{{ vehicle.wheels }}')
      )
    ))
  )
)

History

TODO

Sacrum.Admin Components

The following components are defined in admin.js and exposed (in browsers) as properties of a Sacrum.Admin object, which is omitted here for brevity.

AdminViews

An instance of Views which makes use of any ModelAdminViews which have been created to display a basic admin section.

AdminViews contains the following properties and functions:

init()
Initialises the view element and registers all ModelAdminViews which have been created so far. Each ModelAdminViews registered will have its el set to this views' element.
modelViews (Array)
ModelAdminViews registered by init()
index()
Displays an index listing ModelAdminViews for use.
getURLs()
Creates and returns URL patterns for the index view and includes patterns for each ModelAdminViews.

ModelAdminViews

An extended Views constructor which takes care of some of the repetitive work involved in creating basic Create / Retrieve / Update / Delete (CRUD) functionality for a Model.

ModelAdminViews(props)

Creates an ModelAdminViews instance using a passed-in object defining instance properties.

This specialised version of Views expects to find the following instance properties:

namespace (String)
Unique namespace for the instance - used in base templates to ensure created element ids are unique and when looking up templates which override the base templates.
storage (Storage)
A Storage object used to create, retrieve, update and delete model instances.
form (forms.Form)
A newforms Form used to take and validate user input when creating and updating model instances.
elementId (String)
The id of the element in which content should be displayed, if appropriate. This should be provided if using ModelAdminView for standalone CRUD functionality. If using AdminView, it will provide the view element.
var VehicleAdminViews = new ModelAdminViews({
  name: 'VehicleAdminViews'
, namespace: 'vehicles'
, storage: Vehicles
, form: VehicleForm
})

Templates

The Admin uses the following DOMBuilder templates, which you may wish to extend to customise display.

Template Description Blocks
admin:base base template for admin display breadCrumbs, contents
admin:index table listing of ModelAdminViews N/A
admin:list table listing of model instances itemTable, headers, controls
admin:listRow table row displayed in list view linkText, extraCells
admin:add add form for creating a new model instance formRows
admin:detail details of a selected model instance top, detail, detailRows, controls
admin:edit edit form for a model instance formRows
admin:delete confirms deletion of a model instance N/A

In the above template names, 'admin' is a namespace.

When loading templates, ModelAdminViews first attempts to load a template using the namespace which was provided when it was instantiated, so to override one of its templates, you just need to define a template named using your own, leading, namespace.

In our vehicles example, you could extend these templates to display a vehicle's registration and the number of wheels it has in the list template, like so:

with (DOMBuilder.template) {

$template({name: 'vehicles:admin:list', extend: 'admin:list'}
, $block('headers'
  , TH('Registration')
  , TH('# Wheels')
  )
)

$template({name: 'vehicles:admin:listRow', extend: 'admin:listRow'}
, $block('linkText', '{{ item.reg }}')
, $block('extraCells'
  , TD('{{ item.wheels }}')
  )
)

}

Spiel (Y U NIH?)

This started out as (and still is, at the moment) a single-page app I was playing around with to get back into writing single-page apps.

I was planning to try out Backbone and Spine with when I was offline for a week on holiday, but in the absence of help from the internet and that nagging feeling that I wasn't fully 'getting' the abstractions or that I was using them as the author intended, I started playing around with my own code and extracting reusable components, also making use of DOMBuilder and newforms for templating, form display and input validation/type coercion.

I've been writing those libraries with use on the browser and backend as an expressly-stated goal, but I wasn't actually using them in anger on the backend, so it's time to remedy that, too...

MIT License

Copyright (c) 2011, Jonathan Buchanan

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.