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URL Routing

In a web application, routing is the process of using URLs to drive the user interface (UI). URLs are a prominent feature in every web browser, and have several main functions:

  • Bookmarking - Users can bookmark URLs in their web browser to save content they want to come back to later.
  • Sharing - Users can share content with others by sending a link to a certain page.
  • Navigation - URLs are used to drive the web browser’s back/forward functions.

Traditionally, visiting a different URL within the same website would cause a new page to be downloaded from the server, but current state-of-the-art websites are able to modify the page in response to URL changes without a full refresh.

With Kweb's routing mechanism you get this automatically.

A simple example

import kweb.Kweb
import kweb.dom.element.new
import kweb.dom.element.creation.tags.h1
import kweb.routing.route

fun main() {
    Kweb(port = 16097) {
        doc.body {
            route {
                path("/users/{userId}") { params ->
                    val userId = params.getValue("userId")
                    h1().text(userId.map { "User id: $it" })
                }
                path("/lists/{listId}") { params ->
                    val listId = params.getValue("listId")
                    h1().text(listId.map { "List id: $it" })
                }
            }
        }
    }
}

Now, if you visit http://localhost:16097/users/997, you will see:

<h1>User id: 997</h1>

You can have as many path()s as you need, each with it's own path definition. The definition can contain parameters wrapped in {braces}.

The value of these parameters can then be retrieved from the params map, but note that the values are wrapped in a KVar<String> object. This means that you can use all of Kweb's state management features to render parts of the DOM using this value.

The key advantage here is that if the URL changes the page can be updated without a full page refresh, but rather only changing the parts of the DOM that need to change - this is much faster and more efficient.

Handing 404s

You can override the default 404 Page Not Found message in the event that none of the routes match, making it easy to integrate the 404 page with the style of your overall website:

route {
    path("/users/{userId}") { params ->
        // ...
    }
    notFound {
      h1().text("Page not found!")
    }
}

Modifying the URL

You can obtain and modify the URL of the current page using WebBrowser.url.

This returns a KVar<String> which contains the URL relative to the origin - so for the page http://foo/bar/z the url would be /bar/z.

Here is a more realistic example:

import kweb.Kweb
import kweb.dom.element.creation.tags.a
import kweb.dom.element.new
import kweb.routing.route
import kweb.state.*

fun main() {
    Kweb(port = 16097) {
        doc.body {
            route {
                path("/") {
                    url.value = "/number/1"
                }
                path("/number/{num}") { params ->
                    val num = params.getValue("num").toInt()
                    a().text(num.map {"Number $it"}).on.click {
                        num.value++
                    }
                }
            }
        }
    }
}

If you visit http://localhost:16097/ the URL will immediately update to http://localhost:16097/number/1 without a page refresh, and you'll see a hyperlink with text Number 1. If you click on this link you'll see that the number increments (both in the URL and in the link text), also without a page refresh.

The line num.value++ is worthy of additional attention as there is more going on here than meets the eye. num is a KVar<Int>, and so it can be incremented via its value property. This will cause the page URL to update, which will in-turn cause the DOM to update to reflect the new URL. All of this is handled for you automatically by Kweb.