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A missing model layer for modern JavaScript

🧐 What is Loco-JS-Model?

Loco-JS-Model is one of the Loco framework components. It is a model layer for JavaScript that can be used separately.
Loco framework is a concept that simplifies communication between front-end and back-end. The back-end part can be implemented in other languages and frameworks as well. I am a Rails programmer. That's why I created Loco for Rails.

Visualization of the Loco framework:

Loco Framework
|
|--- Loco-Rails (back-end part)
|       |
|       |--- Loco-Rails-Core (logical structure for JS / can be used separately with Loco-JS-Core)
|
|--- Loco-JS (front-end part)
        |
        |--- Loco-JS-Core (logical structure for JS / can be used separately)
        |
        |--- Loco-JS-Model (model part / can be used separately)
        |
        |--- other built-in parts of Loco-JS

        Loco-JS-UI - connects models with UI elements (a separate library)

Loco-JS-Model works well as a part of the modern JavaScript ecosystem alongside libraries such as React and Redux.

This 🎁example🎁 presents how to combine Loco-JS-Model with React and Redux (+ other neat tools).
This repo is also a good starting point if you want to start hack on a multi-static-page app powered by React, Redux, React, React-Router, Webpack, Babel, etc.
Especially if you are looking for something pre-configured and more straightforward than Create React App.

📡 Model Layer

I liked ActiveRecord throughout the years of using Rails. This layer stands between the business logic of your app and a database and does a lot of useful things. One of them is providing validations of objects to ensure that only valid ones are saved in a database. It also provides several finder methods to perform certain queries on a database without writing raw SQL.

But what does model mean when it comes to an app working inside the browser? 🤔

Well, you have at least 2 ways to persist your data:

  1. You can save them in local storage.
  2. You can send them to a server using the API endpoint. Data are then stored in a database.

So we can assume that validating data before they reach the destination can be useful in both cases.
But when it comes to persistence - Loco-JS-Model gravitates towards communication with a server. It provides methods that facilitate both: persisting data and fetching them from a server.

📥 Installation

$ npm install --save loco-js-model

🤝 Dependencies

🎊 Loco-JS-Model has no dependencies. 🎉

Although babel-plugin-transform-class-properties may be helpful to support static class properties, which are useful in defining models.

Loco-JS-Model uses Promises, so remember to polyfill them❗️

⚙️ Configuration

import { Config } from "loco-js-model";

// If provided - Loco-JS-Model uses an absolute path instead of a site-root-relative path in all XHR requests
Config.protocolWithHost = "http://localhost:3000";

// Send and receive cookies by a CORS request 
Config.cookiesByCORS = true;  // false by default

Config.locale = "pl";  // "en" by default

// Models have a static class property - "resources". It is used to specify base URLs (scopes)  
// from which data are retrieved. This property sets a default scope for all models.
Config.scope = "admin";  // null by default

🎮 Usage

Anatomy of the model 💀

An exemplary model can look like this:

// models/Coupon.js

import { Models } from "loco-js-model";

class Coupon extends Models.Base {
  // The value of this property should be a "stringified" class name.
  // Setting this property is required if you use a full Loco framework 
  // and send notifications from the server.
  // It is because finding this class by its name is impossible in a production
  // environment due to minification.
  static identity = "Coupon";

  // You can fetch the same type of resource from different API endpoints.
  // These endpoints can be defined using resources property.
  static resources = {
    url: "/user/coupons",
    admin: {
      url: "/admin/plans/:planId/coupons",
      paginate: { per: 100, param: "current-page" }
    }
  };

  // This property stores information about the model's attributes
  static attributes = {
    stripeId: {
      // Specify if different than the value returned via API
      remoteName: "stripe_id",
      // When assigning values from API endpoint,
      // Loco-JS-Model may convert them to certain types.
      // Available: Date, Integer, Float, Boolean, Number, String
      type: "String",
      // Available validators: Absence, Confirmation, Exclusion,
      // Format, Inclusion, Length, Numericality, Presence, Size
      validations: {
        presence: true,
        format: {
          with: /^my-project-([0-9a-z-]+)$/
        }
      }
    },
    percentOff: {
      remoteName: "percent_off",
      type: "Integer",
      validations: {
        // a validator can run conditionally
        presence: { if: o => o.amountOff == null },
        numericality: {
          greater_than_or_equal_to: 0,
          less_than_or_equal_to: 100
        }
      }
    },
    amountOff: {
      remoteName: "amount_off",
      type: "Decimal",
      validations: {
        presence: { if: o => o.percentOff == null },
        numericality: {
          greater_than_or_equal_to: 0
        }
      }
    },
    duration: {
      type: "String",
      validations: {
        presence: true,
        inclusion: {
          in: ["forever", "once", "repeating"]
        }
      }
    },
    redeemBy: {
      remoteName: "redeem_by",
      type: "Date"
    }
  };

  // It contains names of custom validation methods
  static validate = ["futureRedeemBy"];

  constructor(data = {}) {
    super(data);
  }

  futureRedeemBy() {
    if (this.redeemBy === null) return;
    if (this.redeemBy <= new Date()) {
      this.addErrorMessage("should be in the future", { for: "redeemBy" });
    }
  }
}

export default Coupon;

Fetching a collection of resources 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Specifying a scope 🔎

You can fetch resources from a given scope in 3 ways:

  • by specifying a scope as resource in method calls e.g. Coupon.get("all", {resource: "admin"})
  • setting up default scope at the configuration stage (see Configuration)
  • if you use Loco-JS you can set scope by calling setScope("<scope name>") controller's instance method. It's done in a namespace controller most often.

Response formats 𝌮

Loco-JS-Model can handle responses in 2 JSON formats.

1. an array of resources

[
  {
    "id":101,
    "stripe_id":"my-project-20-dollar-off",
    "amount_off":20,
    "currency":"USD",
    "duration":"once",
    "percent_off":null,
    "redeem_by":null,
    "created_at":"2017-12-19T14:42:18.000Z",
    "updated_at":"2017-12-19T14:42:18.000Z"
  },
  ...
]

To fetch all resources, you have to specify a total number of records by using total or count keys.

Coupon.get("all", {resource: "admin", planId: 6, total: 603}).then(coupons => {});
// GET "/admin/plans/6/coupons?current-page=1"
// GET "/admin/plans/6/coupons?current-page=2"
// GET "/admin/plans/6/coupons?current-page=3"
// ...

2. with resources and count keys

{
  "resources": [
    {
      "id":101,
      "stripe_id":"my-project-20-dollar-off",
      "amount_off":20,
      "currency":"USD",
      "duration":"once",
      "percent_off":null,
      "redeem_by":null,
      "created_at":"2017-12-19T14:42:18.000Z",
      "updated_at":"2017-12-19T14:42:18.000Z"
    },
    ...
  ],
  "count": 603
}

To fetch all resources, you don't have to specify a total number of records in this case, because API does it already.

Coupon.get("all", {resource: "admin", planId: 6}).then(res => {
  res.resources; // all instances of Coupon
  res.count; // total number of coupons
});
// GET "/admin/plans/6/coupons?current-page=1"
// GET "/admin/plans/6/coupons?current-page=2"
// ...

Fetching resources from other API endpoints

Just pass the name of the endpoint instead of "all". This example also contains how to pass additional parameters to the request.

Coupon.get("used", {total: 211, foo: "bar", baz: 13}).then(coupons => {});
// GET "/user/coupons/used?foo=bar&baz=13&page=1"
// GET "/user/coupons/used?foo=bar&baz=13&page=2"
// ...

Fetching a specific page

Just pass a page param.

Coupon.get("recent", {
  resource: "admin",
  planId: 6,
  total: 414,
  page: 4,
  foo: 10
}).then(coupons => {});
// GET "/admin/plans/6/coupons/recent?page=4&foo=10&current-page=4"

Fetching a single resource 💃

Loco-JS-Model provides find static method for fetching a single resource. The server's response should be in a plain JSON format with remote names of attributes as keys.
find returns null if server responds with 404 HTTP status code.

Coupon.find(25).then(coupon => {});
// GET "/user/coupons/25"

// or pass an object

Coupon.find({id: 25}).then(coupon => {});
// GET "/user/coupons/25"

// You can also specify a resource and pass additional params

Coupon.find({id: 25, resource: "admin", planId: 8, foo: 12, bar: "baz"}).then(coupon => {});
// GET "/admin/plans/8/coupons/25?foo=12&bar=baz"

Sending requests 🏹

Every model inherits from Models.Base static and instance methods for sending get post put patch delete requests to the server.

Coupon.patch("used", {resource: "admin", planId: 9, ids: [1,2,3,4]}).then(resp => {});
// PATCH "/admin/plans/9/coupons/used"
// Parameters: {"ids"=>[1, 2, 3, 4], "current-page"=>1, "plan_id"=>"9"}

Coupon.find({id: 25, resource: "admin", planId: 8}).then(coupon => {
  coupon.planId = 8; // set planId explicitly if API does not return it
  coupon.patch("use", {foo: "bar", baz: 102}).then(resp => {});
  // PATCH "/admin/plans/8/coupons/25/use"
  // Parameters: {"foo"=>"bar", "baz"=>102, "plan_id"=>"8", "id"=>"25"}
});

Validations

If attributes' validations are specified, you can use the isValid / isInvalid methods to check whether the model instance is valid or not.

const coupon = new Coupon;
coupon.isValid();   // false
coupon.isInvalid(); // true
coupon.errors; // {
               //   stripeId: ["can't be blank", "is not included in the list"],
               //   duration: ["can't be blank", "is invalid"]
               // }

Loco-JS-Model implements almost all built-in Rails validators, except for uniqueness. And you can use them nearly identically. You can also look at source code if you are looking for all available configuration options. They are pretty straightforward to decipher.

Saving ✍️

Loco-JS-Model provides the save method that facilitates persisting resources on the server. This method requires responses in a specific JSON format. I recommend using the format below. But if you don't plan to use UI.Form from Loco-JS-UI for handling forms, the only requirement is a specified format of the errors key to having errors assigned to the object.

const coupon = new Coupon({
  resource: "admin",
  planId: 19,
  percentOff: 50
});
coupon.save().then(resp => {
// POST "/admin/plans/19/coupons"
// Parameters: { "coupon" => { "stripe_id"=>nil, "percent_off"=>50, "amount_off"=>nil,
//                             "duration"=>nil, "redeem_by"=>nil
//                           },
//               "plan_id" => "19"
//             }
  resp; // { success: false,
        //   status: 400,
        //   errors: {
        //     stripe_id: ["can't be blank", "is invalid"],
        //     duration: ["can't be blank", "is not included in the list"]
        //   }
        // }
  coupon.errors; // { stripeId: ["can't be blank", "is not included in the list"],
                 //   duration: ["can't be blank", "is invalid"]
                 // }
});

Reloading ♻️

Loco-JS-Model provides a convenient method for reloading an object. The following example is quite self-explanatory.

Coupon.find({id: 25, resource: "admin", planId: 8}).then(coupon => {
// GET "/admin/plans/8/coupons/25"
  coupon.planId = 8; // set planId explicitly if API does not return it
  coupon; // Coupon { ... id: 25, duration: "once", percentOff: 30 }

  // change percent_off and duration on the server
  // after some time ...

  setTimeout(() => {
    coupon.reload().then(coupon => {
    // GET "/admin/plans/8/coupons/25"
      coupon; // Coupon { ... id: 25, duration: "forever", percentOff: 50 }
    });
  }, 5000);
});

💥 Dirty object 🧙🏽‍♂️

This feature looks like pure magic when you look at how this works for the first time.

The Dirty object is an ability of model instances to express how attribute values have been changed between 2 moments in time - when an object was initialized and their current value on the server.

It is especially useful when you use Connectivity features from Loco-JS.

Just look at the example below and bear in mind the order of things 💥

// IN THE 1ST ORDER
Coupon.find({id: 25, resource: "admin", planId: 8}).then(coupon => {
  coupon; // Coupon { ... id: 25, duration: "once", percentOff: 30 }

  // IN THE 3RD ORDER
  setTimeout(() => {
    coupon.changes(); // { percentOff: { is: "forever", was: "once" },
                      //   duration: { is: 50, was: 30 }
                      // }
    coupon.applyChanges();
    coupon; // Coupon { ... id: 25, duration: "forever", percentOff: 50 }
  }, 6000);
});

// change percent_off and duration on the server and after some time ...

// IN THE 2ND ORDER
setTimeout(() => {
  Coupon.find({id: 25, resource: "admin", planId: 8}).then(coupon => {
    coupon; // Coupon { ... id: 25, duration: "forever", percentOff: 50 }
  });
}, 3000);

Useful methods 🔧

Models.Base instance methods

  • assignAttr(name, val) - it converts val to a given type defined in attributes property before assigning

  • clone - it clones and returns a model instance.

🇵🇱 i18n

Loco-JS-Model supports internationalization. The following example shows how to display errors in a different language.

First, create a translation of the base English file.

// locales/pl.js

const pl = {
  variants: {},
  attributes: {},
  errors: {
    messages: {
      blank: "nie może być puste",
      inclusion: "nie jest na liście dopuszczalnych wartości",
      invalid: "jest nieprawidłowe",
      // ...
    }
  }
};

export default pl;

Loco-JS-Model must have all translations assigned to the I18n object.

import { Config, I18n } from "loco-js-model";

import pl from "locales/pl";

// remember to polyfill Object.assign or assign it in a different way
Object.assign(I18n, {
  pl
});

Config.locale = "pl";
const coupon = new Coupon({ percentOff: 50 });
coupon.isValid(); // false
coupon.errors; // { duration: ["nie może być puste", "nie jest na liście dopuszczalnych wartości"]
               //   stripeId: ["nie może być puste", "jest nieprawidłowe"]
               // }

👩🏽‍🔬 Tests

$ npm run test

Loco-JS-Model has been extracted from Loco-JS. Loco-JS is a front-end part of the whole Loco framework, along with Loco-Rails (the back-end part). Both Loco-JS and Loco-Rails are pretty well tested. And because they work in cooperation with each other, they must be tested as one library (Loco-Rails has a suite of integration / "end to end" tests).

So every change made to Loco-JS-Model must be tested with Loco-JS' unit tests and then together as Loco framework, it must be tested against Loco-Rails' integration test suite.

📈 Changelog

Major releases 🎙

1.1.1 (2020-12-09)

  • find method reacts on 404 HTTP response
  • a URL generation was fixed when Config.protocolWithHost is used

1.1 (2020-09-06)

  • Ability to receive & send cookies by a CORS request

1.0 (2020-05-19)

  • Breaking changes: Base is no longer exported. You must use Models.Base

0.3.1

  • 🎉 officially announced version 🎉

Informations about all releases are published on Twitter

📜 License

Loco-JS-Model is released under the MIT License.

👨‍🏭 Author

Zbigniew Humeniuk from Art of Code