Generate Markup with JavaScript
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README.md

The Righteous Markup Lever

v2.0

A Quick and Dirty Tour

Templating Added

I've hacked in an implementation of a variable replacement algorithm for a couple of reasons:

  1. The ability to 'compile' a template and 'cache' it will obviously increase performance where an HTML fragment is going to be re-used many times
  2. We get a free strSub() method which can be handy for replacing variables in content strings which may be unknown until run-time.

Compile A Template For Repeated Use

Using an RML type syntax:

var tpl = RML.compile(
    RML.div({
        id: "${id}",
        content: RML.ul({
            _class:"${class}",
            content: "${items}"
        })
    })
);

Or if you like to write the HTML snippet yourself:

var tpl = RML.compile([
    '<div id="${id}">',
        '<ul class="${class}">',
            '${items}',
        '</ul>',
    '</div>'
]);

'Compiles' the template into a callable function. Now you can pass it a data object:

tpl({id: 'foo', class: 'bar', items: (function() {
    var data = ['spam', 'eggs'],
    items = [];
    data.forEach(function(v) {
        items.push(RML.li(v));
    });
    return items.join('');
    }())
});

=> <div id="foo"><ul class="bar"><li>spam</li><li>eggs</li></ul></div>

Of course you could just do a 'one-shot' template by passing the data object along as the second argument to RML.template:

RML.template('<span id="${id}">Hello Span!</span>', {id: 'myID'});

=> <span id="myID">Hello Span!</span>

Cache It If You Want

Often you can maximize efficiency by having RML 'cache' a template function that you might want to call from another script. This method both compiles the function and stores it in the RML.cached namespace for you to call with a data object:

RML.cache('myTpl', RML.div({
    id: "${id}",
    content: "${stuff}"
    })
);

Then whenever you want:

RML.cached.myTpl({id: 'myId', stuff: 'some stuff'});

=> "<div id="myId">some stuff</div>"

Arrays As Data Objects Too

In any of the above examples an array could have been used as the data object, just make sure to change your variable placeholders to array index values instead of object keys:

RML.cache('myTpl', RML.div({
    id: "${0}",
    content: "${1}"
    })
);

RML.cached.myTpl(['myId', 'some stuff']);

The strSub()

A nice little bonus that came along with the variable replacement algorithm is the strSub() method. Pass in any string with variable placeholders to either compile a callable function or return a 'one-shot' by passing a data object with it:

RML.strSub('This is ${1} kinda ${0}', ['party!','my'])

=> "This is my kinda party!"

These can be cached as well:

RML.cache('aString', 'This is ${1} kinda ${0}')

RML.cached.aString(['party','my'])

You get the idea...

Render A Tag, Any Tag...

Most common HTML tags have convenience methods which can be called like so:

RML.a();

=> <a></a>

If a tag doesn't require any attributes you can pass in its content simply as a string argument:

RML.span('Hello World!');

=> <span>Hello World!</span>

Tags will require attributes though, so pass a 'config' object to a method with
properties and values which reflect the attributes you want rendered:

RML.div({
    id: 'foo',
    _class: 'bar'
});

=> <div id='foo' class='bar'></div>

We use _class in the config object to circumvent any issues with the reserved keyword 'class'.

The Content Property

If a config object has a content property its value is placed between the opening and closing tags. In the case of a string (or a number) the value is written as is:

RML.div({
    id: 'foo',
    _class: 'bar',
    content: 'Important stuff'
});

=> <div id='foo' class='bar'>Important stuff</div>

If the value of the content property is a function, that function will be called.

RML.div({
    id: 'foo',
    _class: 'bar',
    content: function() {
        var data = {
            stuff: 'Important stuff'
        };
        return data.stuff;
    }
});

=> <div id='foo' class='bar'>Important stuff</div>

This feature, obviously, can have much more powerful uses than the above example, and has proven to be very effective for elements whose contents need to be fetched and parsed asynchronously.

Arrays as Content

You can have an array as content for a tag. Here, with no attributes:

RML.div(['I', 'am', 'an', 'array']);

=> <div>Iamanarray</div>

This has one obvious problem, the array is joined and return with no spaces between items. This is a design decision as I have no way to know what any given array may contain, or how it needs to be rendered. The solution is to provide an override argument passed to the tag method itself. You lose the convenience method, but you gain the ability to join an array with any delimiter you wish:

RML.tag('div', ['I', 'am', 'an', 'array'], 0, ' ');

=> <div>I am an array</div>

Dashes:,

RML.tag('div', ['I', 'am', 'an', 'array'], 0, '-');

=> <div>I-am-an-array</div>

And here, in the content attribute of a config object. The same procedure as above would apply for rendering it how you wanted. With commas for example:

RML.tag('div', {
    id: 'green',
    _class: 'eggs',
    content: ['I', 'am', 'an', 'array', 'too']
}, 0, ',');

=> <div id='green' class='eggs'>I,am,an,array,too</div>

The Siblings Method

To abstract out the common pattern of joining string arrays or using +=, you can now call RML.siblings() with any number of arguments:

RML.ul({
    id: 'list',
    content: RML.siblings(
        RML.li('some'),
        RML.li('sibling'),
        RML.li('elements')
    );
});

=> <ul id="list"><li>some</li><li>sibling</li><li>elements</li></ul>

The Tags Object

RML dynamically creates convenience methods for tags based on the key-value pairs in the 'tags' object.

tags: {
    'a': 0,
    'br': 1
}

At run-time these are converted into functions for each property defined. For example the br: 1 above is appended automatically to the RML object as:

br: function(arg) {
    this.tag('br', arg, 1);
}

That int value determines the type of tag rendered. Default with a closing tag, <foo></foo>, self-closing, <foo />, or open, <foo>. More on that in a moment.

The tag() Method

This is the centerpiece of the RML library, and only about 6 lines of code. Looking at the source, you'll notice the tag() method takes 4 arguments:

tag: function(t, arg, tt, dl) {
    //code...
}
  1. t is the tag name itself. 'div', 'span', 'canvas' etc...
  2. arg is the deciding factor on which function tag() passes control flow to. Strings, numbers, arrays and objects are all useful types for arg
  3. tt is the type of tag: closed, self-closing, or open
  4. dl is an optional argument which will be used as a seperator when an array is passed as the content of a tag. See the Arrays as Content section above

Custom, XML, or HTML5 tags

Tags not defined by you (or me) in the tags object can be generated in your scripts by simply calling RML.tag() directly:

RML.tag('myTag', 'stuff');

=> <myTag>stuff</myTag>

The 'tag type' argument is the third argument passed. Omitting it, or passing a falsy value (such as 0 like the tags object does) results in the default type, a tag complete with a closing tag, such as the myTag example above. Pass in a 1 (or true) for a self-closing tag:

RML.tag('custom', {foo:'bar'}, 1);

=> <custom foo="bar"/>

Any attributes without values can be placed in a tag by assigning it a falsy value:

RML.tag('custom', {keyOnly:0});

=> <custom keyOnly></custom>

Remember, you can add your own convenience methods to the tag object, this will prevent you from having to pass the tag name as an argument.

The Open Tag

Just in case you need an unclosed tag, you can pass a 2 as the 'tag type' argument. So a doctype tag could be generated by:

RML.tag('!DOCTYPE', 'html PUBLIC "-//W3C...""http..."', 2);

=> <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C...""http...">

Big Example

Say you had a 'markup' object which held all of your HTML generating methods:

markup: {
    header: function() {
        var $header = RML.div({
            id:'header',
            content: RML.siblings( 
                RML.h1('An H1'),
                RML.hr(),
                RML.div({
                    _class:'message-form',
                    content: RML.textarea({
                        name:'txt-message',
                        id:'txt-message',
                        rows:'4',
                        cols:'60'
                }),
                RML.input({
                    type:'button',
                    id:'btn-send-message',
                    name:'btn-send-message',
                    value:'Send Message'
                }),
                RML.input({
                    type:'button',
                    id:'btn-clear-message',
                    name:'btn-clear-message',
                    value:'Clear Message'
                }),
                RML.input({
                    type:'button',
                    id:'btn-logout',
                    name:'btn-logout',
                    value:'Log Out'
                })
            })
        });
        return $header;
    },
    footer: function() {...}
};

Node.js Module

I made a Node compatible version of RML, it's in the 'rml' folder above. The folder contains the single file 'index.js' so you can just reference the directory with your Node require statement. I created a '.node_libraries' folder in my home directory, and I simlink files to it as node will look there to resolve 'requires' statements. For example:

$ln -s ~/path-to-rml-folder ~/.node_libraries/rml

Then in your Node file or REPL session:

var RML = require('rml'); 

All other use is identical to client-side version. I have been using RML with express so I don't have to write HTML into the response:

get('/update', function(req, res){
    res.send(
        RML.div({
            id: 'foo',
            _class: 'padded',
            content: RML.p('some content')
        })
    );
});

enjoy.