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Atomic Development for Modern WebApps

Copyright 2013-2014, Javier Jimenez Villar

What is project Atoms?

It is a project created by one of the founders of Tapquo, Javi Jimenez (aka @soyjavi) which encountered the problem that two of the frameworks that had been developed previously Lungo and TukTuk were completely decoupled and having similar functionality with duplicated code. So, knowing that Javi as person who hates duplication began studying within specification W3C something to help him create better WebApps, found the WebComponents HTMLTemplates, ShadowDOM ... but unfortunately nowadays are only drafts and browsers have not implemented it.

Atomic Design?

The paradigm "Atomic Development" is based on the big idea of Brad Frost with his Atomic Design, one approach to reuse and scale our "components". AD is really good but Brad just thought of the design context, Javi as a developer thinks in his world (code and code). Both are clearly expresses in this appointment:

We’re not designing pages, we’re designing systems of components. - Stephen Hay

The fact is that a WebApp not only consists of the design must have a business logic and to do that, Javi's thought is to have the whole system connected with the pub/sub pattern, so you can know when an Atom, Molecule or Organism have a certain action.

Atom, Molecule, Organism… WTF?!

Yes, we know, you're a developer and not an alchemist ... but we wanted to based on the nomenclature of Brad to understand the concept. If you forgot your chemistry classes in high school, Brad teaches you very well in this picture: image

In this way we consider that:

  • Atom: It is the basic element of an Atoms WebApp such as input, button, ul, img ...
  • Molecule: The grouping of several atoms and these can communicate. A clear example would be a Search that binds the atoms label, input and button.
  • Organisms: The grouping of several atoms and molecules, which also can communicate. For example we could speak of a Header which holds for example the molecules Navigation and Search.
  • Templates: The idea of ​​a template is to create a basic scaffolding for a determinate section of your Atoms WebApp, you know that all Apps often have similar sections: Login, Lists, Charts ... so it is necessary to create and use the templates and provide to the community.
  • Pages: Brad talks about Pages and Javi call it Systems ... but the concept is the end result of the chemistry of your atoms, molecules, organisms and templates.

How to start testing Atoms?

Atoms fully developed with CoffeeScript language and its development tools have been used as NodeJS and Gulp. So if you don't have these applications installed, please install first NodeJS and then type the following commands:

npm install -g coffee-script
npm install -g gulp

Now you can download the project code and get all the necessary NPM modules:

git clone my-atoms
git submodule init
git submodule foreach git pull origin master
npm install

Once we have our computer ready, just you only need Gulp which have already scheduled tasks:

  • Test Library with Jasmine &
  • Compile Library in debug mode
  • Uglify Library for production mode
  • Process and minify stylus stylesheets

Run the gulp process to watch file changes and run the necessary tasks.

Your turn, make Atoms the best tool

We do not want you to be a reputed Alchemist, simply internalize these concepts and begin to study the new code that Javi is writing every day and help you on your way to creating a better system for creating custom WebApps, escabalables and community.

This is opensource, so feel free to fork this project to help us create a better tool. All source code is developed with CoffeeScript and Stylus, but don’t worry we worship clean-code so you can quickly get to make your own modifications in it.


Atoms is licensed under MIT licensed. See LICENSE file for more information.