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README.md

router.js

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router.js is a lightweight JavaScript library that builds on route-recognizer and rsvp to provide an API for handling routes.

In keeping with the Unix philosophy, it is a modular library that does one thing and does it well.

router.js is the routing microlib used by Ember.js.

NPM

To install using npm, run the following command:

npm install --save router_js rsvp route-recognizer

Usage

Create a new router:

var router = new Router();

Add a simple new route description:

router.map(function(match) {
  match("/posts/:id").to("showPost");
  match("/posts").to("postIndex");
  match("/posts/new").to("newPost");
});

Add your handlers. Note that you're responsible for implementing your own handler lookup.

var myHandlers = {}
myHandlers.showPost = {
  model: function(params) {
    return App.Post.find(params.id);
  },

  setup: function(post) {
    // render a template with the post
  }
};

myHandlers.postIndex = {
  model: function(params) {
    return App.Post.findAll();
  },

  setup: function(posts) {
    // render a template with the posts
  }
};

myHandlers.newPost = {
  setup: function(post) {
    // render a template with the post
  }
};

router.getHandler = function(name) {
  return myHandlers[name];
};

Use another modular library to listen for URL changes, and tell the router to handle a URL:

urlWatcher.onUpdate(function(url) {
  router.handleURL(url);
});

The router will parse the URL for parameters and then pass the parameters into the handler's model method. It will then pass the return value of model into the setup method. These two steps are broken apart to support async loading via promises (see below).

To transition into the state represented by a handler without changing the URL, use router.transitionTo:

router.transitionTo('showPost', post);

If you pass an extra parameter to transitionTo, as above, the router will pass it to the handler's serialize method to extract the parameters. Let's flesh out the showPost handler:

myHandlers.showPost = {
  // when coming in from a URL, convert parameters into
  // an object
  model: function(params) {
    return App.Post.find(params.id);
  },

  // when coming in from `transitionTo`, convert an
  // object into parameters
  serialize: function(post) {
    return { id: post.id };
  },

  setup: function(post) {
    // render a template with the post
  }
};

Changing the URL

As a modular library, router.js does not express an opinion about how to reflect the URL on the page. Many other libraries do a good job of abstracting hash and pushState and working around known bugs in browsers.

The router.updateURL hook will be called to give you an opportunity to update the browser's physical URL as you desire:

router.updateURL = function(url) {
  window.location.hash = url;
};

Some example libraries include:

Always In Sync

No matter whether you go to a handler via a URL change or via transitionTo, you will get the same behavior.

If you enter a state represented by a handler through a URL:

  • the handler will convert the URL's parameters into an object, and pass it in to setup
  • the URL is already up to date

If you enter a state via transitionTo:

  • the handler will convert the object into params, and update the URL.
  • the object is already available to pass into setup

This means that you can be sure that your application's top-level objects will always be in sync with the URL, no matter whether you are extracting the object from the URL or if you already have the object.

Asynchronous Transitions

When extracting an object from the parameters, you may need to make a request to the server before the object is ready.

You can easily achieve this by returning a promise from your model method. Because jQuery's Ajax methods already return promises, this is easy!

myHandlers.showPost = {
  model: function(params) {
    return $.getJSON("/posts/" + params.id).then(function(json) {
      return new App.Post(json.post);
    });
  },

  serialize: function(post) {
    return { id: post.get('id') };
  },

  setup: function(post) {
    // receives the App.Post instance
  }
};

Because transitions so often involve the resolution of asynchronous data, all transitions in router.js, are performed asynchronously, leveraging the RSVP promise library. For instance, the value returned from a call to transitionTo is a Transition object with a then method, adhering to the Promise API. Any code that you want to run after the transition has finished must be placed in the success handler of .then, e.g.:

router.transitionTo('showPost', post).then(function() {
  // Fire a 'displayWelcomeBanner' event on the
  // newly entered route.
  router.send('displayWelcomeBanner');
});

Nesting

You can nest routes, and each level of nesting can have its own handler.

If you move from one child of a parent route to another, the parent will not be set up again unless it deserializes to a different object.

Consider a master-detail view.

router.map(function(match) {
  match("/posts").to("posts", function(match) {
    match("/").to("postIndex");
    match("/:id").to("showPost");
  });
});

myHandlers.posts = {
  model: function() {
    return $.getJSON("/posts").then(function(json) {
      return App.Post.loadPosts(json.posts);
    });
  },

  // no serialize needed because there are no
  // dynamic segments

  setup: function(posts) {
    var postsView = new App.PostsView(posts);
    $("#master").append(postsView.el);
  }
};

myHandlers.postIndex = {
  setup: function() {
    $("#detail").hide();
  }
};

myHandlers.showPost = {
  model: function(params) {
    return $.getJSON("/posts/" + params.id, function(json) {
      return new App.Post(json.post);
    });
  }
};

You can also use nesting to build nested UIs, setting up the outer view when entering the handler for the outer route, and setting up the inner view when entering the handler for the inner route.

Transition Callbacks

When the URL changes and a handler becomes active, router.js invokes a number of callbacks:

Model Resolution / Entry Validation Callbacks

Before any routes are entered or exited, router.js first attempts to resolve all of the model objects for destination routes while also validating whether the destination routes can be entered at this time. To do this, router.js makes use of the model, beforeModel, and afterModel hooks.

The value returned from the model callback is the model object that will eventually be supplied to setup (described below) once all other routes have finished validating/resolving their models. It is passed a hash of URL parameters specific to its route that can be used to resolve the model.

myHandlers.showPost = {
  model: function(params, transition) {
    return App.Post.find(params.id);
  }

model will be called for every newly entered route, except for when a model is explicitly provided as an argument to transitionTo.

There are two other hooks you can use that will always fire when attempting to enter a route:

  • beforeModel is called before model is called, or before the passed-in model is attempted to be resolved. It receives a transition as its sole parameter (see below).
  • afterModel is called after model is called, or after the passed-in model has resolved. It receives both the resolved model and transition as its two parameters.

If the values returned from model, beforeModel, or afterModel are promises, the transition will wait until the promise resolves (or rejects) before proceeding with (or aborting) the transition.

serialize

serialize should be implemented on as many handlers as necessary to consume the passed in contexts, if the transition occurred through transitionTo. A context is consumed if the handler's route fragment has a dynamic segment and the handler has a model method.

Entry, update, exit hooks.

The following hooks are called after all model resolution / route validation hooks have resolved:

  • enter only when the handler becomes active, not when it remains active after a change
  • setup when the handler becomes active, or when the handler's context changes

For handlers that are no longer active after a change, router.js invokes the exit callback.

The order of callbacks are:

  • exit in reverse order
  • enter starting from the first new handler
  • setup starting from the first handler whose context has changed

For example, consider the following tree of handlers. Each handler is followed by the URL segment it handles.

|~index ("/")
| |~posts ("/posts")
| | |-showPost ("/:id")
| | |-newPost ("/new")
| | |-editPost ("/edit")
| |~about ("/about/:id")

Consider the following transitions:

  1. A URL transition to /posts/1.
    1. Triggers the beforeModel, model, afterModel callbacks on the index, posts, and showPost handlers
    2. Triggers the enter callback on the same
    3. Triggers the setup callback on the same
  2. A direct transition to newPost
    1. Triggers the beforeModel, model, afterModel callbacks on the newPost.
    2. Triggers the exit callback on showPost
    3. Triggers the enter callback on newPost
    4. Triggers the setup callback on newPost
  3. A direct transition to about with a specified context object
    1. Triggers beforeModel, resolves the specified context object if it's a promise, and triggers afterModel.
    2. Triggers the exit callback on newPost and posts
    3. Triggers the serialize callback on about
    4. Triggers the enter callback on about
    5. Triggers the setup callback on about

Nesting Without Handlers

You can also nest without extra handlers, for clarity.

For example, instead of writing:

router.map(function(match) {
  match("/posts").to("postIndex");
  match("/posts/new").to("newPost");
  match("/posts/:id/edit").to("editPost");
  match("/posts/:id").to("showPost");
});

You could write:

router.map(function(match) {
  match("/posts", function(match) {
    match("/").to("postIndex");
    match("/new").to("newPost");

    match("/:id", function(match) {
      match("/").to("showPost");
      match("/edit").to("editPost");
    });
  });
});

Typically, this sort of nesting is more verbose but makes it easier to change patterns higher up. In this case, changing /posts to /pages would be easier in the second example than the first.

Both recognize the same sets of URLs but only the nested ones invoke the hooks in the ancestor routes too.

Events

When handlers are active, you can trigger events on the router. The router will search for a registered event backwards from the last active handler.

You specify events using an events hash in the handler definition:

handlers.postIndex = {
  events: {
    expand: function(handler) {
      // the event gets a reference to the handler
      // it is triggered on as the first argument
    }
  }
}

For example:

router.map(function(match) {
  match("/posts").to("posts", function(match) {
    match("/").to("postIndex");
    match("/:id").to("showPost");
    match("/edit").to("editPost");
  });
});

myHandlers.posts = {
  events: {
    collapseSidebar: function(handler) {
      // do something to collapse the sidebar
    }
  }
};

myHandlers.postIndex = {};
myHandlers.showPost = {};

myHandlers.editPost = {
  events: {
    collapseSidebar: function(handler) {
      // override the collapseSidebar handler from
      // the posts handler
    }
  }
};

// trigger the event
router.trigger('collapseSidebar');

When at the postIndex or showPost route, the collapseSidebar event will be triggered on the posts handler.

When at the editPost route, the collapseSidebar event will be triggered on the editPost handler.

When you trigger an event on the router, router.js will walk backwards from the last active handler looking for an events hash containing that event name. Once it finds the event, it calls the function with the handler as the first argument.

This allows you to define general event handlers higher up in the router's nesting that you override at more specific routes.

If you would like an event to continue bubbling after it has been handled, you can trigger this behavior by returning true from the event handler.

Built-in events

There are a few built-in events pertaining to transitions that you can use to customize transition behavior: willTransition and error.

willTransition

The willTransition event is fired at the beginning of any attempted transition with a Transition object as the sole argument. This event can be used for aborting, redirecting, or decorating the transition from the currently active routes.

var formRoute = {
  events: {
    willTransition: function(transition) {
      if (!formEmpty() && !confirm("Discard Changes?")) {
        transition.abort();
      }
    }
  }
};

You can also redirect elsewhere by calling this.transitionTo('elsewhere') from within willTransition. Note that willTransition will not be fired for the redirecting transitionTo, since willTransition doesn't fire when there is already a transition underway. If you want subsequent willTransition events to fire for the redirecting transition, you must first explicitly call transition.abort().

error

When attempting to transition into a route, any of the hooks may throw an error, or return a promise that rejects, at which point an error event will be fired on the partially-entered routes, allowing for per-route error handling logic, or shared error handling logic defined on a parent route.

Here is an example of an error handler that will be invoked for rejected promises / thrown errors from the various hooks on the route, as well as any unhandled errors from child routes:

var adminRoute = {
  beforeModel: function() {
    throw "bad things!";
    // ...or, equivalently:
    return RSVP.reject("bad things!");
  },

  events: {
    error: function(error, transition) {
      // Assuming we got here due to the error in `beforeModel`,
      // we can expect that error === "bad things!",
      // but a promise model rejecting would also
      // call this hook, as would any errors encountered
      // in `afterModel`.

      // The `error` hook is also provided the failed
      // `transition`, which can be stored and later
      // `.retry()`d if desired.

      router.transitionTo('login');
    }
  }
};

Generating URLs

Often, you'll want to be able to generate URLs from their components. To do so, use the router.generate(*parts) method.

myRouter = new Router()
  myRouter.map(function(match){
    match("/posts/:id/:mode").to("showPost", function(match){
      match("/version/:versionId", "postVersion");
    });
  });
  
myHandlers.showPost = {
  serialize: function(obj) {
    return {
      id: obj.id,
      tag: obj.modeName
    };
  } //...
};

myHandlers.postVersion = {
  serialize: function(obj) {
    return {
      versionId: obj.id
    };
  }
  //...
};

//...

*parts can accept either a set of primitives, or a set of objects. If it is a set of strings, router.generate will attempt to build the route using each string in order.

myRouter.generate("showPost", 4, 'a'); // returns '/posts/4/a'

If it is a set of objects, it will attempt to build the route by serializing each object.

myRouter.generate("showPost", {id: 4, modeName: 'a'}); // returns '/posts/4/a'

One can also use generate with nested routes. With strings, one simply provides all the URL fragments for each route in order:

myRouter.generate("postVersion", 4, 'a', 'first'); // returns '/posts/4/a/version/first'

With objects, one provides one object for each route in the chain; each route will then deserialize the corresponding object.

myRouter.generate("postVersion", {id: 4, modeName: 'a'}, {id: 'first'}); // returns '/posts/4/a/version/first'

One can mix and match between strings and objects; however, this is not recommended, as it can be extremely confusing and error prone:

myRouter.generate("postVersion", 4, modeName: 'a', {id: 'first'}); // returns '/posts/4/a/version/first'
myRouter.generate("postVersion", {id: 4, modeName: 'a'}, 'first'); // returns '/posts/4/a/version/first'

Route Recognizer

router.js uses route-recognizer under the hood, which uses an NFA to match routes. This means that even somewhat elaborate routes will work:

router.map(function(match) {
  // this will match anything, followed by a slash,
  // followed by a dynamic segment (one or more non-
  // slash characters)
  match("/*page/:location").to("showPage");
});

If there are multiple matches, route-recognizer will prefer routes that are more specific, so /posts/edit will be preferred over, say, /posts/:id.

Architecture / Contributing

An architectural overview of router.js and its related libraries can be found in ARCHITECTURE.md. Please read this document if you are interested in better understanding / contributing to router.js.

Building router.js

  1. Ensure that Node.js is installed.
  2. Run npm install to ensure the required dependencies are installed.
  3. Run npm run build to build router.js. The builds will be placed in the dist/ directory.

Running the unit tests

  1. To start the development server, run npm start.
  2. Visit http://localhost:4200/tests/

or from the command line:

  1. run npm test