SilverStripe CMS JavaScript Refactoring

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Outlines the refactoring effort of the SilverStripe CMS codebase, which was an internal project at SilverStripe Ltd. mid 2009. The main objective was to simplify CMS extensions for intermediate …

Outlines the refactoring effort of the SilverStripe CMS codebase, which was an internal project at SilverStripe Ltd. mid 2009. The main objective was to simplify CMS extensions for intermediate frontend/backend developers. In practice this meant a lot of housekeeping, and the consistent usage of jQuery and jQuery UI over PrototypeJS.

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  • 1. SILVERSTRIPE CMS JAVASCRIPT REFACTORING The jsparty is over! Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 2. SCOPE • JavaScript library upgrade, no more forks • CMS JavaScript cleanup Rewrite in jQuery where feasible • CMS PHP Controller simplification • More solid UI components with jQuery UI and plugins • CSS Architecture for easier customization • Not a large-scale CMS redesign Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 3. LIBRARIES • Prototype 1.4rc3 to jQuery 1.3 • Random UI code and ancient libs to jQuery UI 1.7 • Custom behaviour.js to jQuery.concrete • External libraries managed by Piston (piston.rubyforge.org/) instead of svn:externals Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 4. GOODBYE JSPARTY • Merged external libraries to cms/thirdparty and sapphire/thirdparty Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 5. THE DARK AGES function hover_over() { Element.addClassName(this, 'over'); } function hover_out() { Element.removeClassName(this, 'over'); } hover_behaviour = { onmouseover : hover_over, onmouseout : hover_out } jsparty/hover.js Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 6. THE DARK AGES class LeftAndMain { // ... public function returnItemToUser($p) { // ... $response = <<<JS var tree = $('sitetree'); var newNode = tree.createTreeNode("$id", "$treeTitle", "{$p->class}{$hasChildren} {$singleInstanceCSSClass}"); node = tree.getTreeNodeByIdx($parentID); if(!node) { node = tree.getTreeNodeByIdx(0); } node.open(); node.appendTreeNode(newNode); newNode.selectTreeNode(); JS; FormResponse::add($response); FormResponse::add($this->hideSingleInstanceOnlyFromCreateFieldJS($p)); return FormResponse::respond(); } } cms/code/LeftAndMain.php (excerpt) Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 7. BEST PRACTICES • Don’t claim global properties • Assume element collections • Encapsulate: jQuery.concrete, jQuery plugin, jQueryUI widget (in this order) Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 8. ENCAPSULATE: EXAMPLE Simple Highlight jQuery Plugin // create closure (function($) { // plugin definition $.fn.hilight = function(options) { // build main options before element iteration var opts = $.extend({}, $.fn.hilight.defaults, options); // iterate and reformat each matched element return this.each(function() { $this = $(this); // build element specific options var o = $.meta ? $.extend({}, opts, $this.data()) : opts; // update element styles $this.css({backgroundColor: o.background,color: o.foreground}); }); }; // plugin defaults $.fn.hilight.defaults = {foreground: "red",background: "yellow"}; // end of closure })(jQuery); Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 9. BEST PRACTICES • Useplain HTML, jQuery.data() and jQuery.metadata to encode initial state and (some) configuration • Better than building “object cathedrals” in most cases Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 10. STATE: EXAMPLE Simple Form Changetracking State in CSS $('form :input').bind('change', function(e) { $(this.form).addClass('isChanged'); }); properties $('form').bind('submit', function(e) { if($(this).hasClass('isChanged')) return false; }); $('form :input').bind('change', function(e) { State in DOM $(this.form).data('isChanged', true); }); $('form').bind('submit', function(e) { (through jQuery.data()) if($(this).data('isChanged')) return false; }); Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 11. BEST PRACTICES • Ajax responses should default to HTML Makes it easier to write unobtrusive markup and use SilverStripe templating • Use HTTP metadata to transport state and additional data Example: 404 HTTP status code to return “Not Found” Example: Custom “X-Status” header for more detailed UI status • Return JSON if HTML is not feasible Example: Update several tree nodes after CMS batch actions Alternative: Inspect the returned DOM for more structured data like id attributes • For AJAX and parameter transmission, <form> is your friend Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 12. AJAX: EXAMPLE Simple Serverside Autocomplete for Page Titles <form action"#"> <div class="autocomplete {url:'MyController/autocomplete'}"> <input type="text" name="title" /> <div class="results" style="display: none;"> </div> <input type="submit" value="action_autocomplete" /> </form> MyController.ss Using jQuery.metadata, but could be a plain SilverStripe Form as well <ul> <% control Results %> <li id="Result-$ID">$Title</li> <% end_control %> </ul> AutoComplete.ss Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 13. AJAX: EXAMPLE class MyController { function autocomplete($request) { $SQL_title = Convert::raw2sql($request->getVar('title')); $results = DataObject::get("Page", "Title LIKE '%$SQL_title%'"); if(!$results) return new HTTPResponse("Not found", 404); // Use HTTPResponse to pass custom status messages $this->response->setStatusCode(200, "Found " . $results->Count() . " elements"); // render all results with a custom template $vd = new ViewableData(); return $vd->customise(array( "Results" => $results ))->renderWith('AutoComplete'); } } MyController.php Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 14. AJAX: EXAMPLE $('.autocomplete input').live('change', function() { var resultsEl = $(this).siblings('.results'); resultsEl.load( // get form action, using the jQuery.metadata plugin $(this).parent().metadata().url, // submit all form values $(this.form).serialize(), // callback after data is loaded function(data, status) { resultsEl.show(); // optional: get all record IDs from the new HTML var ids = jQuery('.results').find('li').map(function() { return $(this).attr('id').replace(/Record-/,''); }); } ); }); MyController.js Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 15. BEST PRACTICES • Use events and observation for component communication • Use composition for synchronous, two-way communicatoin • Use callbacks to allow for customization • Don’t overuse prototypical inheritance and pseudo-classes • Only expose public APIs where necessary (through jQuery.concrete) Friday, 28 August 2009
  • 16. RESOURCES Documentation (unreleased) http://doc.silverstripe.com/doku.php?id=2.4:javascript Source (unreleased, pre 2.4 alpha) http://github.com/chillu/sapphire/tree/jsrewrite http://github.com/chillu/cms/tree/jsrewrite Friday, 28 August 2009