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# Wednesday, 04 January 2017

Although the golden age of IE8 has already passed and Microsoft already has stopped its support, this browser still occupies about 3% of the of the world market desktop browsers. Despite this, many big organisations still use this browser for enterprise web applications. We may confirm this, since we deal with such organisations around the world. Companies try to get rid of IE8, but this often requires Windows upgrade and resources to re-test all their web applications. If such company has many web terminals  with Windows 7 or even with XP, this task becames rather expensive. So, this process advances rather slowly. Meanwhile, these organizations don't stop development of new web applications that must work on new HTML5 browsers and on old IE8.

A year ago we had developed an UIUpload AngularJS directive and service that simplifies file uploading in web applications with AngularJS client. It works as expected on all HTML5 browsers. But few days ago, we were asked to help with file uploading from AngularJS web application that will work in IE8. We've spent few hours in order to investigate existing third-party AngularJS directives and components. Here are few of them:

All of these directives for IE8 degrade down to <form> and <iframe> and then track the uploading progress. These solutions don't allow to select files for old browsers. At the same time, our aim was to implement an AngularJS directive that allows selecting a file and perform uploading, which will work for IE8 and for new browsers too.

Since IE8 neither supports FormData nor File API, thus, the directive must work with DOM elements directly. In order to open file selection dialog we need to hide  <input type="file"/> element and then to route client-side event to it. When a file is selected it is sent to a server as multipart/form-data message. The server's result will be caught by hidden <iframe> element and passed to the directive's controller.

After few attempts we've implemented the desired directive. The small VS2015 solution that demonstrates this directive and server-side file handler you may download here.

The key feature of this directive is emulation of replace and template directive's definition properties:

       var directive =
       {
          restrict: "AE",
          scope:
          {
            id: "@",
            serverUrl: "@",
            accept: "@?",
            onSuccess: "&",
            onError: "&?",
          },
          link: function (scope, element, attrs, controller)
          {
            var id = scope.id || ("fileUpload" + scope.$id);

            var template = "<iframe name='%id%$iframe' id='%id%$iframe' style='display: none;'>" +
              "</iframe><form name='%id%$form' enctype='multipart/form-data' " +
              "method='post' action='%action%' target='%id%$iframe'>" +
              "<span style='position:relative;display:inline-block;overflow:hidden;padding:0;'>" +
              "%html%<input type='file' name='%id%$file' id='%id%$file' " +
              "style='position:absolute;height:100%;width:100%;left:-10px;top:-1px;z-index:100;" +
              "font-size:50px;opacity:0;filter:alpha(opacity=0);'/></span></form>".
                replace("%action%", scope.serverUrl).
                  replace("%html%", element.html()).
                    replace(/%id%/g, id);

            element.replaceWith(template);
            ...
          }
       }
    

We used such emulation, since each directive instance (an element) must have unique name and ID in order to work properly. On the one hand template that returned by function should have a root element when you use replace. On the other hand, IE8 doesn't like such root element (e.g. we've not succeeded to dispatch the click javascript event to the <input> element).

The usage of the directive looks like as our previous example (see UIUpload):

    <a file-upload=""
      class="btn btn-primary"        
      accept=".*"
      server-url="api/upload"
      on-success="controller.uploadSucceed(data, fileName)"
      on-error="controller.uploadFailed(e)">Click here to upload file</a>    

Where:

accept
is a comma separated list of acceptable file extensions.
server-url
is server URL where to upload the selected file. In case when there is no "server-url" attribute the content of selected file will be passed to success handler as a data URI.
on-success
A "success" handler, which is called when upload is finished successfully.
on-error
An "error" handler, which is called when upload is failed.

We hope this simple directive may help to keep calm for those of you who is forced to deal with IE8 and more advanced browsers at the same time.

Wednesday, 04 January 2017 10:52:41 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
.NET | AngularJS | ASP.NET | javascript
# Sunday, 11 September 2016

Angular 2 is already available though there are a lot of code and libraries that are still in Angular 1.x. Here we outline how to write AngularJS 1.x in the modern javascript.

Prerequisites: EcmaScript 2015, javascript decorators, AngularJS 1.x. No knowledge of Angular 2.0 is required.

Please note that decorators we have introduced, while resemble those from Angular 2, do not match them exactly.

A sample uses nodejs, npm and gulp as a building pipeline. In addition we have added Visual Studio Nodejs project, and maven project.

Build pipeline uses Babel with ES 2015 and decorator plugins to transpile sources into javascript that today's browsers do support. Babel can be replaced or augmented with Typescript compiler to support Microsoft's javascript extensions. Sources are combinded and optionally minified into one or more javascript bundles. In addition html template files are transformed into javascript modules that export a content of html body as a string literals. In general all sources are in src folder and the build's output is assembled in the dist folder. Details of build process are in gulpfile.js

So, let's introduce an API we have defined in angular-decorators.js module:

  • Class decorators:
    • Component(name, options?) - a decorator to register angular component.
    • Controller(name) - a decorator to register angular controller.
    • Directive(name, options?) - a decorator to register angular directive.
    • Injectable(name) - a decorator to register angular service.
    • Module(name, ...require) - a decorator to declare an angular module;
    • Pipe(name, pure?) - a decorator to register angular filter.

    Component's and Directive's options is the same object passed into Module.component(), Module.directive() calls with difference that no options.bindings, options.scope, options.require is specified. Instead @Attribute(), @Input(), @Output(), @TwoWay(), @Collection(), @Optional() are used to describe options.bindings, and @Host(), Self(), SkipSelf(), @Optional() are used to describe options.require

    Every decorated class can use @Inject() member decorator to inject a service.

  • Member decorators:
    • Attribute(name?) - a decorator that binds attribute to the property.
    • BindThis() - a decorator that binds "this" of the function to the class instance.
    • Collection() - a decorator that binds a collection property to an expression in attribute in two directions.
    • Host(name?) - a decorator that binds a property to a host controller of a directive found on the element or its ancestors.
    • HostListener(name?) - a decorator that binds method to a host event.
    • Inject(name?) - an injection member decorator.
    • Input(name?) - a decorator that binds a property to an expression in attribute.
    • Optional() - a decorator that optionally binds a property.
    • Output(name?) - a decorator that provides a way to execute an expression in the context of the parent scope.
    • Self(name?) - a decorator that binds a property to a host controller of a directive found on the element.
    • SkipSelf(name?) - a decorator that binds a property to a host controller of a directive found on the ancestors of the element.
    • TwoWay() - a decorator that binds a property to an expression in attribute in two directions.

    If optional name is omitted in the member decorator then property name is used as a name parameter. @Host(), @Self(), @SkipSelf() accept class decorated with @Component() or @Directive() as a name parameter.

    @Inject() accepts class decorated with @Injectable() or @Pipe() as a name parameter.

  • Other:
    • modules(...require) - converts an array of modules, possibly referred by module classes, to an array of module names.

Now we can start with samples. Please note that we used samples scattered here and there on the Anuglar site.

@Component(), @SkipSelf(), @Attribute()

In the Angular's component development guide there is a sample myTabs and myPane components.
Here its rewritten form components/myTabs.js:
import { Component } from "../angular-decorators"; // Import decorators
import template from "../templates/my-tabs.html"; // Import template for my-tabs component
@Component("myTabs", { template, transclude: true }) // Decorate class as a component
export class MyTabs // Controller class for the component
{
  panes = []; // List of active panes
  select(pane) // Selects an active pane
  {
    this.panes.forEach(function(pane) { pane.selected = false; });
    pane.selected = true;
  }
  addPane(pane) // Adds a new pane
  {
    if (this.panes.length === 0)
    {
      this.select(pane);
    }
    this.panes.push(pane);
  }
}
components/myPane.js:
import { Component, Attribute, SkipSelf } "../angular-decorators"; // Import decorators
import { MyTabs } from "./myTabs"; // Import container's directive.
import template from "../templates/my-pane.html"; // Import template.
@Component("myPane", { template, transclude: true }) // Decorate class as a component
export class MyPane // Controller class for the component
{
  @SkipSelf(MyTabs) tabsCtrl; //Inject ancestor MyTabs controller.
  @Attribute() title; // Attribute "@" binding.
  $onInit() // Angular's $onInit life-cycle hook.
  {
    this.tabsCtrl.addPane(this);
    console.log(this);
  };
}    
@Component(), @Input(), @Output()
In the Angular's component development guide there is a sample myTabs component.
Here its rewritten form components/heroDetail.js:
import { Component, Input, Output } from "../angular-decorators";
import template from "../templates/heroDetail.html";
@Component("heroDetail", { template }) // Decorate class as a component
export class HeroDetail // Controller class for the component
{
  @Input() hero; // One way binding "<"
  @Output() onDelete; // Bind expression in the context of the parent scope "&"
  @Output() onUpdate; // Bind expression in the context of the parent scope "&"
  delete()
  {
    this.onDelete({ hero: this.hero });
  };
  update(prop, value)
  {
    this.onUpdate({ hero: this.hero, prop, value });
  };
}
@Directive(), @Inject(), @Input(), @BindThis()

In the Angular's directive development guide there is a sample myCurrentTime directive.
Here its rewritten form directives/myCurrentTime.js:
import { Directive, Inject, Input, BindThis } from "../angular-decorators"; // Import decorators
@Directive("myCurrentTime") // Decorate MyCurrentTime class as a directive
export class MyCurrentTime // Controller class for the directive
{
  @Inject() $interval; // "$interval" service is injected into $interval property
  @Inject() dateFilter; // "date" filter service is injected into dateFilter property
  @Inject() $element; // "$element" instance is injected into $element property.
  @Input() myCurrentTime; // Input one way "<" property.
  timeoutId;
  // updateTime is adapted as following in the constructor: 
  //   this.updateTime = this.updateTime.bind(this);
  @BindThis() updateTime() 
  {
    this.$element.text(this.dateFilter(new Date(), this.myCurrentTime));
  }
  $onInit() // Angular's $onInit life-cycle hook.
  {
    this.timeoutId = this.$interval(this.updateTime, 1000);
  }
  $onDestroy() // Angular's $onDestroys life-cycle hook.
  {
    this.$interval.cancel(this.timeoutId);
  }
  $onChanges(changes) // Angular's $onChanges life-cycle hook.
  {
    this.updateTime();
  }
}
@Directive(), @Inject(), @HostListener(), @BindThis()

In the Angular's directive development guide there is a sample myDraggable directive.
Here its rewritten form. directives/myDraggable.js:
import { Directive, Inject, HostListener, BindThis } from "../angular-decorators"; // Import decorators
@Directive("myDraggable") // Decorate class as a directive
export class MyDraggable // Controller class for the directive
{
  @Inject() $document; // "$document" instance is injected into $document property.
  @Inject() $element;// "$element" instance is injected into $element property.
  startX = 0;
  startY = 0;
  x = 0;
  y = 0;
  // Listen mousedown event over $element.
  @HostListener() mousedown(event)
  {
    // Prevent default dragging of selected content
    event.preventDefault();
    this.startX = event.pageX - this.x;
    this.startY = event.pageY - this.y;
    this.$document.on('mousemove', this.mousemove);
    this.$document.on('mouseup', this.mouseup);
  }
  @BindThis() mousemove(event) // bind mousemove() function to "this" instance.
  {
    this.y = event.pageY - this.startY;
    this.x = event.pageX - this.startX;
    this.$element.css({
      top: this.y + 'px',
      left: this.x + 'px'
    });
  }
  @BindThis() mouseup() // bind mouseup() function to "this" instance.
  {
    this.$document.off('mousemove', this.mousemove);
    this.$document.off('mouseup', this.mouseup);
  }
  $onInit() // Angular's $onInit life-cycle hook.
  {
    this.$element.css(
    {
      position: 'relative',
      border: '1px solid red',
      backgroundColor: 'lightgrey',
      cursor: 'pointer'
    });
  }
}
@Injectable(), @Inject()

In the Angular's providers development guide there is a sample notifier service.
Here its rewritten form. services/notify.js:
import { Inject, Injectable } from "../angular-decorators"; // Import decorators
@Injectable("notifier") // Decorate class as a service
export class NotifierService
{
  @Inject() $window; // Inject "$window" instance into the property
  msgs = [];
  notify(msg)
  {
    this.msgs.push(msg);
    if (this.msgs.length === 3)
    {
      this.$window.alert(this.msgs.join('\n'));
      this.msgs = [];
    }
  }
}
@Pipe()

In the Angular's filters development guide there is a sample reverse custom filter.
Here its rewritten form. filters/reverse.js:
import { Pipe } from "../angular-decorators"; // Import decorators
@Pipe("reverse") // Decorate class as a filter
export class ReverseFilter
{
  transform(input, uppercase) // filter function.
  {
    input = input || '';
    var out = '';
    for(var i = 0; i < input.length; i++)
    {
      out = input.charAt(i) + out;
    }
    // conditional based on optional argument
    if (uppercase)
    {
      out = out.toUpperCase();
    }
    return out;
  }
}
Module(), modules(), angular.bootstrap()
Here are an examples of a class representing angular module, and manual angular bootstrap:
import { angular, modules, Module } from "../angular-decorators"; // Import decorators
import { MyController } from "./controllers/myController"; // Import components.
import { HeroList } from "./components/heroList";
import { HeroDetail } from "./components/heroDetail";
import { EditableField } from "./components/editableField";
import { NotifierService } from "./services/notify";
import { MyTabs } from "./components/myTabs";
import { MyPane } from "./components/myPane";
import { ReverseFilter } from "./filters/reverse";
import { MyCurrentTime } from "./directives/myCurrentTime";
import { MyDraggable } from "./directives/myDraggable";
@Module( // Decorator to register angular module, and refer to other modules or module components.
  "my-app",
  [
    MyController,
    NotifierService,
    HeroList,
    HeroDetail,
    EditableField,
    MyTabs,
    MyPane,
    ReverseFilter,
    MyCurrentTime,
    MyDraggable
  ])
class MyApp { }
// Manual bootstrap, with modules() converting module classes into an array of module names.
angular.bootstrap(document, modules(MyApp));

Please see angular-decorators.js to get detailed help on decorators.

Sunday, 11 September 2016 08:32:54 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
.NET | AngularJS | Announce | Java | javascript
# Sunday, 08 November 2015

Some of our latest projects used file uploading feature. Whether this is an excel, an audio or an image file, the file uploading mechanism remains the same. In a web application an user selects a file and uploads it to the server. Browser sends this file as a multipart-form file attachment, which is then handled on server.

The default HTML way to upload file to server is to use <input type="file"> element on a form. The rendering of such element is different in different browsers and looks rather ugly. Thus, almost all well known javascript libraries like JQuery, Kendo UI etc. provide their own implementations of file upload component. The key statement here is "almost", since in AngularJS bootstrap we didn't find anything like that. It worth to say that we've found several third-party implementations for file upload, but they either have rather complex implementation for such simple task or don't provide file selection feature. This is the reason why we've decided to implement this task by ourselves.

Sources of our solution with upload-link directive and uiUploader service you may find here.

Their usage is rather simple.
E.g. for upload-ink directive:

      <a upload-link
       class="btn btn-primary"
       accept=".*"
       server-url="api/upload"
       on-success="controller.uploadSucceed(data, file)"
       on-error="controller.uploadFailed(e)">Click here to upload an image</a>
    

Where:

accept
is a comma separated list of acceptable file extensions.
server-url
is server URL where to upload the selected file. In case when there is no "server-url" attribute the content of selected file will be passed to success handler as a data URI.
on-success
A "success" handler, which is called when upload is finished successfully.
on-error
An "error" handler, which is called when upload is failed.

Usage of uiUploader service is also easy:

      uiUploader.selectAndUploadFile("api/upload", ".jpg,.png,.gif").
        then(
            function(result)
            {
              // TODO: handle the result.
              //       result.data - contains the server response
              //       result.file - contains uploaded File or Blob instance.              
            },
            $log.error);
    

In case when the first parameter is null the result.data contains the selected file content as a data URI.

Sunday, 08 November 2015 16:21:04 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
AngularJS | ASP.NET | javascript
# Monday, 28 September 2015

In a web project we needed to provide a region selection tool.

This requirement is resulted in a javascript module selectionTool, and in an angularjs wrappers selection, and clip.

There are samples test.html, and angularjs-test.html.

The module is implemented through SVG manipulation. Selection paths are defined in terms of SVG.

The simplest way to start with this API is through test pages.

From the client perspective API allows to:

  • create a new selection - click and drag path;
  • select/unselect selection - click selection overlay or image area;
  • move selected path - drag selected overlay, or click arrow keys;
  • move selected edge - drag selected edge;
  • move selected vertex - drag selected vertex;
  • delete selected path - Delete button;
  • add selection vertex - double click or ctrl + click a selection edge;
  • remove selection vertex - double click or ctrl + click a selection vertex;
  • scale selection - shift + drag selection, or shift + arrow keys;
  • rotate selection - ctrl + drag selection, or ctrl + arrow keys.

Sources can be found at GitHub: nesterovsky-bros/selection.

Monday, 28 September 2015 19:05:13 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
AngularJS | javascript
# Friday, 10 July 2015

Here we show two snall directives that help to build fixed menu bar in your angularjs application.

There are two ideas behind:

  1. Expose element's bounds into a scope for a manipulation (ui-bounds directive).
  2. Allow to react to scroll DOM event (ui-scroll directive).

Directive implementation is very simple. See bounds.html at GitHub.

The use cases are also trivial to unerstand and implement. Take a look at two of them.

  1. Fixed menu:
    <div ng-style="{paddingTop: headerBounds.height.toFixed() + 'px' }">
      <div style="position: fixed; z-index: 1; top: 0; width: 100%; background: menu" 
        ui-bounds="headerBounds">My header</div>
      <div>
        long content that produces a scroll bar.
      </div>
    </div>
  2. Synchronized scroll of table header
    <div style="width: 50em; overflow: hidden; background: pink">
      <div style="position: relative" 
        ng-style="{left: bodyBounds.left.toFixed() + 'px'}">header...<div>
    </div>
    <div style="width: 50em; height: 5em; overflow: auto; background: blue"
      ui-scroll>
      <div ui-bounds="bodyBounds">body...</div>
    </div>

You can see the demo at: nesterovsky-bros/angularjs-api/master/angularjs/bounds.html.

Friday, 10 July 2015 21:04:40 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
AngularJS | javascript
# Sunday, 07 June 2015

In our angularjs projects we are often dealing with existing models that do not always fit to angularjs expectations.

Here is an example.

There is a model consisting of two arrays: for data, and for associated data. How to create an ng-repeat that displays data from both sources?

Consider a test controller (see a github sources, and a rawgit working sample):

model.controller(
  "Test",
  function()
  {
    this.records =
    [
      { name: "record 1", state: "Draft" },
      { name: "record 2", state: "Public" },
      { name: "record 3", state: "Disabled" },
      { name: "record 4", state: "Public" },
      { name: "record 5", state: "Public" }
    ];

    this.more =
    [
      { value: 1, selected: true, visible: true },
      { value: 2, selected: false, visible: true },
      { value: 3, selected: true, visible: true },
      { value: 4, selected: false, visible: false },
      { value: 5, selected: false, visible: true }
    ];

    this.delete = function(index)
    {
      this.records.splice(index, 1);
      this.more.splice(index, 1);
    };
  });

Basically there are three approaches here:

  1. Change model.
  2. Adapt model to a single collection.
  3. ng-repeat over first array and access the second array using $index scope variable.

We argued like this:

  • It is often not an option to change a model, as it's how business data are described.
  • A model adaptation when we build a single collection from original two collections, and synchronize it back (if required) may unnecessary complicate things.
  • Thus let's get associated items by $index variable.

This is an example of ng-repeat use:

<table border="1">
  <tr>
    <th>[x]</th>
    <th>Name</th>
    <th>Value</th>
    <th>State</th>
    <th>Actions</th>
  </tr>
  <tr ng-repeat="item in test.records track by $index"
    ng-if="test.more[$index].visible">
    <td>    
      <input type="checkbox" ng-model="test.more[$index].selected"/>
    </td>
    <td>{{item.name}}</td>
    <td>{{test.more[$index].value}}</td>
    <td>{{item.state}}</td>
    <td>
      <a href="#" ng-click="test.delete($index)">Delete</a>
    </td>
  </tr>
</table>

Look at how associated data is accessed: test.more[$index]... Our goal was to optimize that repeating parts, so we looked at ng-init directive.

Though docs warn about its use: "the only appropriate use of ngInit is for aliasing special properties of ngRepeat", we thought that our use of ng-init is rather close to what docs state, so we tried the following:

...
<tr ng-repeat="item in test.records track by $index" 
  ng-init="more = test.more[$index]" 
  ng-if="more.visible">
  <td>    
    <input type="checkbox" ng-model="more.selected"/>
  </td>
  <td>{{item.name}}</td>
  <td>{{more.value}}</td>
  <td>{{item.state}}</td>
  <td>
    <a href="#" ng-click="test.delete($index)">Delete</a>
  </td>
</tr>
...

This code just does not work, as it shows empty table, as if ng-if is always evaluated to false. From docs we found the reason:

  • the priority of the directive ng-if is higher than the prirority of the ng-init, and besides ng-if is a terminal directive;
  • as result ng-if directive is bound, and ng-init is not;
  • when ng-if is evaluated no $scope.more is defined, so more.visible is evaluated to false.

To workaround ng-init/ng-if problem we refactored ng-if as ng-if-start/ng-if-end:

...
<tr ng-repeat="item in test.records track by $index" 
  ng-init="more = test.more[$index]">
  <td ng-if-start="more.visible">
    <input type="checkbox" ng-model="more.selected"/>
  </td>
  <td>{{item.name}}</td>
  <td>{{more.value}}</td>
  <td>{{item.state}}</td>
  <td ng-if-end>
    <a href="#" ng-click="test.delete($index)">Delete</a>
  </td>
</tr>
...

This code works much better and shows a correct content. But then click "Delete" for a row with Name "record 2" and you will find that updated table is out of sync for all data that come from test.more array.

So, why the data goes out of sync? The reason is in the way how the ng-init is implemented: its expression is evaluated just once at directive's pre-link phase. So, the value of $scope.more will persist for the whole ng-init's life cycle, and it does not matter that test.mode[$index] may have changed at some point.

At this point we have decided to introduce a small directive named ui-eval that will act in a way similar to ng-init but that:

  • will run before ng-if;
  • will be re-evaluated when it's value is changed.

This is it:

module.directive(
  "uiEval",
  function()
  {
    var directive =
    {
      restrict: 'A',
      priority: 700,
      link:
      {
        pre: function(scope, element, attr)
        {
          scope.$watch(attr["uiEval"]);
        }
      }
    };

    return directive;
  });

The ui-eval version of the markup is:

...
<tr ng-repeat="item in test.records track by $index" 
  ui-eval="more = test.more[$index]" 
  ng-if="more.visible">
  <td>    
    <input type="checkbox" ng-model="more.selected"/>
  </td>
  <td>{{item.name}}</td>
  <td>{{more.value}}</td>
  <td>{{item.state}}</td>
  <td>
    <a href="#" ng-click="test.delete($index)">Delete</a>
  </td>
</tr>
...

It works as expected both during initial rendering and when model is updated.

We consider ui-eval is a "better" ng-init as it solves ng-init's silent limitations. On the other hand it should not try to evaluate any complex logic, as it can be often re-evaluated, so its use case is to alias a sub-expression. It can be used in any context and is not limited to items of ng-repeat.

Source code can be found at github, and a working sample at rawgit.

Sunday, 07 June 2015 11:46:11 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
AngularJS | javascript | Tips and tricks
# Thursday, 07 May 2015

Stackoverfow shows that people are searching How to intercept $resource requests.

Recently we have written about the way to cancel angularjs $resource requests (see Cancel angularjs resource request). Here we apply the same technique to intercept resource request.

Consider a sample (nesterovsky-bros/angularjs-api/master/angularjs/transform-request.html):

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <meta charset="utf-8" />
  <title>Intercept resource request</title>
  <style type="text/css">.ng-cloak { display: none; }</style>
  <script src="angular.js"></script>
  <script src="angular-resource.js"></script>
  <script>
angular.module("app", ["ngResource"]).
  factory(
    "services",
    ["$resource", function ($resource)
    {
      return $resource(
        "http://md5.jsontest.com/",
        {},
        {
          MD5:
          {
            method: "GET",
            params: { text: null },
            then: function (resolve)
            {
              this.params.text = "***" + this.params.text + "***";
              this.then = null;
              resolve(this);
            }
          },
        });
      }]).
  controller(
    "Test",
    ["services", function (services)
    {
      this.value = "Sample text";

      this.call = function()
      {
        this.result = services.MD5({ text: this.value });
      }
    }]);
  </script>
</head>
<body ng-app="app" ng-controller="Test as test">
  <label>Text: <input type="text" ng-model="test.value" /></label>
  <input type="button" value="call" ng-click="test.call()"/>
  <div ng-bind="test.result.md5"></div>
</body>
</html>

How it works.

  1. $resource merges action definition, request params and data to build a config parameter for an $http request.
  2. a config parameter passed into an $http request is treated as a promise like object, so it may contain then function to initialize config.
  3. action's then function may transform request as it wishes.

The demo can be found at transform-request.html

Thursday, 07 May 2015 10:53:34 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
AngularJS | javascript | Tips and tricks
# Monday, 04 May 2015

Having a strong experience in ASP.NET and JSF, we found angular's transclusion concept is obscure and counterintuitive. It took a while for both of us to grasp the transclude's ideas described the Developer Guide. We suspect that this is due to the bad design: a bad design leads to a bad wording.

The other consequence of the bad design is that the transclusion is limited to one template per directive, which limits the use of the feature.

Consider:

  • A directive my-page that encapsulates a page with menu and content.
  • my-page uses templateUrl: my-page.html to render the page.
  • my-page.html defines two sites where menu and page content have to be embedded.
  • Two content fragments are passed to my-page to fill content sites.

Unfortunately, you cannot immediately implement this design in angularjs. On the other hand ASP.NET's Master Pages, and JSF's ui:composition readily solve this task.

Here is one of JSF's approaches:

  1. Define page template my-page.xhtml:
    <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
      xmlns:ui="http://java.sun.com/jsf/facelets"
      xmlns:h="http://java.sun.com/jsf/html">
      <h:body>
        <table>
          <tr>
            <td><ui:insert name="menu"/></td>
          </tr>
          <tr>
            <td><ui:insert name="content"/></td>
          </tr>
        </table>
      </h:body>
    </html>
  2. Use ui:composition tag to pass parts to the template:
    <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
      xmlns:ui="http://java.sun.com/jsf/facelets"
      xmlns:h="http://java.sun.com/jsf/html">
      <h:body>
        <ui:composition template="my-page.xhtml">
          <ui:define name="content">
            My Content
          <ui:define>
          <ui:define name="menu">
            <a href="#file">File</a>
            <a href="#edit">Edit</a>
            <a href="#view">View</a>
          <ui:define>
        </ui:composition>
      </h:body>
    </html>

We have decided to model angular directives after JSF, and have defined three simple directives: ui-template, ui-insert, ui-define (see angularjs-api/template/ui-lib.js).

To define a template one writes the following markup (see angularjs-api/template/my-page.html):

<table ui-template>
  <tr>
    <td ui-insert="menu"></td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td ui-insert="content"></td>
  </tr>
</table>

and declares a directive (see angularjs-api/template/my-page.js):

var myPage =
{
  templateUrl: "my-page.html",
  transclude: true
};

angular.module("app").
  directive("myPage", function() { return myPage; });

and finally, to instantiate the directive one needs to write (see angularjs-api/template/sample.html):

<my-page>
  <div ui-define="content">
    My content
  </div>
  <div ui-define="menu">
    <a href="#file">File</a>
    <a href="#edit">Edit</a>
    <a href="#view">View</a>
  </div>
</my-page>

The working sample can be seen through rawgit: sample.html

The other sample that integrates with routing can be found at sample-routing.html

Monday, 04 May 2015 13:07:53 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
AngularJS | javascript | Thinking aloud
# Monday, 06 April 2015

Much time has passed since we fixed or extended Languages Xml Object Model. But now we needed to manipulate with and generate javascript programs.

Though xslt today is not a language of choice but rather niche language, it still fits very well to tasks of code generation and transformation.

So, we're pleased to announce ECMAScript Xml Object Model, which includes:

All sources are available at github: https://github.com/nesterovsky-bros/languages-xom

Monday, 06 April 2015 12:17:04 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Announce | javascript | xslt
# Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Two years ago, when we were still actively using KendoUI we had published our approach on how to introduce custom widgets, which we called User Controls.

We even suggested to introduce UserControl widget into KendoUI core through feedback page. At that time we got a response from KendoUI team:

Our recommended approach for building reusable app building blocks is expressed via the Kendo UI SPA features delivered earlier this year. Here’s a getting started resource if you’ve not already seen it: http://www.kendoui.com/blogs/teamblog/posts/13-05-16/kendo-ui-spa-screencast-and-getting-started.aspx

It was not clear how the response is related to the suggestion, but we decided not to rebuke the team, and to proceed with our user controls.

Nowdays we use KendoUI no more, and have completely switched to angularjs. Ocasionally, however, we need to support old projects, and peek into docs. Today we've discovered that the team has changed their mind, and allowed custom widgets: "Create Your Own Kendo UI Widget by Inheriting from the Base Widget Class". That's good news!

But the most interesting thing is that the design of their custom widget is very close to what we have suggested then.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015 14:16:25 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
AngularJS | javascript | kendoui
# Saturday, 14 March 2015

Angularjs is reasonaly good library but as many other big frameworks it tries to absorb every role in itself. This leads to code bloat of the framework and often limits developers with API available.

This problem repeats in angularjs on different levels. The top manifistation is module system.

Authors defined notion of module and registry for controllers, providers, directives, and so on. This is an example from Angularjs doc:

var myModule = angular.module('myModule', []);

// add some directives and services
myModule.service('myService', ...);
myModule.directive('myDirective', ...);

This API directs developers to build angularjs centric applications, because it's where module and registry is defined.

At the same time there exists de-facto standard API called Asynchronous Module Definition (AMD) to specify a mechanism for defining modules and their dependencies. This API has several implementations, where requirejs is, probably, the best known one. This is an AMD example:

define(["./cart", "./inventory"], function(cart, inventory) {
  return {
    color: "blue",
    size: "large",
    addToCart: function() {
      inventory.decrement(this);
      cart.add(this);
    }
  }
});

Every angularjs artifact can be mapped to AMD module. This could work equally well both at run time, and during unit tests. Without custom module implementation angularjs would be smaller, and more modular, so developer could pick up only required components. At the same time with AMD angularjs could treat many existing javascript classes as controllers and services without specific adaptation. Again, being more modular angularjs could provide multiple implementations of the same feature like jqLite vs jQuery, or $q vs native promises, for a developer to select.

So, we think modules in angularjs is a flaw, whose correction would improve it in many ways.

Saturday, 14 March 2015 22:01:39 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
AngularJS | javascript
# Monday, 02 February 2015

We needed to cancel angularjs $resource requests but have found that it's not trivial, though $http service has timeout property that allows to pass a promise that aborts a request when resolved.

So, we took a little time and divised a code to be able to cancel such requests.

Consider a sample (nesterovsky-bros/angularjs-api/master/angularjs/cancel-resource.html):

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <meta charset="utf-8" />
  <title>Cancel resource</title>
  <style type="text/css">
    .ng-cloak { display: none; }
  </style>
  <script src="angular.js"></script>
  <script src="angular-resource.js"></script>
  <script>
angular.module("app", ["ngResource"]).
factory(
  "services",
  ["$resource", function($resource)
  {
    function resolveAction(resolve) // #1
    {
      if (this.params)
      {
        this.timeout = this.params.timeout;
        this.params.timeout = null;
      }

      this.then = null;
      resolve(this);
    }

    return $resource(
      "http://md5.jsontest.com/",
      {},
      {
        MD5:
        {
          method: "GET",
          params: { text: null },
          then: resolveAction // #2
        },
      });
  }]).
controller(
  "Test",
  ["services", "$q", "$timeout", function(services, $q, $timeout)
  {
    this.value = "Sample text";
    this.requestTimeout = 100;

    this.call = function()
    {
      var self = this;

      self.result = services.MD5(
      {
        text: self.value,
        timeout: $q(function(resolve) // #3
        {
          $timeout(resolve, self.requestTimeout);
        })
      });
    }
  }]);
  </script>
</head>
<body ng-app="app" ng-controller="Test as test">
  <label>Text: <input type="text" ng-model="test.value" /></label><br/>
  <label>Timeout: <input type="text" ng-model="test.requestTimeout" /></label><br/>
  <input type="button" value="call" ng-click="test.call()"/>
  <div ng-bind="test.result.md5"></div>
</body>
</html>  

How it works.

  1. $resource merges action definition, request params and data to build a config parameter for an $http request.
  2. a config parameter passed into an $http request is treated as a promise like object, so it may contain then function to initialize config.
  3. action's then function may pass timeout promise from params into the config.

In code it looks like this:

  • #2 - here we attach then function to the action MD5;
  • #1 - then function implementation:
    • move timeout promise, if any, from params to config;
    • reset then function from config to prevent resolve recursion (remember that we deal with merged config object, which is different from action definition);
    • call resolve function.
  • #3 - While calling services.MD5() we pass a timeout parameter as a promise that should be resolved to abort the request.

That's all. The demo can be found at cancel-resource.html

Monday, 02 February 2015 11:05:36 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
AngularJS | javascript
# Monday, 26 January 2015

Often we need to keep a client session state in our angularjs application.

This state should survive page refresh and navigations within the application.

Earlier we used ngStorage module but lately have changed our opinion, as we think it's over-engineered and is too heavy at runtime.

We have replaced it with a simple service that synchronizes sessionStorage once during initialization, and once before page unload.

Look at an example (session.html):

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <meta charset="utf-8" />
  <title>Session</title>
  <style type="text/css">
    .ng-cloak { display: none; }
  </style>
  <script src="angular.js"></script>
  <script>
angular.module("app", []).
factory(
  "session",
  ["$window", function($window)
  {
    var session =
      angular.fromJson($window.sessionStorage.getItem("app")) || {};

    $window.addEventListener(
      "beforeunload",
      function()
      {
        $window.sessionStorage.setItem("app", angular.toJson(session));
      })

    return session;
  }]).
controller(
  "Test",
  ["session",
  function(session)
  {
    this.state = session;
  }]);
  </script>
</head>
<body ng-app="app" ng-controller="Test as test">
  <input type="text" ng-model="test.state.value"/>
  <a href="session.html?p=1">Page 1</a>
  <a href="session.html?p=2">Page 2</a>
</body>
</html>    

Source can be found at nesterovsky-bros/angularjs-api/services/session.html.

Monday, 26 January 2015 08:46:36 UTC  #    Comments [4] -
AngularJS | javascript | Tips and tricks
# Sunday, 18 January 2015

At first we have found that Typeahead (ui.bootstrap.typeahead) directive fits our needs, but later we run into its limitations.

These are tasks we required to solve:

  1. How to inform typeahead directive that it should update its list based on some event?
  2. How to implement an array of typeahead sources, where it's assumed that each next source delivers more data in cost of a longer working time?

The second task allows to show some data in popup almost immediately, while to provide more hints lately.

It took us a couple of days to answer both questions. The solution was either to write "typeahead" directive anew, or to write some additional "typeahead" directive to implement missing functionality. We have selected the later.

In the additional directive we:

  1. Handle a scople level event named "updateSource". Once the event is triggered the popup content is updated.
  2. Introduces scope.sources = function(value, sourcesFn) to build a source promise that knows how to update popup with more accurate data, when available.

Here is the code with small sample:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <meta charset="utf-8" />
  <title>Typeahead</title>
  <link type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" href="bootstrap.css" />
  <style type="text/css">
    .ng-cloak { display: none; }
  </style>
  <script src="angular.js"></script>
  <script src="ui-bootstrap-tpls-0.12.0.js"></script>
  <script>
angular.module("app", ["ui.bootstrap"]).
directive(
  "typeahead",
  ["$q", function ($q)
  {
    return (
    {
        require: 'ngModel',
        link: function(scope, element, attrs, controller)
        {
          /**
           * @description 
           * Emits "updateSource" event on this scope.
           * @returns an event.
           */
          scope.updateSource = function() 
          { 
            return scope.$emit("updateSource"); 
          };

          scope.$on(
            "updateSource",
            function(event)
            {
              if (scope != event.targetScope)
              {
                return;
              }

              if (element.attr("aria-expanded") !== "true")
              {
                event.preventDefault();

                return;
              }

              var value = controller.$modelValue;

              for(var i = 0; i < controller.$parsers.length; i++)
              {
                if (value === undefined)
                {
                  break;
                }

                value = controller.$parsers[i](value);
              }
            });

          var typeaheadSources = null;
          var typeaheadValue = null;
          var typeaheadResult = null;

          /**
            * A wrapper of array of sources, where it's assumed that each next 
            * source delivers more data in cost of a longer working time.
            *
            * @param {object} value a typeahead hint.
            *
            * @param {function(object)} sourcesFn Function receiving typeahead
            *   hint, and returning an array of {Object|Promise}.
            *   If Object is passed rather than Promise then it should contain 
            *   following properties:
            *
            *    - `promise` - `{Promise}` - a result promise.
            *    - `cancel` - `{function()}` - optional function to cancel 
            *                 the promise.
            */
          scope.sources = function(value, sourcesFn)
          {
            var result = typeaheadResult;
            var prevValue = typeaheadValue;

            typeaheadValue = controller.$modelValue;
            typeaheadResult = null;

            if (result && (prevValue === typeaheadValue))
            {
              return result;
            }

            var sources = typeaheadSources;

            function cancel(count)
            {
              for (var i = 0; i < count; ++i)
              {
                var source = sources[i];

                source.cancel && source.cancel();
              }
            }

            sources && cancel(sources.length);
            typeaheadSources = sources = sourcesFn(value);

            return $q(function(resolve)
            {
              sources.forEach(function(source, index)
              {
                var promise = source.then ? source :
                  source.promise ? source.promise :
                  $q.when(source);

                promise.then(function(result)
                {
                  if (sources != typeaheadSources)
                  {
                    cancel(sources.length);

                    return;
                  }

                  if (element[0] != document.activeElement)
                  {
                    cancel(sources.length);
                    typeaheadSources = null;

                    return;
                  }

                  cancel(index);

                  if (!result || !result.length)
                  {
                    return;
                  }

                  if (resolve)
                  {
                    resolve(result);
                    resolve = null;
                  }
                  else
                  {
                    typeaheadResult = result;

                    if (scope.updateSource().defaultPrevented)
                    {
                      cancel(sources.length);
                      typeaheadSources = null;
                      typeaheadResult = null;
                      typeaheadValue = null;
                    }
                  }
                });
              });
            });
          }
        }
    });
  }]).
controller(
  "Test",
  ["$timeout",
  function ($timeout)
  {
    this.text = null;
    this.input = null;

    function source(timeout, count, value)
    {
      return (
      {
        promise: $timeout(
          function()
          {
            var result = [];

            for(var i = 0; i < count; ++i)
            {
              result.push({ text: value + " " + i, id: i });
            }

            return result;
          },
          timeout),

        cancel: function() { $timeout.cancel(this.promise); }
      });
    }

    // Gets an array of objects in format: 
    //   { promise: Promise, cancel: Function }
    this.suggest = function(value)
    {
      return [source(500, 5, value), source(2000, 10, value)];
    }
  }]);
  </script>
</head>
<body ng-app="app" ng-controller="Test as test">
  <input type="text"
    ng-model="test.text"
    typeahead="items.text for items in sources($viewValue, test.suggest)"
    typeahead-wait-ms="250"/><br />
  <input type="text" ng-model="test.input" />
</body>
</html>
    

Demo can be found at typeahead.html, and source at nesterovsky-bros/angularjs-api/bootstrap/typeahead.html.

Sunday, 18 January 2015 20:50:56 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
AngularJS | javascript
# Tuesday, 02 December 2014

Earlier this year Mike Wasson has published a post: "Dependency Injection in ASP.NET Web API 2" that describes Web API's approach to the Dependency Injection design pattern.

In short it goes like this:

  • Web API provides a primary integration point through HttpConfiguration.DependencyResolver property, and tries to obtain many services through this resolver;
  • Web API suggests to use your favorite Dependecy Injection library through the integration point. Author lists following libraries: Unity (by Microsoft), Castle Windsor, Spring.Net, Autofac, Ninject, and StructureMap.

The Unity Container (Unity) is a lightweight, extensible dependency injection container. There are Nugets both for Unity library and for Web API integration.

Now to the point of this post.

Unity defines a hierarchy of injection scopes. In Web API they are usually mapped to application and request scopes. This way a developer can inject application singletons, create request level, or transient objects.

Everything looks reasonable. The only problem we have found is that there is no way you to inject Web API objects like HttpConfiguration, HttpControllerContext or request's CancellationToken, as they are never registered for injection.

To workaround this we have created a small class called UnityControllerActivator that perfroms required registration:

using System;
using System.Net.Http;
using System.Threading;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using System.Web.Http.Controllers;
using System.Web.Http.Dispatcher;

using Microsoft.Practices.Unity;

/// <summary>
/// Unity controller activator.
/// </summary>
public class UnityControllerActivator: IHttpControllerActivator
{
  /// <summary>
  /// Creates an UnityControllerActivator instance.
  /// </summary>
  /// <param name="activator">Base activator.</param>
  public UnityControllerActivator(IHttpControllerActivator activator)
  {
    if (activator == null)
    {
      throw new ArgumentException("activator");
    }

    this.activator = activator;
  }

  /// <summary>
  /// Creates a controller wrapper.
  /// </summary>
  /// <param name="request">A http request.</param>
  /// <param name="controllerDescriptor">Controller descriptor.</param>
  /// <param name="controllerType">Controller type.</param>
  /// <returns>A controller wrapper.</returns>
  public IHttpController Create(
    HttpRequestMessage request,
    HttpControllerDescriptor controllerDescriptor,
    Type controllerType)
  {
    return new Controller
    {
      activator = activator,
      controllerType = controllerType
    };
  }

  /// <summary>
  /// Base controller activator.
  /// </summary>
  private readonly IHttpControllerActivator activator;

  /// <summary>
  /// A controller wrapper.
  /// </summary>
  private class Controller: IHttpController, IDisposable
  {
    /// <summary>
    /// Base controller activator.
    /// </summary>
    public IHttpControllerActivator activator;

    /// <summary>
    /// Controller type.
    /// </summary>
    public Type controllerType;

    /// <summary>
    /// A controller instance.
    /// </summary>
    public IHttpController controller;

    /// <summary>
    /// Disposes controller.
    /// </summary>
    public void Dispose()
    {
      var disposable = controller as IDisposable;

      if (disposable != null)
      {
        disposable.Dispose();
      }
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Executes an action.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="controllerContext">Controller context.</param>
    /// <param name="cancellationToken">Cancellation token.</param>
    /// <returns>Response message.</returns>
    public Task<HttpResponseMessage> ExecuteAsync(
      HttpControllerContext controllerContext,
      CancellationToken cancellationToken)
    {
      if (controller == null)
      {
        var request = controllerContext.Request;
        var container = request.GetDependencyScope().
          GetServices(typeof(IUnityContainer)) as IUnityContainer;

        if (container != null)
        {
          container.RegisterInstance<HttpControllerContext>(controllerContext);
          container.RegisterInstance<HttpRequestMessage>(request);
          container.RegisterInstance<CancellationToken>(cancellationToken);
        }

        controller = activator.Create(
          request,
          controllerContext.ControllerDescriptor,
          controllerType);
      }

      controllerContext.Controller = controller;

      return controller.ExecuteAsync(controllerContext, cancellationToken);
    }
  }
}

Note on how it works.

  • IHttpControllerActivator is a controller factory, which Web API uses to create new controller instances using IHttpControllerActivator.Create(). Later controller's IHttpController.ExecuteAsync() is called to run the logic.
  • UnityControllerActivator replaces original controller activator with a wrapper that delays creation (injection) of real controller untill request objects are registered in the scope

To register this class one need to update code in the UnityWebApiActivator.cs (file added with nuget Unity.AspNet.WebApi)

public static class UnityWebApiActivator
{
  /// <summary>Integrates Unity when the application starts.<summary>
  public static void Start()
  {
    var config = GlobalConfiguration.Configuration;
    var container = UnityConfig.GetConfiguredContainer();

    container.RegisterInstance<HttpConfiguration>(config);
    container.RegisterInstance<IHttpControllerActivator>(
      new UnityControllerActivator(config.Services.GetHttpControllerActivator()));

    config.DependencyResolver = UnityHierarchicalDependencyResolver(container);
  }
  ...
}

With this addition we have simplified the boring problem with passing of CancellationToken all around the code, as controller (and other classes) just declared a property to inject:

public class MyController: ApiController
{
  [Dependency]
  public CancellationToken CancellationToken { get; set; }

  [Dependency]
  public IModelContext Model { get; set; }

  public async Task<IEnumerable<Products>> GetProducts(...)
  {
    ...
  }

  public async Task<IEnumerable<Customer>> GetCustomer(...)
  {
    ...
  }

  ...
}

...

public class ModelContext: IModelContext
{
  [Dependency]
  public CancellationToken CancellationToken { get; set; }
  ...
}

And finally to perform unit tests for controllers with Depenency Injection you can use a code like this:

using System.Threading;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using System.Web.Http;
using System.Web.Http.Controllers;
using System.Web.Http.Dependencies;
using System.Net.Http;

using Microsoft.Practices.Unity;
using Microsoft.Practices.Unity.WebApi;

using Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestTools.UnitTesting;

[TestClass]
public class MyControllerTest
{
  [ClassInitialize]
  public static void Initialize(TestContext context)
  {
    config = new HttpConfiguration();

    Register(config);
  }

  [ClassCleanup]
  public static void Cleanup()
  {
    config.Dispose();
  }

  [TestMethod]
  public async Task GetProducts()
  {
    var controller = CreateController<MyController>();

    //...
  }

  public static T CreateController<T>(HttpRequestMessage request = null)
    where T: ApiController
  {
    if (request == null)
    {
      request = new HttpRequestMessage();
    }

    request.SetConfiguration(config);

    var controllerContext = new HttpControllerContext()
    {
      Configuration = config,
      Request = request
    };

    var scope = request.GetDependencyScope();
    var container = scope.GetService(typeof(IUnityContainer))
      as IUnityContainer;

    if (container != null)
    {
      container.RegisterInstance<HttpControllerContext>(controllerContext);
      container.RegisterInstance<HttpRequestMessage>(request);
      container.RegisterInstance<CancellationToken>(CancellationToken.None);
    }

    T controller = scope.GetService(typeof(T)) as T;

    controller.Configuration = config;
    controller.Request = request;
    controller.ControllerContext = controllerContext;

    return controller;
  }

  public static void Register(HttpConfiguration config)
  {
    config.DependencyResolver = CreateDependencyResolver(config);
  }

  public static IDependencyResolver CreateDependencyResolver(HttpConfiguration config)
  {
    var container = new UnityContainer();

    container.RegisterInstance<HttpConfiguration>(config);

    // TODO: configure Unity contaiener.

    return new UnityHierarchicalDependencyResolver(container);
  }

  public static HttpConfiguration config;
}

P.S. To those who think Dependency Injection is an universal tool, please read the article: Dependency Injection is Evil. :-)

Tuesday, 02 December 2014 11:56:09 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
AngularJS | javascript | Tips and tricks
# Thursday, 12 June 2014

We needed to have oauth2 authorization in angularjs project.

Internet search on the subject immediately brings large amout of solutions like:

But unfortunatelly:

  • provider specific libraries have too different set of APIs, which requires another umbrella library to allow for application to accept several providers;
  • angular-oauth - supports Google only, and does not work in IE 11 with default security settings;
  • oauth.io looks attractive but adds additional level of indirection server, and is free for a basic plan only.

However there is a problem with all those approaches.

Let's assume that you have properly implemented client side authorization, and finally have gotten an access_token.

Now, you access your server with that access_token. What is your first step on the server?

Right! Your should validate it against oauth2 provider.

So, while client side authorization, among other things, included a validation of your token, you have to perform the validation on the server once more.

At this point we felt that we need to implement our oauth2 API. :-)

It can be found at nesterovsky-bros/oauth2.

This is the readme from that project:

Here we implement oauth2 authorization within angularjs.

Authentication is done as follows:

  1. Open oauth2 provider login/grant screen.
  2. Redirect to the oauth2 callback screen with access token.
  3. Verify of the access token against provider.
  4. Get some basic profile.

A base javascript class OAuth2 implements these steps.

There are following implementations that authorize against specific providers:

OAuth2Server - implements authorization through known providers, but calls server side to validate access token. This way, the server side can establish a user's session.

The file Config.json contains endpoints and request parameters per supported provider.

Note: You should register a client_id for each provider.

Note: user_id and access_tokens are unique only in a scope of access provider, thus a session is identified by Provider + access_token, and a user is identified by Provider + user_id.

The use case can be found in test.js E.g. authorization against OAuth2Server is done like this:

var login = new OAuth2Server(provider);

token = login.authorize();

token.$promise.then(
  function()
  {
    // token contains populated data.
  },
  function(error)
  {
    if (error)
    {
      // handle an error
    }
  });

Authorization token contains:

  • a promise to handle authorization outcome.
  • cancelToken (a Deferred object) to cancel authorization in progress.

Whole sample is implemented as VS project. All scripts are build with app.tt, that combines content of Scripts/app int app.js.

Server side is implemented with ASP.NET Web API. Authorization controllers are:

Thursday, 12 June 2014 14:59:42 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
.NET | AngularJS | javascript
# Sunday, 25 May 2014

After several years of experience with KendoUI we turned our attention to AngularJS. As many other libraries it has its strong and weak sides. There are many resources describing what AngularJS is, and what it is not. Our approach to study AngularJS was through an attempt to integrate it into an existing KendoUI web application.

It's rather straightforward to convert model from KendoUI into AngularJS, as logically both frameworks are equal in this regard. But tactically KendoUI implements model-view binding very differently than AngularJS does. KendoUI binds model to view immediately per each model field, where AngularJS delays a binding of each model field and performs whole model binding in one go. Angular's approach is more performant, and even more appealing to a developer, though the problem is that the time it takes to make whole model binding is proportional to a size (number of objects and properties) of model. This means that if you have a relatively big model you will experience tangible halts in browser's UI while a javascript updating view/model is running.

AngularJS advices some workaround, which in essence is to avoid big model. The problem is that a couple of thousands or even several hundrends of objects and properties are already considered big model. So, you should immediately plan your model, and view to avoid any potential impact. This seriously distracts from the task your're solving.

The idea that your UI will halt for the time proportional to the size of your whole model looks flawed in our opinion. KendoUI knows no such a problem. That's the reason why our KendoUI to AngularJS transition experience was not smooth.

Our analysis of AngularJS sources shows that the issue could be resolved provided model to view binding (it's called digest in that library) was asynchronous.

To verify our ideas we have created a branch nesterovsky-bros/angular.js where we implemented required refactorings. It includes:

  • API based on existing deferred/promise to write algorithms in async way, and
  • refactored digest logic.

At the end we have proposed to integrate our changes into the main branch: Make $digest async.

We're not sure whether our proposition will be integrated (rather no than yes). Nevertheless what we have come with is an interesting extension of deferred object that we neither have seen in AngularJS nor in JQuery, so later we will quote that API from q.js and scheduler.js.

Sunday, 25 May 2014 08:02:41 UTC  #    Comments [2] -
AngularJS | javascript | kendoui | Thinking aloud
# Monday, 10 March 2014

In the article "Error handling in WCF based web applications" we've shown a custom error handler for RESTful service based on WCF. This time we shall do the same for Web API 2.1 service.

Web API 2.1 provides an elegant way to implementat custom error handlers/loggers, see the following article. Web API permits many error loggers followed by a single error handler for all uncaught exceptions. A default error handler knows to output an error both in XML and JSON formats depending on requested MIME type.

In our projects we use unique error reference IDs. This feature allows to an end-user to refer to any error that has happened during the application life time and pass such error ID to the technical support for further investigations. Thus, error details passed to the client-side contain an ErrorID field. An error logger generates ErrorID and passes it over to an error handler for serialization.

Let's look at our error handling implementation for a Web API application.

The first part is an implementation of IExceptionLogger interface. It assigns ErrorID and logs all errors:

/// Defines a global logger for unhandled exceptions.
public class GlobalExceptionLogger : ExceptionLogger
{
  /// Writes log record to the database synchronously.
  public override void Log(ExceptionLoggerContext context)
  {
    try
    {
      var request = context.Request;
      var exception = context.Exception;

      var id = LogError(
        request.RequestUri.ToString(),
        context.RequestContext == null ?
          null : context.RequestContext.Principal.Identity.Name,
        request.ToString(),
        exception.Message,
        exception.StackTrace);

      // associates retrieved error ID with the current exception
      exception.Data["NesterovskyBros:id"] = id;
    }
    catch
    {
      // logger shouldn't throw an exception!!!
    }
  }

  // in the real life this method may store all relevant info into a database.
  private long LogError(
    string address,
    string userid,
    string request,
    string message,
    string stackTrace)
  {
    ...
  }
}

The second part is the implementation of IExceptionHandler:

/// Defines a global handler for unhandled exceptions.
public class GlobalExceptionHandler : ExceptionHandler
{
  /// This core method should implement custom error handling, if any.
  /// It determines how an exception will be serialized for client-side processing.
  public override void Handle(ExceptionHandlerContext context)
  {
    var requestContext = context.RequestContext;
    var config = requestContext.Configuration;

    context.Result = new ErrorResult(
      context.Exception,
      requestContext == null ? false : requestContext.IncludeErrorDetail,
      config.Services.GetContentNegotiator(),
      context.Request,
      config.Formatters);
  }

  /// An implementation of IHttpActionResult interface.
  private class ErrorResult : ExceptionResult
  {
    public ErrorResult(
      Exception exception,
      bool includeErrorDetail,
      IContentNegotiator negotiator,
      HttpRequestMessage request,
      IEnumerable<MediaTypeFormatter> formatters) :
      base(exception, includeErrorDetail, negotiator, request, formatters)
    {
    }

    /// Creates an HttpResponseMessage instance asynchronously.
    /// This method determines how a HttpResponseMessage content will look like.
    public override Task<HttpResponseMessage> ExecuteAsync(CancellationToken cancellationToken)
    {
      var content = new HttpError(Exception, IncludeErrorDetail);
   
      // define an additional content field with name "ErrorID"
      content.Add("ErrorID", Exception.Data["NesterovskyBros:id"] as long?);

      var result =
        ContentNegotiator.Negotiate(typeof(HttpError), Request, Formatters);

      var message = new HttpResponseMessage
      {
        RequestMessage = Request,
        StatusCode = result == null ?
          HttpStatusCode.NotAcceptable : HttpStatusCode.InternalServerError
      };

      if (result != null)
      {
        try
        {
          // serializes the HttpError instance either to JSON or to XML
          // depend on requested by the client MIME type.
          message.Content = new ObjectContent<HttpError>(
            content,
            result.Formatter,
            result.MediaType);
        }
        catch
        {
          message.Dispose();

          throw;
        }
      }

      return Task.FromResult(message);
    }
  }
}

Last, but not least part of this solution is registration and configuration of the error logger/handler:

/// WebApi congiguation.
public static class WebApiConfig
{
  public static void Register(HttpConfiguration config)
  {
    ...

    // register the exception logger and handler
    config.Services.Add(typeof(IExceptionLogger), new GlobalExceptionLogger());
    config.Services.Replace(typeof(IExceptionHandler), new GlobalExceptionHandler());

    // set error detail policy according with value from Web.config
    var customErrors =
      (CustomErrorsSection)ConfigurationManager.GetSection("system.web/customErrors");

    if (customErrors != null)
    {
      switch (customErrors.Mode)
      {
        case CustomErrorsMode.RemoteOnly:
        {
         config.IncludeErrorDetailPolicy = IncludeErrorDetailPolicy.LocalOnly;

         break;
        }
        case CustomErrorsMode.On:
        {
          config.IncludeErrorDetailPolicy = IncludeErrorDetailPolicy.Never;

          break;
        }
        case CustomErrorsMode.Off:
        {
          config.IncludeErrorDetailPolicy = IncludeErrorDetailPolicy.Always;

          break;
        }
        default:
        {
          config.IncludeErrorDetailPolicy = IncludeErrorDetailPolicy.Default;

          break;
        }
      }
    }
  }
}

The client-side error handler remain almost untouched. The implementation details you may find in /Scripts/api/api.js and Scripts/controls/error.js files.

You may download the demo project here. Feel free to use this solution in your .NET projects.

Monday, 10 March 2014 10:56:24 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
.NET | ASP.NET | javascript | kendoui | Tips and tricks
# Friday, 09 August 2013

Earlier we have written a post KendoUI's slowest function and now, we want to point to the next slow function, which is kendo.guid(). It's used to assign uid to each observable object, and also in couple of other places.

Here is its source:

guid: function() {
  var id = "", i, random;

  for (i = 0; i < 32; i++) {
    random = math.random() * 16 | 0;

    if (i == 8 || i == 12 || i == 16 || i == 20) {
      id += "-";
    }
    id += (i == 12 ? 4 : (i == 16 ? (random & 3 | 8) : random)).toString(16);
  }

  return id;
}

KendoUI people have decided to define uid as a string in format of Globally unique identifier. We think there is no reason to have such a complex value; it's enough to have counter to generate uid values. As KendoUI relies on the string type of uid, so we have defined a patch like this:

var guid = 0

kendo.guid = function() { return ++guid + "" }

Consider now a test case. It's almost identical to that in previous post:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Test</title>
    <script src="scripts/jquery/jquery.min..js"></script>
    <script src="scripts/kendo/kendo.web.min.js"></script>
    <link href="styles/kendo.common.min.css" rel="stylesheet" />
    <link href="styles/kendo.default.min.css" rel="stylesheet" />
    <link href="styles/style.css" rel="stylesheet" />
    <script>
var model;

function init()
{
  var source = [];

  for(var i = 0; i < 1000; ++i)
  {
    source.push({ text: "value " + i, value: "" + i });
  }

  model = kendo.observable(
  {
    value: "1",
    source: new kendo.data.DataSource(
    {
      data: source
    })
  });

  model.source.read();
}

function patch()
{
  var base = kendo.data.binders.widget.source.fn._ns;
  var result;
  var guid = 0;

  kendo.guid = function() { return ++guid + ""; };


  kendo.data.binders.widget.source.fn._ns = function(ns)
  {
    return ns ? base.call(this, ns) :
      (result || (result = base.call(this, ns)));
  }
}

function test()
{
  init();
  kendo.bind("#view", model);
}

patch();
  </script>
</head>
<body>
<p>
  <button onclick="test()">Click to start test</button>
</p>
<p id="view">
  Select:
  <input data-role="dropdownlist"
    data-bind="value: value, source: source"
    data-text-field="text"
    data-value-field="value"/>
</p>
</body>
</html>

Now, we can compare performance with and without that patch.

Here is a run statistics without patch:

Level Function Count Inclusive time (ms) Inclusive time % Avg time (ms)
1 onclick 1 270.73 100 270.73
1.1 test 1 269.73 99.63 269.73
1.1.1 init 1 117.07 43.24 117.07
1.1.1.1 guid 1,001 72.05 26.61 0.07
1.1.2 bind 1 152.65 56.39 152.65

and with patch:

Level Function Count Inclusive time (ms) Inclusive time % Avg time (ms)
1 onclick 1 172.64 100 172.64
1.1 test 1 171.65 99.42 171.65
1.1.1 init 1 62.04 35.94 62.04
1.1.1.1 guid 1,001 1 0.58 0
1.1.2 bind 1 109.6 63.49 109.6

Note that statistics were collected for IE 10.
An example can be found at slow2.html.

Friday, 09 August 2013 14:24:16 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript | kendoui | Tips and tricks
# Tuesday, 30 July 2013

What is the slowest function in kendo? Or better, which function has most negative performance impact in kendo.

Recently, we were dealing with a simple page, which was too slow, as data binding took more than second.

The page contained a dropdown list, with ~1000 options. To understand the reason we have run this page under the IE's built-in javascript profiler, and ...

there, we have found that almost half of the time is taken by a function (call it X), which receives nothing and returns always the same result!

But, let's now see a minimal example that demostrates the problem:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Test</title>
    <script src="scripts/jquery/jquery.js"></script>
    <script src="scripts/kendo/kendo.web.min.js"></script>
    <link href="styles/kendo.common.min.css" rel="stylesheet" />
    <link href="styles/kendo.default.min.css" rel="stylesheet" />
    <link href="styles/style.css" rel="stylesheet" />
    <script>
var model;

function init()
{
  var source = [];

  for(var i = 0; i < 1000; ++i)
  {
    source.push({ text: "value " + i, value: "" + i });
  }

  model = kendo.observable(
  {
    value: "1",
    source: new kendo.data.DataSource(
    {
      data: source
    })
  });

  model.source.read();
}

function test()
{
  kendo.bind("#view", model);
}

init();
  </script>
</head>
<body>
<p>
  <button onclick="test()">Click to start test</button>
</p>
<p id="view">
  Select:
  <input data-role="dropdownlist"
    data-bind="value: value, source: source"
    data-text-field="text"
    data-value-field="value"/>
</p>
</body>
</html>

There are two parts: initialization, and a test itself that starts upon button click.

In the initialization part we have defined a model, containing a datasource.

The test part performs data binding.

Now, here is a run statistics:

Function Count Inclusive time (ms) Inclusive time % Avg time (ms)
test 1 456.05 100 456.05
X 1,000 200.14 43.89 0.2

So, X is fast by itself, but it run 1000 times, and took about 44% of all time.

And now, to the function. It's kendo.data.binders.widget.source.fn._ns.

Here is its code:

_ns: function(ns) {
  ns = ns || kendo.ui;
  var all = [ kendo.ui, kendo.dataviz.ui, kendo.mobile.ui ];
  all.splice($.inArray(ns, all), 1);
  all.unshift(ns);

  return kendo.rolesFromNamespaces(all);
}

We can see that on each call it receives a parameter undefined, and always returns an array with the same content. Not sure why Kendo UI team made it so complex, but one can easily device a simple patch that optimizes this code path.

function patch()
{
  var base = kendo.data.binders.widget.source.fn._ns;
  var result;

  kendo.data.binders.widget.source.fn._ns = function(ns)
  {
    return ns ? base.call(this, ns) :
      (result || (result = base.call(this, ns)));
  }
}

With this patch applied, the profiler shows:

Function Count Inclusive time (ms) Inclusive time % Avg time (ms)
test 1 253.03 100 253.03
_ns 1,000 6 2.37 0.01

Execution time dropped considerably, and _ns() loses its title of most time consuming function!

An example can be found at slow.html.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 20:47:11 UTC  #    Comments [1] -
javascript | kendoui
# Sunday, 14 July 2013

Recently we've seen an article Why mobile web apps are slow.

While title mentions web apps, the the criticism is directed purely to javascript language. The answer presented there is twofold:

  • Raw javascript performance is ~5 times slower than performance of native code solving the same task.

    This accounts for the most modern implementations that exploit JIT. Author does not expect that this proportion will be significatly changed in javascript's favor in the near future.

  • Garbage Collection, which is essential part of javascript, does not work well in constrainted environment of mobile devices.

    Here author quotes many references that show that:

    • for GC to work on peer with non-GC application, it needs to have ~6 - 8 times size of memory than an application needs;
    • at the same time for hardware reasons, mobile devices cannot provide such amount of memory;
    • on the other hand with rise of CPU performance, GC pressure rises even faster.

In the end author, while saying about some attempts to change the state, has no final verdict, whether there can be anything done to remedy the problem.

Having roots in C++, we're GC unbelievers. But you know, who will ask your opinion on that, while there are all those modern languages that try to abstract from memory and implicitly or explicitly assume GC: java, C#, javascript, xslt, xquery, and so on.

There always is a solution to avoid GC completely, like C++ and other (e.g. Microsoft's C++/CX, or Apple's ARC) do. But, assuming you're entered GC world, what can be done with it? How do you make it more predictable, less greedy, and probably more fast?

Our arguments are like this.

How does native code manage object graphs?

Today's solution is reference counting along with weak references to break cycles in graph.

Can be GC based on this?

Yes.

In fact upcoming spec of javascript contains weak references. So, provided a developer accurately defines relations in an object graph, one may immediately achieve the same efficiency as native solution.

If one does not use weak references consistently then object cycles can be created, so there can appear a graph that is not referenced anywhere in a program. This graph can be collected with classical GC that scans object roots.

Classical GC part can be used as a debug mode leak detector, and will collect graph cycles at runtime.

Thus, we claim that a hybrid memory management: reference counting with weak references plus classical GC is possible; it will be equal to a native memory management when weak references are properly used, and it will be close to classical GC without use of weak references.

This solution gives a rule to mitigate GC drawbacks: just use weak references in appropriate points, and you can continue to live in GC world, where GC is only a fallback.

Sunday, 14 July 2013 12:20:29 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript | Thinking aloud
# Sunday, 07 July 2013

Earlier, in the article How To: Load KendoUI Templates from External Files, we were talking about the way to combine project's templates into a single file using Text Templates. Now, we would like to suggest the next step.

KendoUI defines text templates that it knows to transform into functions, at runtime obviously. Thus a template like this:

<tr>
  <td data-bind=" text: name"></td>
  <td>#: kendo.toString(get("price"), "C") #</td>
  <td data-bind="text: unitsInStock"></td>
  <td><button class="k-button" data-bind="click: deleteProduct"> Delete</button></td>
</tr>

is transformed into a function:

function(data)
{
  var o,e=kendo.htmlEncode;

  with(data)
  {
    o='<tr><td data-bind="text: name"></td><td>'+
      e( kendo.toString(get("price"), "C") )+
      '</td><td data-bind="text: unitsInStock"></td>' +
      '<td><button class="k-button" ' +
      'data-bind="click: deleteProduct">Delete</button></td></tr>';
  }

  return o;
}

The transformation is done through a sequence of of regex replaces.

Now, what's the fastest javascript template engine?

Right! That, which does not work at runtime. :-)

What we thought is that we can generate those functions at compile time rather than defining templates.

We have updated templates.tt to generate template functions, and optionally to generate <script> tags that call those functions. This way, for an input footer.tmpl.html:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <title>Test</title>
  <base href="/" />
  <link href="styles/kendo.common.min.css" rel="stylesheet" />
  <link href="styles/kendo.default.min.css" rel="stylesheet" />
</head>
<body>
  <table data-template-id="view">
    <tr>
      <td>Products count: #: total() #</td>
      <td>Total price: #: totalPrice() #</td>
      <td colspan="2">Units in stock: #: totalUnitsInStock() #</td>
   </tr>
  </table>
</body>
</html>

 templates.js will look like this:

nesterovskyBros.templates=
{
  ...
  "footer-view":function(data)
  {
    var o,e=kendo.htmlEncode;

    with(data)
    {
      ...
    }

    return o;
  },
  ...
};

document.write('<script id="footer-view-template" type="text/x-kendo-template">#=nesterovskyBros.templates["footer-view"](data)#</script>');

To get template function at runtime you simply refer to  nesterovskyBros.templates["footer-view"].

template.tt now allows you to specify:

  • scope - a javascript scope for tempate functions, e.g. "nesterovskyBros.templates";
  • data-script attribute over each template (default is true) to prevent generation of <script> tag;
  • data-with-block attribute (default is true) to prevent with(data) {...} statement in javascript.

See a sample application that shows how nicely KendoUI UserControls work with those compiled templates.

Sunday, 07 July 2013 18:54:57 UTC  #    Comments [2] -
javascript | kendoui | Thinking aloud
# Tuesday, 28 May 2013

While developing with KendoUI we have found kendo.ui.progress(container, toggle) function to be very useful. It's used to show or hide a progress indicator in the container element.

At the same time we have found that we usually used it in a context of async operation. This way, we want to show progress, perform some asynchronous operations, hide progress. So, we clearly want to benifit from RAII pattern: we would like to open a progress scope, and to perform some activity withing this scope.

Arguing like this, we have defined a utility function, which is the fusion of kendo.ui.progress() and $.when(). Its signature is like this:

nesterovskyBros.progress = function(instance /*, task ... */)

where instance is either Model, Widget, JQuery or DOM Element, and task is one or more deferred objects. This function shows a progress and returns a Promise that will hide a progress when all tasks will be complete. Implementation is trivial, so we quote it here:

// Fusion of kendo.ui.progress() and $.when().
scope.progress = function(instance /*, task ... */)
{
  if (instance instanceof Model)
  {
    instance = instance.owner && instance.owner();
  }

  if (instance instanceof Widget)
  {
    instance = instance.element;
  }

  if (instance && instance.nodeType)
  {
    instance = $(instance);
  }

  var id = ns + "-progress"; // "nesterovskyBros-progress";
  var progress = (instance && instance.data(id)) || 0;

  if (arguments.length < 2)
  {
    return progress;
  }

  var result = $.when.apply(null, [].slice.call(arguments, 1));

  if (instance)
  {
    instance.data(id, ++progress);
    kendo.ui.progress(instance, progress > 0);

    result.always(
      function()
      {
        progress = instance.data(id) || 0;
        instance.data(id, --progress);
        kendo.ui.progress(instance, progress > 0);
      });
  }

  return result;
};

The use is like this:

nesterovskyBros.progress(element, $.ajax("/service1"), $.ajax("/service2")).then(myFunc);

The code can be found at controls.js.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 05:54:52 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript | kendoui | Tips and tricks
# Saturday, 18 May 2013

While trying to generalize our practices from KendoUI related projects we've participated so far, we updated control.js - a small javascript additions to KendoUI.

At present we have defined:

1. An extended model. See KendoUI extended model.

2. A lightweight user control - a widget to bind a template and a model, and to facilitate declarative instantiation. See KendoUI User control.

3. A reworked version of nesterovskyBros.defineControl() function.

var widgetType = scope.defineControl(
{
   name: widget-name-string,
   model: widget-model-type,
   template: optional-content-template,
   windowOptions: optional-window-options
},
base);

When optional-content-template is not specified then template is calculated as following:

var template = options.temlate || proto.template || model.temlate;

if (template === undefined)
{
  template = scope.template(options.name.toLowerCase() + "-template");
}

When windowOptions is specified then widgetType.dialog(options) function is defined. It's used to open dialog based on the specified user control. windowOptions is passed to kendo.ui.Window constructor. windowOptions.closeOnEscape indicates whether to close opened dialog on escape.

widgetType.dialog() returns a kendo.ui.Window instance with content based on the user control. Window instance contains functions:

  • result() - a $.Deffered for the dialog result, and
  • model() - referring to the user control model.

 The model instance has functions:

  •  dialog() referring to the dialog, and
  • result() referring to the dialog result.

widget.dialog() allows all css units in windowOptions.width and windowOptions.height parameters.

base - is optional user control base. It defaults to nesterovskyBros.ui.UserControl.

4. Adjusted splitter. See Adjust KendoUI Splitter.

5. Auto resize support.

Layout is often depends on available area. One example is Splitter widget that recalculates its panes when window or container Splitter is resized. There are other cases when you would like to adjust layout when a container's area is changed like: adjust grid, tab, editor or user's control contents.

KendoUI does not provide a solution for this problem, so we have defined our own.

  • A widget can be marked with class="auto-resize" marker;
  • A widget may define a widgetType.autoResize(element) function that adapts widget to a new size.
  • A code can call nesterovskyBros.resize(element) function at trigger resizing of the subtree.

To support existing controls we have defined autoResize() function for Grid, Splitter, TabStrip, and Editor widgets.

To see how auto resizing works, it's best to look into index.html, products.tmpl.html, and into the implementation controls.js.

Please note that we consider controls.js as an addition to KendoUI library. If in the future the library will integrate or implement similar features we will be happy to start using their API.

See also: Compile KendoUI templates.

Saturday, 18 May 2013 10:59:36 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Announce | javascript | kendoui | Tips and tricks
# Tuesday, 14 May 2013

We heavily use kendo.ui.Splitter widget. Unfortunately it has several drawbacks:

  • you cannot easily configure panes declaratively;
  • you cannot define a pane that takes space according to its content.

Although we don't like to patch widgets, in this case we found no better way but to patch two functions: kendo.ui.Splitter.fn._initPanes, and  kendo.ui.Splitter.fn._resize.

After the fix, splitter markup may look like the following:

<div style="height: 100%" data-role="splitter" data-orientation="vertical">
  <div data-pane='{ size: "auto", resizable: false, scrollable: false }'>
    Header with size depending on content.
  </div>
  <div data-pane='{ resizable: false, scrollable: true }'>
    Body with size equal to a remaining area.
  </div>
  <div data-pane='{ size: "auto", resizable: false, scrollable: false }'>
    Footer with size depending on content.
  </div>
</div>

Each pane may define a data-pane attribute with pane parameters. A pane may specify size = "auto" to take space according to its content.

The code can be found at splitter.js A test can be seen at splitter.html.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013 07:34:59 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript | kendoui | Thinking aloud | Tips and tricks
# Monday, 13 May 2013

Although WCF REST service + JSON is outdated comparing to Web API, there are yet a lot of such solutions (and probably will appear new ones) that use such "old" technology.

One of the crucial points of any web application is an error handler that allows gracefully resolve server-side exceptions and routes them as JSON objects to the client for further processing. There are dozen approachesin Internet that solve this issue  (e.g. http://blog.manglar.com/how-to-provide-custom-json-exceptions-from-as-wcf-service/), but there is no one that demonstrates error handling ot the client-side. We realize that it's impossible to write something general that suits for every web application, but we'd like to show a client-side error handler that utilizes JSON and KendoUI.

On our opinion, the successfull error handler must display an understandable error message on one hand, and on the other hand it has to provide technical info for developers in order to investigate the exception reason (and to fix it, if need):

collapsed error dialog collapsed error dialog

You may download demo project here. It contains three crucial parts:

  • A server-side error handler that catches all exceptions and serializes them as JSON objects (see /Code/JsonErrorHandler.cs and /Code/JsonWebHttpBehaviour.cs).
  • An error dialog that's based on user-control defined in previous articles (see /scripts/controls/error.js, /scripts/controls/error.resources.js and /scripts/templates/error.tmpl.html).
  • A client-side error handler that displays errors in user-friendly's manner (see /scripts/api/api.js, method defaultErrorHandler()).

Of course this is only a draft solution, but it defines a direction for further customizations in your web applications.

Monday, 13 May 2013 23:09:02 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
.NET | ASP.NET | javascript | kendoui | Tips and tricks
# Thursday, 18 April 2013

We have upgraded KendoUI and have found that kendo window has stopped to size properly.

In the old implementation window set dimensions like this:

_dimensions: function() {
  ...
  if (options.width) {
    wrapper.width(options.width);
  }
  if (options.height) {
    wrapper.height(options.height);
  }
 
...
}

And here is a new implementation:

_dimensions: function() {
  ...
  if (options.width) {
    wrapper.width(constrain(parseInt(options.width, 10), options.minWidth, options.maxWidth));
  }
  if (options.height) {
    wrapper.height(constrain(parseInt(options.height, 10), options.minHeight, options.maxHeight));
  }
  ...
}

Thus nothing but pixels are supported. Earlier we often used 'em' units to define dialog sizes. There was no reason to restrict it like this. That's very unfortunate.

Thursday, 18 April 2013 10:44:24 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript | kendoui
# Wednesday, 03 April 2013

To simplify KendoUI development we have defined nesterovskyBros.data.Model, which extends kend.data.Model class.

Extensions in nesterovskyBros.data.Model

  1. As with kendo.data.Model there is fields Object - a set of key/value pairs to configure the model fields, but fields have some more options:
    • fields.fieldName.serializable Boolean - indicates whether the field appears in an object returned in model.toJSON(). Default is true.
    • fields.fieldName.updateDirty Boolean - indicates whether the change of the property should trigger dirty field change. Default is true.
  2. When model defines a field and there is a prototype function with the same name then this function is used to get and set a field value.
  3. When property is changed through the model.set() method then dirty change event is triggered (provided that fields.fieldName.updateDirty !== false). This helps to build a dependcy graph on that property.
  4. When model instance is consturcted, the data passed in are validated, nullable and default values are set.

Model example

Here is an example of a model:

nesterovskyBros.data.ProductModel = nesterovskyBros.data.Model.define(
{

fields:
{
  name: { type: "string", defaultValue: "Product Name" },
  price: { type: "number", defaultValue: 10 },
  unitsInStockValue: { type: "number", defaultValue: 10, serializable: false },
  unitsInStock: { type: "string" }
},

unitsInStock: function(value)
{
  if (value === undefined)
  {
    var count = this.get("unitsInStockValue");

    return ["one", "two", "three", "four"][count] || (count + "");
  }
  else
  {
    this.set("unitsInStockValue", ({one: 1, two: 2, three: 3, four: 4 })[value] || value);
  }
}

});

Notice that:

  • unitsInStock property is implemented as a function - this helps to map model values to presentation values.
  • when you call model.toJSON(), or JSON.stringify() you will see in result name, price, unitsInStock values only - this helps to get model's state and to store it somewhere (e.g. in sessionStorage).
  • in a code:
      var model = new nesterovskyBros.data.ProductModel({ price: "7", unitsInStock: "one" });
    the following is true:
      (typeof(model.price) == "number") && (mode.price == 7) && (model.name == "Product Name") && (model.unitsInStockValue == 1)

As with UserControl the implemntation is defined in the controls.js. The sample page is the same index.html

Wednesday, 03 April 2013 20:37:49 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript | Thinking aloud | Tips and tricks
# Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Developing with KendoUI we try to formalize tasks. With this in mind we would like to have user controls.

We define user control as following:

It is a javascript class that extends Widget.
It offers a way to reuse UI.
It allows to define a model and a template with UI and data binding.

Unfortunately, KendoUI does not have such API, though one can easily define it; so we have defined our version.

Here we review our solution. We have taken a grid KendoUI example and converted it into a user control.

User control on the page

See index.html

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <title>Test</title>

  <!-- (1) Include templates for controls. -->
  <script src="scripts/templates.js"></script>

  <script src="scripts/jquery/jquery.js"></script>
  <script src="scripts/kendo/kendo.web.min.js"></script>

  <!-- (2) UserControl definition. -->
  <script src="scripts/controls.js"></script>

  <!-- (3) Confirm dialog user control. -->
  <script src="scripts/controls/confirm.js"></script>

  <!-- (4) Products user control. -->
  <script src="scripts/controls/products.js"></script>

  <link href="styles/kendo.common.min.css" rel="stylesheet" />
  <link href="styles/kendo.default.min.css" rel="stylesheet" />
  <script>
$(function ()
{
  // (5) Bind the page.
  kendo.bind(
    document.body,
    // (6) Model as a datasource.
    { source: [new nesterovskyBros.data.ProductsModel] });
});
  </script>
</head>
<body>
  <!-- (7) User control and its binding. -->
  <div data-role="products" data-bind="source: source"></div>
</body>
</html>

That's what we see here:

  1. Templates that define layouts. See "How To: Load KendoUI Templates from External Files", and templates.tt.
  2. Definition of the UserControl widget.
  3. Confirm dialog user control (we shall mention it later).
  4. Products user control.
  5. Data binding that instantiates page controls.
  6. Model is passed to a user control through the dataSource.
  7. Use of Products user control. Notice that "data-role" defines control type, "source" refers to the model.

User Control declaration

Declaration consists of a view and a model.

View is html with data binding. See products.tmpl.html

We build our project using Visual Studio, so templates packaging is done with templates.tt. This transformation converts products template into a tag:

<script id="products-template" type="text/x-kendo-template">

thus template can be referred by a utility function: nesterovskyBros.template("products-template").

Model inherits kedo.data.Model. Here how it looks:

// (1) Define a ProducsModel class.
nesterovskyBros.data.ProductsModel = kendo.data.Model.define(
{

// (2) Model properties.
fields:
{
  productName: { type: "string", defaultValue: "Product Name" },
  productPrice: { type: "number", defaultValue: 10 },
  productUnitsInStock: { type: "number", defaultValue: 10 },
  products: { type: "default", defaultValue: [] }
},

// (3) Model methods.
addProduct: function () { ... },
deleteProduct: function (e) { ... },
...

});

// (4) Register user control.
nesterovskyBros.ui.Products = nesterovskyBros.defineControl(
{
  name: "Products",
  model: nesterovskyBros.data.ProductsModel
});

That's what we have here:

  1. We define a model that inherits KendoUI Model.
  2. We define model fields.
  3. We define model methods.
  4. Register user control with  nesterovskyBros.defineControl(proto) call, where:
    • proto.name - defines user control name;
    • proto.model - defines model type;
    • proto.template - defines optional template. If not specified, a template is retrieved from $("#" + proto.name.toLowerCase() + "-template").html().

UserControl API

Now, what's remained is API for the UserControl. See controls.js.

  1. UserControl defines following events:
    • change - triggered when data source is changed;
    • dataBound - triggered when widget is data bound;
    • dataBinding - triggered befor widget data binding;
    • save - used to notify user to save model state.
  2. UserControl defines following options:
    • autoBind (default false) - autoBind data source;
    • template (default $.noop) - user control template.
  3. UserControl defines dataSource field and setDataSource() method.
  4. UserControl defines rebind() method to manually rebuild widget's view from the template and model.
  5. UserControl sets/deletes model.owner, which is a function returning a user control widget when model is bound/unbound to the widget.
  6. When UserControl binds/unbinds model a model.refresh method is called, if any.
  7. You usually define you control with a call nesterovskyBros.defineControl(proto). See above.
  8. There is also a convenience method to build a dialog based on a user control: nesterovskyBros.defineDialog(options), where
    • options.name - a user control name (used in the data-role);
    • options.model - a model type;
    • options.windowOptions - a window options.
    This method returns a function that recieves a user control model, and returns a dialog (kendo.ui.Window) based on the user control.
    Dialog has model() function that returns an instance of model.
    Model has dialog() function that returns an instance of the dialog.
    Dialog and model have result() function that returns an instance of deferred object used to track dialog completion.
    The example of user control dialog is confirm.js and confirm.tmpl.html. The use is in the products.js deleteProduct():

    deleteProduct: function(e)
    {
      var that = this;

      return nesterovskyBros.dialog.confirm(
      {
        title: "Please confirm",
        message: "Do you want to delete the record?",
        confirm: "Yes",
        cancel: "No"
      }).
      open().
      center().
      result().
      then(
        function(confirmed)
        {
          if (!confirmed)
          {
            return;
          }
          ...
       });
    }

Last

User controls along with technique to manage and cache templates allow us to build robust web applications. As the added value it's became a trivial task to build SPA.

See also: Compile KendoUI templates.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013 21:40:05 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript | Thinking aloud | Tips and tricks
# Monday, 11 February 2013

At present we inhabit in jquery and kendoui world.

There you deal with MVVM design pattern and build you page from blocks. To avoid conflicts you usually restrict yourself from assigning ids to elements, as they make code reuse somewhat problematic.

But what if you have a label that you would like to associate with an input. In plain html you would write:

<label for="my-input">My label:</label> <input id="my-input" type="text">

Html spec suggests to use element id to build such an association.

So, how to avoid introduction of id, and to allow to select input while clicking on the label?

In our projects we use a little utility function that solves exactly this task. It's easier to quote an example than to describe implementation:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <title>Label</title>
  <script src="scripts/jquery.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
<div class="view">
  <div>A template:</div>
  <table>
    <tr>
      <td><label data-for="[name=field1]">Name1:</label></td>
      <td><input name="field1" type="text" /></td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td><label data-for="[name=field2]">Name2:</label></td>
      <td><input name="field2" type="text" /></td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td><label data-for="[name=field3]">Name3:</label></td>
      <td><input name="field3" type="text" /></td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td><label data-for="[name=field4]">Name4:</label></td>
      <td><input name="field4" type="checkbox" /></td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td><label data-for="[name=field5][value=0]">Name5:</label></td>
      <td><input name="field5" value="0" type="radio" /></td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td><label data-for="[name=field5][value=1]">Name6:</label></td>
      <td><input name="field5" value="1" type="radio" /></td>
    </tr>
  </table>
</div>
<script>
$(document).on(
  "click",
  "label[data-for]",
  function(e)
  {
    var target = $(e.target);

    target.closest(target.attr("data-view") || ".view").
      find(target.attr("data-for")).
      filter(":visible:enabled").first().click().focus().
      filter("input[type=checkbox],input[type=radio]").change();
  });
</script>
</body>
</html>

Monday, 11 February 2013 21:40:18 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript
# Sunday, 10 February 2013

In our applications we must support IE 8, and unfortunately we hit some leak, which is registered as Ticket #7054(closed bug: fixed).

While bug declared closed as fixed we can see that memory leak in IE8 like a mad. Not sure if something can be done about it.

The test case is:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <title>Test</title>
  <script src="scripts/jquery/jquery-1.9.0.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
<script>
function testLeak()
{
  var handler = function () { };

  $('<div></div>').html(new Array(1000).join(new Array(1000).join('x'))).bind('abc', handler).appendTo('#test').remove();
}

$(function() { setInterval(testLeak, 1000); });
</script>
<div id="test"></div>
</body>
</html>

Update: jaubourg has pointed that we have missed to define element with id="test". With this element leak stops.

Sunday, 10 February 2013 05:17:33 UTC  #    Comments [2] -
javascript
# Sunday, 06 January 2013

Kendo UI Docs contains an article "How To: Load Templates from External Files", where authors review two way of dealing with Kendo UI templates.

While using Kendo UI we have found our own answer to: where will the Kendo UI templates be defined and maintained?

solution tree

In our .NET project we have decided to keep templates separately, and to store them under the "templates" folder. Those templates are in fact include html, head, and stylesheet links. This is to help us to present those tempates in the design view.

In our scripts folder, we have defined a small text transformation template: "templates.tt", which produces "templates.js" file. This template takes body contents of each "*.tmpl.html" file from "templates" folder and builds string of the form:

document.write('<script id="footer-template" type="text/x-kendo-template">...</script><script id="row-template" type="text/x-kendo-template">...</script>');

In our page that uses templates, we include "templates.js":

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <script src="scripts/templates.js"></script>
    ...

Thus, we have:

  • clean separation of templates and page content;
  • automatically generated templates include file.

WebTemplates.zip contains a web project demonstrating our technique. "templates.tt" is text template transformation used in the project.

See also: Compile KendoUI templates.

Sunday, 06 January 2013 19:43:19 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
.NET | ASP.NET | javascript | Tips and tricks
# Sunday, 24 June 2012

For some reason KendoUI DataSource does not allow to access current ajax request. Indeed, it seems quite natural to have a way to cancel running request.

To achieve a desired effect we have made a small set of changes in the RemoteTransport class:

var RemoteTransport_setup = kendo.RemoteTransport.fn.setup;

kendo.RemoteTransport.fn.setup = function()
{
  var that = this,
      options = RemoteTransport_setup.apply(that, arguments),
      beforeSend = options.beforeSend;

  options.beforeSend = functions(request, options)
  {
    that.abort();

    that._request = request;

    if (beforeSend && (beforeSend.apply(this, arguments) === false))
    {
      that._request = null;

      return false;
    }

    request.always(function() { that._request = null; });
  } 

  return options;
}

kendo.RemoteTransport.fn.request = function()
{
  return this._request;
}

kendo.RemoteTransport.fn.abort = function()
{
  var request = this._request;

  if (request)
  {
    this._request = null;
    request.abort();
  }
}

These changes allow to get an ajax request instance: grid.dataSource.request(), or to cancel a request grid.dataSource.abort().

Sunday, 24 June 2012 19:59:30 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript | Tips and tricks
# Sunday, 17 June 2012

We're pleased to work with Kendo UI. Its design is good, however we find here and there things we would wish be done better. Here is a list of problems in a no particular order we would like to be addressed in the next release:

  • RTL is not supported (including correct scroll bar position see Tunning KendoUI).
  • Templates and binding should support a context information along with the data source. (Why do they use with statement?)
  • attr binding should use jquery.attr() method; there should be prop binding which is analogous to attr binding.
  • There should be custom binding that allows any json object to bind to different aspects of a widget or an element.
  • One should be able to use format/parse functions during binding. (Allow binding to express as a triple json object?)
  • parseExact(value, format, culture) method should be rewritten, as it has nothing in common with parsing data string according to exact format.
  • Type inference during binding is poor (parseOption() method). It works neither for string "1,2", nor json " { x: 0 } ", nor for date.
  • Binding is not implemented for many components: splitter, grid.
  • Splitter's pane should support size="auto".
  • Drid does not support totals in group headers, nor it supports header selection.
  • DataSource does not works after remote error, neither it allows to cancel request.
  • innerHtml is used all over the code, thus one cannot rely on jquery.data().
  • Grid does not support customization (localization) of a column filter.
  • Grid should support data binding of its content.
  • One should be able to destroy any widget.
Sunday, 17 June 2012 20:03:37 UTC  #    Comments [1] -
javascript | Thinking aloud
# Monday, 11 June 2012

Trying to make KendoUI to work with Hebrew or more generally in RTL environment we had to find a way to guess the position of scroll bar when direction is rtl.

The problem exists due to the fact that some browsers (Chrome one of them) always put scroll bars to the right. That's utterly wrong. Consider a label and a listbox:

Chrome IE
List in chrome List in chrome

You can see that the scroll bar appears between the label (on the right) and the data in the list box (on the left) in Chrome, and on the left side of the list box in the IE.

We came up with the following test that calculates a scroll bar position in rtl mode:

<script type="text/javascript">
var _scrollbar;

function scrollbar()
{
  if (!_scrollbar)
  {
    var div = document.createElement("div");

    div.style.cssText = "overflow:scroll;zoom:1;clear:both;direction:rtl";
    div.innerHTML = "<div>&nbsp;</div>";
    document.body.appendChild(div);

    _scrollbar =
    {
      size: div.offsetWidth - div.scrollWidth,
      rtlPosition: div.offsetLeft < div.firstChild.offsetLeft ? "left" : "right"
    };

    document.body.removeChild(div);
  }

  return _scrollbar;
}
</script>

In conjuction with an approach described in How to create a <style> tag with Javascript we were able to define rtl css classes for kendo controls and in particular for the grid, combobox, dropdownlist, and datepicker.

Monday, 11 June 2012 21:09:44 UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript | Tips and tricks
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