altr

README.md

altr

A small efficient DOM-based templating engine. It updates the parts of the dom that need to change, and keeps everything else intact.

altr provides a powerful and expressive templating solution without becoming your front end framework. Other alternatives with similar capabilities (React, Ractive.js, etc) provide much more than a template, and enforece a specific way of writing your ui code. For some cases this is great and creates internal consistancy in your code. If you want a solution that does one (small) thing well, and stays out of your way everywhere else, altr might be a great fit.

Run npm install altr.

Then, in your node module, var altr = require('altr').

Download altr.js from the here and include it in your html before your other JavaScript files

<script type="text/javascript" src="/path/to/altr.js"></script>
var el = document.getElementById('root')
  , template = altr(el)
 
template.update({
    name: "world"
  , list: [1,2,3]
})
 
//later 
template.update(new_state)
 
<div id="root">
  <h1>hello, {{ name }}!</h1>
  <ul altr-for="item in list">
    <li altr-text="item"></li>
  </ul>
</div>
<div id="root">
  <h1>hello, world!</h1>
  <ul altr-for="item in list">
    <li altr-text="item">1</li>
    <li altr-text="item">2</li>
    <li altr-text="item">3</li>
  </ul>
</div>

altr will do a lookup of a variable name my_value in when either of the following are true:

  • {{ my_value }} appears in any DOM node's textContent or in any DOM node attribute that is not prefixed by altr.
  • DOM attribute matches altr-attr-*="my_value".

The altr-attr-my-attribute="my_value" syntax will set the my-attribute attribute on the DOM node to whatever my_value evaluates to in the current template context. When the template context is updated, this will update as well. If my_value evaluates to null, or false, then my-attribute will simply be excluded, which is useful for boolean attributes such as checked (which can also have a value), or for SVG elements which will throw errors for illegal values.

Template variable lookups are backed by dirtybit. dirtybit supports dot-path lookups, literals, a wide range of operators, as well as helpers. See the documentation for more details.

altr tags are special attributes that can be set on any element to change how that element and its children are rendered. With a few exceptions, altr treats the value that the attribute points to as a template variable: When it renders the template, it looks up the value against the template context and replaces all instances of the variable with the value returned by the lookup.

The supported tags are as follows:

<div altr-if="my_val">!!my_val === true</div>

Looks up my_value in the current template context and tests its truthiness. If my_value is truthy, the element will be rendered as normal. If it is not, the element will be completely removed from the DOM until the value is truthy again. Child nodes will not be updated until the value is truthy.

<ol altr-for="item in my_items"><li>{{ item.name }}<li></ol>

Looks up my_items in the current template context. The iterator variable is a new context variable which can be looked up in the body of the for loop (the inner HTML of the DOM element on which the attribute was defined).

The for tag will take its innerHtml and use it as a template to render each item in the passed array. When the list of items changes, altr will will update the DOM to reflect the changes. In particular it:

  • Removes elements associated with items that have been removed
  • Updates elements that are still part of the list if necessary
  • Create new elements for items that have been added.

By default altr will use indexOf to determine if an item is still part of the list and where it is located. You can also specify a unique key if you want to pass in objects that represent the same item, but point to a different object:

<ol altr-for="item:my_unique_key in my_items"><li>{{ item.name }}<li></ol>
<div altr-text="my_text"></div>

The text tag looks up my_text in the current template context and uses the result to set the TextContent on its element. So if the current template context set context.my_text = 'What wonderful hat!', then the result of rendering the above is:

<div>What a wonderful hat!</div>
<div altr-html="my_html"></div>

The html tag works exactly like the text tag, but sets the innerHTML of the element instead of the textContent.

<div altr-with="data">{{ data.value }} === {{ value }}</div>

The with tag will make any property of the passed value directly accessible in any child nodes. Values from the parent scope will still be accessible as well.

<div altr-replace="some.html_element"></div>

some.html_element must evaluate to a DOM node.

The replace tag will replace its element some.html_element. This allows you to create smaller widgets with their own templates, event handlers and logic, and dynamically render them into your template.

<div altr-children="list_of_html_elements"></div>

The children tag will replace an elements content with the specified DOM nodes. list_of_html_elements should either resolve to a single DOM node, or an array of DOM nodes.

<div altr-include="another_template"></div>

The include tag will takes an expression that resolves to a string, this string should be a valid altr template. If the string that the expression changes, the contents will be blown away and new content will be rendered based on the new template string.

<div altr-raw="true"></div>

The raw tag tells altr to ignore everything inside the current element, and just render it as-is.

Create a new altr instance, which subclasses Event Emitter.

  • template: Can be either a string or a DOM element.
  • data: Initial data to render the template with.
  • sync: When false, all DOM updates are batched with requestAnimationFrame. Otherwise, all updates happen in the turn of the event loop in which they are called. Defaults to true in node (and browserify).
  • template: either a template name added using altr.incude, or a full template (same as first argument to the default constructor).
  • data: Initial data to render the template with.
  • el: (optional) an element to render the template into.

Add a helper to altr

  • name: The name of the helper.
  • helper: The helper constructor function. See dirtybit for its expected signature.

Update the template with data. If sync is true, the template will be updated synchronously rather than on the next animation frame.

Insert the template into the el, which is expected to be a DOM element (useful if rendering the template from a string).

Returns the current state of the template as a string.

Immediately runs any outstanding DOM updates that have been queued.

  • template: a template string, may contain {{ my.value }} type tags.
  • callback: a function that will be called when the template result changes.
  • update is emitted with the templates current state any time the template state is updated
  • draw is emitted with the templates current state after a dom update occurs. the current state is not guaranteed to be the state that triggered the change.