1.1.0 • Public • Published

    What is Html Enhancer?

    Html Enhancer was conceived after years of frustrations spent trying to enrich my Html with widgets and plugins written by various authors and based on different technologies. I am speaking of:

    • problems caused by the wrong order plugins are applied to their target Html
    • panic when the same plugins must be applied also to the Html created dynamically or received by ajax calls. In fact, putting everything in the jQuery.ready(...) is easy...but then we have to re-implement a similar code each time we create dynamic content! Several jQuery widgets automatically enhance our Html at the price of almost no programming effort, thanks to data- attributes and to a document parsing performed on the document ready event, but then all these tranformations are not automatically applied also to dynamic content!

    It would be nice to decide once and for all the kind of transformations to apply to our html, and their order, and then having them applied automatically to all our pages, and dynamic content.

    It would be nice to coordinate easily modules loaded asynchronously and modules loaded sinchronously, so that they apply in the right order!

    So after years of frustrastions I decided to solve the problem once and for all, by creating an unique centralized registry of all Html transformations/widgets that receives an unique options object that feeds all registred modules.

    mvcct-enhancer has no dependency on other js libraries and comes with just a single transformation module that applies a minimal fallback for Html5 inputs that either are not supported by the browser or that the developer would like to substitute with widgets. Adding other transformations is as easy as:

    1. writing simple wrappers around already existing modules
    2. registering the wrapped module by calling the .register(...) method.

    mvcct-enhancer, is available both on bower, and npm.

    Html Enhancer with pure synchronous javascript loading

        <script type="text/javascript" src="mvcct.enhancer.js" />
        <script type="text/javascript" src="lib1.js" />
        <script type="text/javascript" src="lib2.js" />
        <!--in actual applications the code below should be enclosed into another .js 
        file at the end of the body
        <script type="text/javascript">
            var myOptions{
                //MyOptions definition

    Then each time you create new dynamic html nodes just call mvcct.enhancer.transform(node) on the root node(s).

    Transformations are applied in the order they are registred, so we may decide once and for all their order in the .js file that defines all registrations and options.

    After the .init method is called a three stages processing occurs:

    1. Pre-processing stage. If available the PreProcessOption function of each module is called. In this stage each transformation module has the opportunity to offer services to other modules by setting the property of the option object used by that nodules.
    2. Processing options stage. Each module configures itself based on the sections of options object destined to it.
    3. Transformation stage. All transformations are applied to the initial content of the page.

    lib1Transform, lib2Transform define the actual transformations to be applied. They receive two arguments: the root node of the chunk to transform and a boolean that is true for the initial static page transformation and false for dynamic Html transformations.

    When the second argument is set to true the transformation is applied to both the initial static Html, and to dynamic content. When it is set to falsethe transformation is applied just to dynamic content. This option maybe usefull for modules that automatically apply their transformation on the document ready event. IMPORTANT! This technique interferes with the main purpose of centralizing the place where to define the order of application of all transformations. Therefore, as a default, the jQuery document ready event is intercepted and "blocked". This block may be removed by setting the runReady property of the options object to true.
    In any case all functions registred on the document raedy event will be executed only after the option processing stage, during the transformation stage.

    lib1ProcessOptions, lib1ProcessOptions are the functions that define the option processing of each module. They receive the options object as their unique argument.

    lb1DebugName, lb2DebugName, are names used in error messages when a javascript error occurs during a transformation.

    lib1PreProcessOptions, lib2PreProcessOptions, are the functions that define the pre-processing of each module. They receive the options object as their unique argument.

    Html Enhancer with mixed synchronous and asynchronous javascript loading

    When we have a foundamentally synchronous loading with just a few async loaded modules we may adopt the following technique:

    <script type="text/javascript" src="mvcct.enhancer.js" />
        <script type="text/javascript" src="lib1.js" />
        <script type="text/javascript" src="lib2.js" />
        <script data-main="scripts/main" src="scripts/require.js"></script>
        <!--in actual applications the code below should be enclosed into another .js -->
        <script type="text/javascript">
            var myOptions{
                //MyOptions definition

    waitAsync delays initialization till async loading has been completed.

    Async modules are registred together with sync modules, and also in this case transformations are applied in the order they are registred. All functions used in the registration of async modules are on-line wrappers around the actual functions that are being loaded asynchronously. For eaxample asynclib1Transform will be something like:

    function(options, init){
        allAsyncs.asynclib1.transform(options, init);

    In the main.js we have something like:

    define(["..../asynclib1", ...],
        function(asynclib1, ...) {
            var allAsyncs=window.allAsyncs={};

    There, we first define the actual functions invoked in the registration, and then we inform the enhancer module async loading has been completed by calling asyncReady.

    Html Enhancer with asynchronous javascript loading

    define(["..../asynclib1", "..../asynclib2", ..., ".../mvcct.enhancer, ..."],
        function(asynclib1, asynclib2, ..., enhancer, ... ...) {
            var myOptions{
                //MyOptions definition
            document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', function(){ 
            }, false);        

    The avove code may be inserted either directly in the main.js or in a specfific transformations registration module.

    IMPORTANT! Our examples used just AMD style async loading, but mvcct.enhancer supports also CommonJs/Node.Js loading.

    TypeScript support

    The distribution contains the .d.ts header file needed to use mvcct enhamcer with TypeScript.

    Htm5 inputs support-detection and fallback module

    When the enhancer is loaded it automatically computes the browser support of all Html5 input fields. This info may be obtained with the mvcct.enhancer call: getSupport().Html5InputOriginalSupport. The Html5InputOriginalSupport property contains the object:

                number: true/false;
                range: true/false;
                date: true/false;
                month: true/false;
                week: true/false;
                time: true/false;
                datetime: true/false;
                email: true/false;
                search: true/false;
                tel: true/false;
                url: true/false;
                color: true/false;

    Where true means the input type is supported. As a default no fallback attempt is performed. However, if the mvcct.enhancer.input.basic.js basic fallback module is loaded and registered by calling the mvcct.enhancer method addBasicInput(Globalize), then Html5 fallback is automatically turned on. and all Html5 inputs that are not supported are transformed into text inputs and their content is converted into the current "locale" (this means, for instance, that dates are transformed from the date input ISO format into a format like mm/dd/yy). Moreover, if version >= 1.0.2 the original input type is stored in the data-original-type attribute.

    Available, also a more complete fallback based on bootstrap widgets: bootstrap-html5-fallback. When bootstrap.html5.fallback.js is loaded after mvcct.enhancer.input.basic.js the addBasicInput(Globalize) is updated to load also all bootstrap widgets.

    As a default the following Globalize "locale" formats are used:

         dateFormat: { "date": "short" },
         timeFormat: { "skeleton": "Hms" },
         timeFormat1: { "skeleton": "Hms" },
         datetimeFormat: { "datetime": "short" },
         datetimeFormat1": { "datetime": "short" },
         monthFormat: { "date": "short" },
         weekFormat: { "date": "short" }

    However, they may be customized bay passing a similar object, containing just the property to customize in the editFormats options property.

    The addBasicInput must be passed a Globalize object, that is needed for the above transformations. The basic fallback module adds also some keyboard control to all numeric fields, so that the user may insert just digits, decimal separators and +/- chars. The min attribute is used to verify if the number may be negative, and accordingly if +/- chars must be accepted. The developer may provide extra information about the number type with the data-val-correcttype-type attribute: 1 positive integer, 2 integer, 3 float.

    Html5 fallback may be turned on also manually by setting the browserSupport.fallbackHtml5 options field to true, without registering any extra module, in which case the only effect will be the conversion of all not supported inputs into text inputs wih no further processing.

    getSupport().Html5InputSupport, instead contains informations also on possible fallbacks provided:

                number: number;
                range: number;
                date: number;
                month: number;
                week: number;
                time: number;
                datetime: number;
                email: number;
                search: number;
                tel: number;
                url: number;
                color: number;

    Four integer values are used: 1 no support, 2 not ISO fallback, 3 ISO fallback, 4 native support.

    Iso fallback means that numbers and dates/time are stored in the input field in exactly the same format of native input type (international ISO format). not ISO fallback is the most common, since most of available widgets use current "locale" formats(ie mm/dd/yy like dates).

    A value of, say 3 doesn't mean necessarely that the browser has no native support since the developer may force the usage of the available fallback. The developer may declare the provided fallback by putting in the options object property browserSupport.fallbacks an object like the one below:

                        force: true/false,
                        type: 1..3
                range?: ...,
                date?: ...,
                month?: ...,
                week?: ...,
                time?: ...,
                datetime?: ...,
                email?: ...,
                search?: ...,
                tel?: ...,
                url?: ...,
                color?: ...,

    Setting force to true forces the usage of the available fallback, while type specifies the type of the
    provided fallback.

    All well written fallback modules shoud automatically set the type in the pre-processing stage(The mvcct.enhancer.basic.input module do it!).

    Time zone processing (starting from version 1.0.2)

    If a datetime-local input has the attribute data-is-utc="true", then its value is assumed to be an UTC date/time. This value is converted into the local time zone during the input processing stage. Moreover, it is assumed that the element after the datetime-local input is an input type "hidden" where to store the date/time time-zone offset (that in general depends on the specific date/time value). Accordingly, each time the input field is modified by the user, this associated input field is automatically updated with the time zone offset of the newly inseted value.

    Reading and setting input values

    Since input formats for native support and fallback might differ, support checks must be done when reading/setting input fields. In order to simplify input field access, when it is loaded, the Htm5 inputs support-detection and fallback module adds two helper methods to the enhancer object, namely:

    .format(type, value, [invariant]) 
    .parse(type, stringValue, [invariant])

    Both methods takes the type of the original Html5 input as first argument("date", "time", etc.). format takes a javascript object (date or number depending on the input time) and transforms it in a properly formatted string, while parse performs the inverse transformation. I case of fallback the formats specified in editFormats(or their defaults) are used. If the third optional argument is true parsing/formatting are done using the invariant culture (the one used by native Html5 inputs), otherwise the right culture is auto-detected. Forcing the invariant culture may be useful for some custom processing of the original input field (for instance processing min/max or step attributes to set some fallback widget options).

    Adding widgets to Htm5 input fallback

    One may also add easily widgets(date, datetime, time pickers, siders, etc) to the basic input fallback, by adding to the options property browserSupport.handlers.enhance an object like:

                number: function(node){.... return;},
                range: function(node){.... return;},
                date: function(node){.... return;},
                month: function(node){.... return;},
                week: function(node){.... return;},
                time: function(node){.... return;},
                datetime: function(node){.... return;},
                email: function(node){.... return;},
                search: function(node){.... return;},
                tel: function(node){.... return;},
                url: function(node){.... return;},
                color: function(node){.... return;},

    Each of the above functions will be automatically invoked on the corresponding input type after fallback, and can be used to enhance the node with a widget. For instance, we may add a datepicker:

    date: function(node){

    It is good practice to take widgets options from the overall mvcct.enhancer options object. One may also define all widgets for a given javascript framework (such Bootstrap for instance), in a module that is registred in mvcct.enhancer. A similar module should contain just a pre-process function that populates the browserSupport.handlers.enhance of the options object.

    Sending Htm5 inputs support information to the server

    mvcct.enhancer may package both the information contained in getSupport().Html5InputSupport and in getSupport().Html5InputOriginalSupport in a cookie and/or in an hidden field, so that they are automatically sent to the server that may use them to interpret all values returned by the input fields. Infact, the format of numbers and dates are returned changes in case of fallback of type 2. In order to enable hidden field/cookie packaging it is enough to fill the options object properties browserSupport.cookie and/or browserSupport.forms with the name of the cookie/hidden field. In case the Html document contains several forms the hidden field is added to all of them.

    Both property data are inserted in the same array as key value pairs:

        {Key: 'Html5InputSupport.number', Value: 2},
        {Key: 'Html5InputOriginalSupport.number', Value: false}

    Then, they are serialized into a jSon strings, and, just for the cookie, also url-encoded.

    Dependencies propagation module

    In order to help registred modules to enhance Html, mvcct.enhancer provides a simple dependency propagation engine. We may declare that an input node input1 depends on input2, according to a function f(). After that each time input 2 changes (becuase of an user action) f() will be invoked on input1, then all inputs depending on input1 will have their f() invoked, and so on. Infinite loops are prevented by stopping the propagation when it returns on an already visited node.

    A dependency is declared with the following mvcct.enhancer method:

               sourceNode, //tracked node
               targetNode, //dependent node
               eventNames: //array containing the names of all 
                           //events that will trigger the propagation(ie ['blur', 'keypress'...], etc
               action: // invoked function function(targetNode, sourceNode) => void); 

    name identifies the type of dependency. If you want your dependencies interact globally with all others, please set name="main". When the value of an input is changed programmatically, dependency propagation may be started by triggering the "_enhancer.dependency."+name event.

    IMPORTANT!, since mvcct.enhancer doesnt depend on jQuery all above events are not defined with jQuery.

    Defining a custom Html5 fallback module

    The fallback process can be customized at varoius levels. We already described how to add widgets with the browserSupport.handlers.enhance property. More advanced customizations may be obtained by providing other properties in browserSupport.handlers, namely:

    browserSupport.handlers.replace=function(type,support). It receives as input the original input type and the same object returned by getSupport().Html5InputSupport and returns the input type to fallback to. If the function returns the same type received as input no further processing is done (fallback is aborted). The default function always returns "text", but in the case the input type is "range" and "number" is supported where it returns "number", so that the "range" is substituted with a "number".

    browserSupport.handlers.translateVal=function(value, type, node). It is invoked after a fallback in order to translate the original content of the input into a value appropriate to the way the fallback works. It receives as input, the value to transform (a string), the original input type, and the new input type, and returns the new value(a string). The default implementation furnished by the mvcct.enhancer.input.basic module uses the Globalize library to transform all date/time/numbers related input type values from the international ISO format into the current locale format, while leaving unchanged all other input types. This transformation is performed only if the new input type is "text".

    browserSupport.handlers.fullReplace=function(input). It allows a complete customization. It takes the input node as input and transform the html around it in a custom way. No other automatic action is performed when this function is provided.


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