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skatejs

Skate

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Skate is a functional abstraction over the web component standards that:

  • Produces cross-framework compatible components
  • Abstracts away common attribute / property semantics via props, such as attribute reflection and coercion
  • Adds several lifecycle callbacks for responding to prop updates, rendering and more
  • Provides a base set of mixins that hook into renderers such as @skatejs/renderer-preact.

Anatomy of a Skate web component

At its core, Skate is about creating Custom Elements. Skate provides a series of mixin functions that enable you to control what your component can do.

For instance, Skate's main mixin, withComponent, is just a composition of all of Skate's other mixin behaviours:

  • withUpdate -- the generated element will react to changes on their props or HTML attributes.
  • withChildren -- the generated element will react to changes to its child elements.
  • withRenderer -- the element can generate its own DOM and output it to a renderRoot (a ShadowRoot node by default).
  • withLifecycle -- the element can use added sugar on top of the built-in lifecycle callbacks.
  • withContext -- the element will inherit context from components up the tree, like in React.
  • withUnique -- allows for naming the custom element through is.

Calling withComponent() gives you a Custom Element class constructor, which you can then extend to define your own elements.

Every mixin accepts an optional Element constructor as its only parameter, which allows you to extend virtually any element type in HTML!

Rendering an element

As an example, let's create a simple greeting component...

<x-hello>Bob</x-hello>

...such that when this element is rendered, the end-user will see Hello, Bob!.

We can define a Skate component that renders the contents of our Custom Element:

import { withComponent } from 'skatejs';
 
const Component = withComponent();
 
class GreetingComponent extends Component {
  renderer (renderRoot, render) {
    renderRoot.innerHtml = '';
    renderRoot.appendChild(render());
  }
  render () {
    const el = document.createElement('span');
    el.innerHTML = 'Hello, <slot></slot>!';
    return el;
  }
}
 
customElements.define('x-hello', GreetingComponent);

When this element is rendered, the DOM will look something like the following:

<x-hello>
  #shadow-root
    <span>Hello, <slot></slot>!</span>
  Bob
</x-hello>

This is the utility that web components provide when using Custom Elements and the Shadow DOM.

Skate also allows turning off Shadow DOM if you don't wanna use it for various particular reasons. You can turn it off via get renderRoot() override:

NOTE: by turning off Shadow DOM you cannot use content projection anymore by default, further tweaks needs to be applied

import { withComponent, props } from 'skatejs';
 
// define base class withouth Shadow DOM
class NoShadowComponent = class extends withComponent() {
  // you need to return where you want to render your content, in our case we wanna render directly to our custom element children
  get renderRoot() {
    return this
  }
}
 
// use custom NoShadowComponent as a base class
class GreetingComponent extends NoShadowComponent {
  static props = {
    name: props.string
  };
  renderer (renderRoot, render) {
    renderRoot.innerHtml = '';
    renderRoot.appendChild(render());
  }
  render ({name}) {
    const el = document.createElement('span');
    el.innerHTML = `Hello, ${name}!`;
    return el;
  }
}
 
customElements.define('x-hello', GreetingComponent);

Now when you write:

<x-hello name="Bob"></x-hello>

When this element is rendered, the DOM will look something like the following:

<x-hello>
  <span>Hello, Bob!</span>
</x-hello>

Watching element properties and attributes

We can create a Skate component that watches for HTML attribute changes on itself:

import { props, withComponent } from 'skatejs';
 
const Component = withComponent();
 
class GreetingComponent extends Component {
  static props = {
    name: props.string
  };
  renderer (renderRoot, render) {
    renderRoot.innerHtml = '';
    renderRoot.appendChild(render());
  }
  render ({ name }) {
    const el = document.createElement('span');
    el.innerHTML = `Hello, ${name}!`;
    return el;
  }
}
 
customElements.define('x-hello', GreetingComponent);

The resulting HTML when the element is rendered would look like this:

<x-hello name="Bob">
  #shadow-root
    <span>Hello, Bob!</span>
</x-hello>

Now, whenever the name property or attribute on the greeting component changes, the component will re-render.

Making your own mixins

In the previous exampless, each component implements its own rendering behaviour. Rather than re-defining it all the time, we can write a mixin and take advantage of prototypal inheritance:

NOTE: the with prefix is not mandatory, just a common practice for naming HOCs and Mixins

import { props, withComponent } from 'skatejs';
 
const withDangerouslyNaiveRenderer = (Base = HTMLElement) => {
  return class extends Base {
    renderer (renderRoot, render) {
      renderRoot.innerHtml = render();
    }
  }
};
 
const Component = withComponent(withDangerouslyNaiveRenderer());
 
class GreetingComponent extends Component {
  static props = {
    name: props.string
  };
  render ({ name }) {
    return `<span>Hello, {name}!</span>`;
  }
}
 
customElements.define('x-hello', GreetingComponent);

Rendering using other front-end libraries

Because Skate provides a hook for the renderer, it can support just about every modern component-based front-end library — React, Preact, Vue... just provide a render to stamp out your component's HTML, a renderer to update the DOM with your HTML, and then it's all the same to Skate!

The Skate team have provided a few renderers for popular front-end libraries; check the Installing section.

Using Skate with Preact

Instead of writing our own renderer, we could use a library like Preact to do the work for us. Skate provides a ready-made renderer for Preact; here's how we would update our previous greeting component to use it:

/** @jsx h */
 
import { props, withComponent } from 'skatejs';
import withRenderer from '@skatejs/renderer-preact';
import { h } from 'preact';
 
const Component = withComponent(withRenderer());
 
customElements.define(
  'x-hello',
  class extends Component {
    static props = {
      name: props.string
    };
    render({ name }) {
      return <span>Hello, {name}!</span>;
    }
  }
);

Now that the greeting component is rendered via Preact, when it renders, it only changes the part of the DOM that requires updating.

Installing Skate

To use Skate on its own, just add it to your package.json:

npm install skatejs

To use Skate with another front-end library, you'll want to install that library itself, along with a Skate renderer for it.

npm install skatejs @skatejs/renderer-[renderer] [renderer]

Where [renderer] is one of:

Polyfills

Skate builds upon the Custom Elements and the Shadow DOM standards. Skate is capable of operating without the Shadow DOM — it just means you don't get any encapsulation of your component's HTML or styles.

Though most modern browsers support these standards, some still need polyfills to implement missing or inconsistent behaviours for them.

For more information on the polyfills, see the web components polyfill documentation.

Browser Support

Skate supports all evergreens and IE11, and is subject to the browser support matrix of the polyfills.

Backers

Support us with a monthly donation and help us continue our activities. [Become a backer]

Sponsors

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