Posted by & filed under CSS, JavaScript, web developing.

For some time I wanted to improve my front-end workflow. The search for an optimized workflow almost made me switch to mac, and I am still considering the switch. It seems to me that the windows front-end developing environment lacks serious momentum compared to the progress being made on linux and osx.

However now onto the good stuff. I had a few goals for my new workflow; LESS / SASS, auto refresh function, file minification and optional device checking. All this in combination with a proper IDE. At first I gave a shot at Yeoman, the installation with Chocolatey went perfect, however Yeoman itself gave some windows related errors. I am sure Yeoman should work fine, but I like to have my stack divided in several software sections.

The first goal was getting autoreload for the browser. For windows there are several options, all with there own pros and cons.

  • First there is “web essentials” an extension for visual studio, these make it possible to reload the css only. This could be a use full start if your company restricts you to use visual studio for front-end development.
  • Netbeans 7.3 with live html, this is an easy way to get a lot of functionality. However the beta version had difficulties to detect changes made by external compilers. For example css files compiled by the winless less compiler were not detected by the live html functionality. Netbeans live html has the advantage that it works on all file locations, a local server isn’t required.
  • Livereload browserplugin, i use this plugin in combination with sublime text 2. This solution works perfect, combined with some LESS plugins for sublime the less files compile automatically and the updated css file updates the livereload plugin.
  • At last there are a lot of scheduled refresh options, these refresh the browser every on predefined time. I think these options work but are not a very “clean” solution for the problem.

I’m more than happy that I have renewed my workflow, especially “Sublime text” is an instant saver, although it is lacking some deeper IDE functions, like recognizing functions from other files ( If there are some plugin to solve this please share them ). But overall Sublime is an amazing fast and “clean to the eye and mind” editor.

My current stack is as follows; sublime coupled with some less formatting plugins. Less compiling is done with WinLess. Livereload in chrome is coupled with sublime and chrome is optionally connected to devices with Adobe Edge Inspect.
Coding now feels like typing a letter, focused on the code, instantaneous feedback, brilliant 😉

At least until I need to merge the code back into visual studio and TFS, and of course next year there will definitely be new shiny toys.

Posted by & filed under JavaScript, web developing.

Download the source

You can download, and check the source from my github account

A lot of beginning javascript developers might find it hard to start with design patterns. And for most projects larger frameworks, for example backbone.js would be overkill. I created a very simple todo example application based on mvc. I tried to keep the app as clean and concise as possible. Therefore the application is “ugly”, no styling no images etc. I did use jQuery for event dispatching, to my opinion this easier to understand and to maintain than pure javascript events.

Application structure

The application has three main classes and i did not follow the mvc pattern really strictly, for example i could have implemented the model more strictly, with getters an setters, and for example use a singleton for for the model. I did however decoupled the model from the view by the controller.

The Model

The model module is essentially one private array which stores the todo items and is exposed by some public methods.

var Model = function () {
        var _todos = new Array();    

	var notifyController = function () {	
            $('body').trigger('updateView');
	}
        // public methods
	return  {
		addTodo: function ( todo ) {
                    _todos.push(todo);
                   notifyController();
		},
                editTodo: function( index, newTodo ){
                    _todos[index] = newTodo;
                },
                deleteTodo: function ( index ) {
                   _todos.splice(index,1);
                   notifyController();
		},
                getData: function(){
                    return _todos;
                }
	};
};

The View

the view module below handles the user events and updates the view (html file). The view is coupled with the html file. The main events are the “add-event”, triggered by the “add” link and the enter key, and the delete event which the “delete” link triggers.

var View = function () {
	var updateView = function ( todos ) {	
            $('#todoList li').remove();
            for( var i = 0, len = todos.length; i < len; i++ ){
              $('#todoList')
               .append( '<li>' + todos[i] 
               + '<a data-index="' + i + '" href="#">remove</a></li>');
            }
	};
        
        //set the handlers for the view
        var initView = function(){
            //add
            $("#addTodoButton").on("click", function(){
                var event = jQuery.Event("addItem");
                event.todo = $('#addTodo')[0].value;
                $('body').trigger(event);
                $('#addTodo')[0].value = '';
            });
            // track enter key
            $('#addTodo').on("keypress", function(e){
              if(e.which == 13){
                var event = jQuery.Event("addItem");
                event.todo = $('#addTodo')[0].value;
                $('body').trigger(event);
                $('#addTodo')[0].value = '';
               }
              });

            //delete
            $('#todoList a').live("click", function(e){
                var $todo = e.currentTarget;
                var event = jQuery.Event("deleteItem");
                event.index = $($todo).attr('data-index');
                $('body').trigger(event);
            });
        };
        initView();
        
	return  {
		updateView: function (todos) {
                    updateView(todos);
		}
	};
};

The Controller

The controller module listens for the events disposed by the view module, the controller is aware of the model and the view.

var Controller = function (view, model) {
        var _view = view;
        var _model = model;

        // event binding
        $('body').bind('addItem', function(e) {
           _model.addTodo( e.todo );
        });
         $('body').bind('deleteItem', function(e) {
           _model.deleteTodo( e.index );
        });
        $('body').bind('updateView', function(e) {
            _view.updateView( _model.getData() );
        });
};

The Application

The last script is the simple initialize script which binds the MVC modules together. The model and the view are instantiated and passed to the controller.

//init
var model = Model();
var view = View();
var controller = Controller(view, model);

The current application is very simple. If the app would be extended I would start by creating a “todo” view item, this would separate the single todo item from the listing ( and perhaps sorting ) of the todo items. Extending applications like this maintain a clear separation of functions, which definitely helps if an applications grows larger.

Download the source

You can download, and check the source from my github account