Hyperloop Components

Components DSL Overview

Hyperloop Components are implemented in the hyper-component and hyper-react Gems.

Hyperloop Component DSL (Domain Specific Language) is a set of class and instance methods that are used to describe your React components.

The DSL has the following major areas:

  • The Hyperloop::Component class and the equivalent Hyperloop::Component::Mixin mixin
  • Class methods or macros that describe component class level behaviors
  • The four data accessors methods: params, state, mutate, and children
  • The tag and component rendering methods
  • Event handlers
  • Miscellaneous methods

Hyperloop::Component

Hyperloop Components classes either include Hyperloop::Component::Mixin or are subclasses of Hyperloop::Component.

class Component < Hyperloop::Component
end

# if subclassing is inappropriate, you can mixin instead
class AnotherComponent
  include Hyperloop::Component::Mixin
end

At a minimum every component class must define a render macro which returns one single child element. That child may in turn have an arbitrarily deep structure.

class Component < Hyperloop::Component
  render do
    DIV { } # render an empty div
  end
end

You may also include the top level element to be rendered:

class Component < Hyperloop::Component
  render(DIV) do
    # everything will be rendered in a div
  end
end

To render a component, you reference its class name in the DSL as a method call. This creates a new instance, passes any parameters proceeds with the component lifecycle.

class AnotherComponent < Hyperloop::Component
  render do
    Component() # ruby syntax requires either () or {} following the class name
  end
end

Note that you should never redefine the new or initialize methods, or call them directly. The equivalent of initialize is the before_mount callback.

Macros (Class Methods)

Macros specify class wide behaviors.

class MyComponent < Hyperloop::Component
  param ...
  before_mount ...
  after_mount ...
  before_unmount ...
  render ...
end

The param macro describes the parameters the component expects.

The before_mount macro defines code to be run (a callback) when a component instance is first initialized.

The after_mount macro likewise runs after the instance has completed initialization, and is visible in the DOM.

The before_unmount macro provides any cleanup actions before the instance is destroyed.

The render macro defines the render method.

The available macros are: render, param, state, mutate, before_mount, after_mount, before_receive_props, before_update, after_update, before_unmount

Data Accessor Methods

The four data accessor methods - params, state, mutate, and children are instance methods that give access to a component's React specific instance data.

Params

The params method gives read-only access to each of the scalar params passed to the Component.

class WelcomeUser < Hyperloop::Component
  param: id

  render(DIV) do
    user = User.find(params.id) # user is mutable
    user.name = "Unknown" unless user.name
    SayHello(name: user.name)
    ...
  end
end

class SayHello < Hyperloop::Component
  param :name, type: String # params.name is immutable and will validate as a String

  render do
    H1 { "Hello #{params.name}" } # notice how you access name through parans
  end

A core design concept taken from React is that data flows down to child Components via params and params (called props in React) are immutable.

In Hyperloop, there are two exceptions to this rule:

  • An instance of a Store (passed as a param) is mutable and changes to the state of the Store will cause a re-render
  • An instance of a Model (which is a type of Store) will also case a re-render when changed

In the example below, clicking on the button will cause the Component to re-render (even though book is a param) because book is a Model. If book were not a Model then the Component would not re-render.

class Likes < Hyperloop::Component
  param :book # book is an instance of the Book model

  render(DIV) do
    P { "#{params.book.likes.count} likes" }
    BUTTON { "Like" }.on(:click) { params.book.likes += 1}
  end
end

Note: Non-scalar params (objects) which are mutable through their methods are not read only. Care should be taken here as changes made to these objects will not cause a re-render of the Component. Specifically, if you pass a non-scalar param into a Component, and modify the internal data of that param, Hyperloop will not be notified to re-render the Component (as it does not know about the internal structure of your object). To achieve a re-render in this circumstance you will need to ensure that the parts of your object which are mutable are declared as state in a higher-order parent Component so that data can flow down from the parent to the child as per the React pattern.

State

In React (and Hyperloop) state is mutable. Changes to state variables cause Components to re-render and where state is passed into a child Component as a param, it will cause a re-rendering of that child Component. Change flows from a parent to a child - change does not flow upward and this is why params are not mutable.

State variables are (optionally) initialized and accessed through the state method.

class Counter < Hyperloop::Component
  state count: 0 # optional initialization

  render(DIV) do
    BUTTON { "+" }.on(:click) { mutate.count(state.count + 1) }
    P { state.count.to_s } # note how we access the count variable
  end
end  

See Using State for more information on State.

Mutate

The mutate method initializes (or updates) a reactive state variable. State variables are like reactive instance variables. They can only be changed using the mutate method, and when they change they will cause a re-render.

before_mount do
  mutate.game_over false
end

More on the details of these methods can be found in the Component API section.

Tag and Component Rendering

  ...
    DIV(class: :time) do
      ...
    end
  ...

Note on coding style: In the Hyperloop documentation and tutorials we use uppercase HTML elements like DIV and BUTTON as we believe this makes for greater readability in the code; specifically with code highlighting. If you do not like this you can use lowercase div and button instead.

HTML such as DIV, A, SELECT, OPTION etc. each have a corresponding instance method that will render that tag. For all the tags the method call looks like this:

tag_name(attribute1 => value1, attribute2 => value2 ...) do
  ...nested tags...
end

Each key-value pair in the parameter block is passed down as an attribute to the tag as you would expect, with the exception of the style attribute, which takes a hash that is translated to the corresponding style string.

The same rules apply for application defined components, except that the class constant is used to reference the component.

Clock(mode: 12)

Using Strings

Strings are treated specially as follows:

If a render method or a nested tag block returns a string, the string is automatically wrapped in a <span> tag.

The code SPAN { "hello" } can be shortened to "hello".SPAN, likewise for BR, PARA, TD, TH tags.

"some string".BR generates <span>some string<span><br/>

Time.now.strftime(FORMATS[state.mode]).SPAN  # generates <span>...current time formatted...</span>
...
  OPTION(value: 12) { "12 Hour Clock" }      # generates <option value=12><span>12 Hour Clock</span></option>

Event Handlers

Event Handlers are attached to tags and components using the on method.

SELECT ... do
  ...
end.on(:change) do |e|
  mutate.mode(e.target.value.to_i)
end

The on method takes the event name symbol (note that onClick becomes :click) and the block is passed the React.js event object.

Event handlers can be chained like so

INPUT ... do
  ...
  end.on(:key_up) do |e|
  ...
  end.on(:change) do |e|
  ...
end

Miscellaneous Methods

force_update! is a component instance method that causes the component to re-rerender. This method is seldom (if ever) needed.

as_node can be attached to a component or tag, and removes the element from the rendering buffer and returns it. This is useful when you need store an element in some data structure, or passing to a native JS component. When passing an element to another Hyperloop Component .as_node will be automatically applied so you normally don't need it.

render can be applied to the objects returned by as_node and children to actually render the node.

class Test < Hyperloop::Component
  param :node

  render do
    DIV do
      children.each do |child|
        params.node.render
        child.render
      end
      params.node.render
    end
  end
end

Ruby and Hyperloop

A key design goal of the DSL is to make it work seamlessly with the rest of Ruby. Notice in the above example, the use of constant declaration (FORMATS), regular instance variables (@timer), and other non-react methods like every (an Opal Browser method).

Component classes can be organized like any other class into a logical module hierarchy or even subclassed.

Likewise the render method can invoke other methods to compute values or even internally build tags.

DSL Gotchas

There are few gotchas with the DSL you should be aware of:

React has implemented a browser-independent events and DOM system for performance and cross-browser compatibility reasons. We took the opportunity to clean up a few rough edges in browser DOM implementations.

  • All DOM properties and attributes (including event handlers) should be snake_cased to be consistent with standard Ruby style. We intentionally break with the spec here since the spec is inconsistent. However, data-* and aria-* attributes conform to the specs and should be lower-cased only.
  • The style attribute accepts a Hash with camelCased properties rather than a CSS string. This is more efficient, and prevents XSS security holes.
  • All event objects conform to the W3C spec, and all events (including submit) bubble correctly per the W3C spec. See Event System for more details.
  • The onChange event (on(:change)) behaves as you would expect it to: whenever a form field is changed this event is fired rather than inconsistently on blur. We intentionally break from existing browser behavior because onChange is a misnomer for its behavior and React relies on this event to react to user input in real time.
  • Form input attributes such as value and checked, as well as textarea.

HTML Entities

If you want to display an HTML entity within dynamic content, you will run into double escaping issues as React.js escapes all the strings you are displaying in order to prevent a wide range of XSS attacks by default.

DIV {'First &middot; Second' }
  # Bad: It displays "First &middot; Second"

To workaround this you have to insert raw HTML.

DIV(dangerously_set_inner_HTML: { __html: "First &middot; Second"})

Custom HTML Attributes

If you pass properties to native HTML elements that do not exist in the HTML specification, React will not render them. If you want to use a custom attribute, you should prefix it with data-.

DIV("data-custom-attribute" => "foo")

Web Accessibility attributes starting with aria- will be rendered properly.

DIV("aria-hidden" => true)

Invoking Application Components

When invoking a custom component you must have a (possibly empty) parameter list or (possibly empty) block. This is not necessary with standard html tags.

MyCustomComponent()  # okay
MyCustomComponent {} # okay
MyCustomComponent    # breaks
br                   # okay

Components and State

Using State

A Simple Example

class LikeButton < Hyperloop::Component

  render(DIV) do
    P do
      "You #{state.liked ? 'like' : 'haven\'t liked'} this. Click to toggle."
    end.on(:click) do
      mutate.liked !state.liked
    end
  end
end

Components are Just State Machines

React thinks of UIs as simple state machines. By thinking of a UI as being in various states and rendering those states, it's easy to keep your UI consistent.

In React, you simply update a component's state, and then the new UI will be rendered on this new state. React takes care of updating the DOM for you in the most efficient way.

How State Works

To change a state variable you use mutate.state_variable and pass the new value. For example mutate.liked(!state.like) gets the current value of like, toggles it, and then updates it. This in turn causes the component to be rerendered. For more details on how this works, and the full syntax of the update method see the component API reference

What Components Should Have State?

Most of your components should simply take some params and render based on their value. However, sometimes you need to respond to user input, a server request or the passage of time. For this you use state.

Try to keep as many of your components as possible stateless. By doing this you'll isolate the state to its most logical place and minimize redundancy, making it easier to reason about your application.

A common pattern is to create several stateless components that just render data, and have a stateful component above them in the hierarchy that passes its state to its children via params. The stateful component encapsulates all of the interaction logic, while the stateless components take care of rendering data in a declarative way.

What Should Go in State?

State should contain data that a component's event handlers, timers, or http requests may change and trigger a UI update.

When building a stateful component, think about the minimal possible representation of its state, and only store those properties in state. Add to your class methods to compute higher level values from your state variables. Avoid adding redundant or computed values as state variables as these values must then be kept in sync whenever state changes.

What Shouldn't Go in State?

state should only contain the minimal amount of data needed to represent your UI's state. As such, it should not contain:

  • Computed data: Don't worry about precomputing values based on state — it's easier to ensure that your UI is consistent if you do all computation during rendering. For example, if you have an array of list items in state and you want to render the count as a string, simply render "#{state.list_items.length} list items' in your render method rather than storing the count as another state.
  • Data that does not effect rendering: For example handles on timers, that need to be cleaned up when a component unmounts should go in plain old instance variables.

Multiple Components

So far, we've looked at how to write a single component to display data and handle user input. Next let's examine one of React's finest features: composability.

Motivation: Separation of Concerns

By building modular components that reuse other components with well-defined interfaces, you get much of the same benefits that you get by using functions or classes. Specifically you can separate the different concerns of your app however you please simply by building new components. By building a custom component library for your application, you are expressing your UI in a way that best fits your domain.

Composition Example

Let's create a simple Avatar component which shows a profile picture and username using the Facebook Graph API.

class Avatar < Hyperloop::Component
  param :user_name
  render(DIV) do
    ProfilePic  user_name: params.user_name
    ProfileLink user_name: params.user_name
  end
end

class ProfilePic < Hyperloop::Component
  param :user_name
  render do
    IMG src: "https://graph.facebook.com/#{params.user_name}/picture"
  end
end

class ProfileLink < Hyperloop::Component
  param :user_name
  render do
    A href: "https://www.facebook.com/#{params.user_name}" do
      params.user_name
    end
  end
end

Ownership

In the above example, instances of Avatar own instances of ProfilePic and ProfileLink. In React, an owner is the component that sets the params of other components. More formally, if a component X is created in component Y's render method, it is said that X is owned by Y. As discussed earlier, a component cannot mutate its params — they are always consistent with what its owner sets them to. This fundamental invariant leads to UIs that are guaranteed to be consistent.

It's important to draw a distinction between the owner-ownee relationship and the parent-child relationship. The owner-ownee relationship is specific to React, while the parent-child relationship is simply the one you know and love from the DOM. In the example above, Avatar owns the div, ProfilePic and ProfileLink instances, and div is the parent (but not owner) of the ProfilePic and ProfileLink instances.

Children

When you create a React component instance, you can include additional React components or JavaScript expressions between the opening and closing tags like this:

Parent { Child() }

Parent can iterate over its children by accessing its children method.

Child Reconciliation

Reconciliation is the process by which React updates the DOM with each new render pass. In general, children are reconciled according to the order in which they are rendered. For example, suppose we have the following render method displaying a list of items. On each pass the items will be completely rerendered:

render do
  params.items.each do |item|
    para do
      item[:text]
    end
  end
end

What if the first time items was [{text: "foo"}, {text: "bar"}], and the second time items was [{text: "bar"}]? Intuitively, the paragraph <p>foo</p> was removed. Instead, React will reconcile the DOM by changing the text content of the first child and destroying the last child. React reconciles according to the order of the children.

Stateful Children

For most components, this is not a big deal. However, for stateful components that maintain data in state across render passes, this can be very problematic.

In most cases, this can be sidestepped by hiding elements based on some property change:

render do
  state.items.each do |item|
    PARA(style: {display: item[:some_property] == "some state" ? :block : :none}) do
      item[:text]
    end
  end
end

Dynamic Children

The situation gets more complicated when the children are shuffled around (as in search results) or if new components are added onto the front of the list (as in streams). In these cases where the identity and state of each child must be maintained across render passes, you can uniquely identify each child by assigning it a key:

  param :results, type: [Hash] # each result is a hash of the form {id: ..., text: ....}
  render do
    OL do
      params.results.each do |result|
        LI(key: result[:id]) { result[:text] }
      end
    end
  end

When React reconciles the keyed children, it will ensure that any child with key will be reordered (instead of clobbered) or destroyed (instead of reused).

The key should always be supplied directly to the components in the array, not to the container HTML child of each component in the array:

# WRONG!
class ListItemWrapper < Hyperloop::Component
  param :data
  render do
    LI(key: params.data[:id]) { params.data[:text] }
  end
end    
class MyComponent < Hyperloop::Component
  param :results
  render do
    UL do
      params.result.each do |result|
        ListItemWrapper data: result
      end
    end
  end
end
# CORRECT
class ListItemWrapper < Hyperloop::Component
  param :data
  render do
    LI { params.data[:text] }
  end
end
class MyComponent < Hyperloop::Component
  param :results
  render do
    UL do
      params.result.each do |result|
        ListItemWrapper key: result[:id], data: result
      end
    end
  end
end

Data Flow

In React, data flows from owner to owned component through the params as discussed above. This is effectively one-way data binding: owners bind their owned component's param to some value the owner has computed based on its params or state. Since this process happens recursively, data changes are automatically reflected everywhere they are used.

Stores

Managing state between components is best done using Stores as many Components can access one store. This saves passing data btween Components. Please see the Store documentation for details.

Reusable Components

When designing interfaces, break down the common design elements (buttons, form fields, layout components, etc.) into reusable components with well-defined interfaces. That way, the next time you need to build some UI, you can write much less code. This means faster development time, fewer bugs, and fewer bytes down the wire.

Param Validation

As your app grows it's helpful to ensure that your components are used correctly. We do this by allowing you to specify the expected ruby class of your parameters. When an invalid value is provided for a param, a warning will be shown in the JavaScript console. Note that for performance reasons type checking is only done in development mode. Here is an example showing typical type specifications:

class ManyParams < Hyperloop::Component
  param :an_array,         type: [] # or type: Array
  param :a_string,         type: String
  param :array_of_strings, type: [String]
  param :a_hash,           type: Hash
  param :some_class,       type: SomeClass # works with any class
  param :a_string_or_nil,  type: String, allow_nil: true
end

Note that if the param can be nil, add allow_nil: true to the specification.

Default Param Values

React lets you define default values for your params:

class ManyParams < Hyperloop::Component
  param :an_optional_param, default: "hello", type: String, allow_nil: true

If no value is provided for :an_optional_param it will be given the value "hello"

Params of type Proc

A Ruby Proc can be passed to a component like any other object. The param macro treats params declared as type Proc specially, and will automatically call the proc when the param name is used on the params method.

param :all_done, type: Proc
...
  # typically in an event handler
params.all_done(data) # instead of params.all_done.call(data)

Proc params can be optional, using the default: nil and allow_nil: true options. Invoking a nil proc param will do nothing. This is handy for allowing optional callbacks.

Other Params

A common type of React component is one that extends a basic HTML element in a simple way. Often you'll want to copy any HTML attributes passed to your component to the underlying HTML element.

To do this use the collect_other_params_as macro which will gather all the params you did not declare into a hash. Then you can pass this hash on to the child component

class CheckLink < Hyperloop::Component
  collect_other_params_as :attributes
  render do
    # we just pass along any incoming attributes
    a(attributes) { '√ '.span; children.each &:render }
  end
end
# CheckLink(href: "/checked.html")

Note: collect_other_params_as builds a hash, so you can merge other data in or even delete elements out as needed.

Mixins and Inheritance

Ruby has a rich set of mechanisms enabling code reuse, and Hyperloop is intended to be a team player in your Ruby application. Components can be subclassed, and they can include (or mixin) other modules. You can also create a component by including Hyperloop::Component::Mixin which allows a class to inherit from some other non-react class, and then mixin the React DSL.

  # make a SuperFoo react component class
  class Foo < SuperFoo
    include Hyperloop::Component::Mixin
  end

One common use case is a component wanting to update itself on a time interval. It's easy to use the kernel method every, but it's important to cancel your interval when you don't need it anymore to save memory. React provides lifecycle methods that let you know when a component is about to be created or destroyed. Let's create a simple mixin that uses these methods to provide a React friendly every function that will automatically get cleaned up when your component is destroyed.

module ReactInterval

  def self.included(base)
    base.before_mount do
      @intervals = []
    end

    base.before_unmount do
      @intervals.each(&:stop)
    end
  end

  def every(seconds, &block)
    Kernel.every(seconds, &block).tap { |i| @intervals << i }
  end
end

class TickTock < Hyperloop::Component
  include ReactInterval

  before_mount do
    state.seconds! 0
  end

  after_mount do
    every(1) { mutate.seconds state.seconds+1}
  end

  render(DIV) do
    "Hyperloop has been running for #{state.seconds} seconds".para
  end
end

Notice that TickTock effectively has two before_mount callbacks, one that is called to initialize the @intervals array and another to initialize state.seconds

Lifecycle Callbacks

A component may define callbacks for each phase of the components lifecycle:

  • before_mount
  • render
  • after_mount
  • before_receive_props
  • before_update
  • after_update
  • before_unmount

All the callback macros may take a block or the name of an instance method to be called.

class AComponent < Hyperloop::Component
  before_mount do
    # initialize stuff here
  end
  before_unmount :cleanup  # call the cleanup method before unmounting
  ...
end

Except for the render callback, multiple callbacks may be defined for each lifecycle phase, and will be executed in the order defined, and from most deeply nested subclass outwards.

Details on the component lifecycle is described here

The param macro

Within a React Component the param macro is used to define the parameter signature of the component. You can think of params as the values that would normally be sent to the instance's initialize method, but with the difference that a React Component gets new parameters when it is rerendered.

The param macro has the following syntax:

param symbol, ...options... # or
param symbol => default_value, ...options...

Available options are :default_value => ...any value... and :type => ...class_spec... where class_spec is either a class name, or [] (shorthand for Array), or [ClassName] (meaning array of ClassName.)

Note that the default value can be specied either as the hash value of the symbol, or explicitly using the :default_value key.

Examples:

param :foo # declares that we must be provided with a parameter foo when the component is instantiated or re-rerendered.
param :foo => "some default"        # declares that foo is optional, and if not present the value "some default" will be used.
param foo: "some default"           # same as above using ruby 1.9 JSON style syntax
param :foo, default: "some default" # same as above but uses explicit default key
param :foo, type: String            # foo is required and must be of type String
param :foo, type: [String]          # foo is required and must be an array of Strings
param foo: [], type: [String]       # foo must be an array of strings, and has a default value of the empty array.

Accessing param values

The component instance method params gives access to all declared params. So for example

class Hello < Hyperloop::Component
  param visitor: "World", type: String

  render do
    "Hello #{params.visitor}"
  end
end

Params of type Proc

A param of type proc (i.e. param :update, type: Proc) gets special treatment that will directly call the proc when the param is accessed.

class Alarm < Hyperloop::Component
  param :at, type: Time
  param :notify, type: Proc

  after_mount do
    @clock = every(1) do
      if Time.now > params.at
        params.notify
        @clock.stop
      end
      force_update!
    end
  end

  render do
    "#{Time.now}"
  end
end

If for whatever reason you need to get the actual proc instead of calling it use params.method(*symbol name of method*)

The state instance method

React state variables are reactive component instance variables that cause rerendering when they change.

State variables are accessed via the state instance method which works like the params method. Like normal instance variables, state variables are created when they are first accessed, so there is no explicit declaration.

To access the value of a state variable foo you would say state.foo.

To initialize or update a state variable you use mutate. followed by its name. For example mutate.foo [] would initialize foo to an empty array. Unlike the assignment operator, the mutate method returns the current value (before it is changed.)

Often state variables have complex values with their own internal state, an array for example. The problem is as you push new values onto the array you are not changing the object pointed to by the state variable, but its internal state.

To handle this use the same mutate prefix with no parameter, and then apply any update methods to the resulting value. The underlying value will be updated, and the underlying system will be notified that a state change has occurred.

For example:

  mutate.foo []    # initialize foo (returns nil)
    #...later...
  mutate.foo << 12  # push 12 onto foo's array
    #...or...
  mutate.foo {}
  mutate.foo[:house => :boat]

The rule is simple: anytime you are updating a state variable use mutate.

Tell Me How That Works???

A state variables mutate method can optionally accept one parameter. If a parameter is passed, then the method will 1) save the current value, 2) update the value to the passed parameter, 3) update the underlying react.js state object, 4) return the saved value.

The force_update! method

The force_update! instance method causes the component to re-render. Usually this is not necessary as rendering will occur when state variables change, or new params are passed. For a good example of using force_update! see the Alarm component above. In this case there is no reason to have a state track of the time separately, so we just call force_update! every second.

The dom_node method

Returns the domnode that this component instance is mounted to. Typically used in the `aftermount` callback to setup linkages to external libraries.

The children method

Along with params components may be passed a block which is used to build the components children.

The instance method children returns an enumerable that is used to access the unrendered children of a component.

class IndentEachLine < Hyperloop::Component
  param by: 20, type: Integer

  render(DIV) do
    children.each_with_index do |child, i|
      child.render(style: {"margin-left" => params.by*i})
    end
  end
end

class Indenter < Hyperloop::Component
  render(DIV) do
    IndentEachLine(by: 100) do
      DIV {"Line 1"}
      DIV {"Line 2"}
      DIV {"Line 3"}
    end
  end
end

Lifecycle Methods

A component class may define callbacks for specific points in a component's lifecycle.

Rendering

The lifecycle revolves around rendering the component. As the state or parameters of a component changes, its render method will be called to generate the new HTML. The rest of the callbacks hook into the lifecycle before or after rendering.

For reasons described below Hyperloop provides a render callback to simplify defining the render method:

render do ....
end

The render callback will generate the components render method. It may optionally take the container component and params:

render(:DIV, class: 'my-class') do
  ...
end

which would be equivilent to:

render do
  DIV(class: 'my-class') do
    ...
  end
end

The purpose of the render callback is syntactic. Many components consist of a static outer container with possibly some parameters, and most component's render method by necessity will be longer than the normal 10 line ruby style guideline. The render call back solves both these problems by allowing the outer container to be specified as part of the callback parameter (which reads very nicely) and because the render code is now specified as a block you avoid the 10 line limitation, while encouraging the rest of your methods to adhere to normal ruby style guides

Before Mounting (first render)

before_mount do ...
end

Invoked once when the component is first instantiated, immediately before the initial rendering occurs. This is where state variables should be initialized.

This is the only life cycle method that is called during render_to_string used in server side pre-rendering.

After Mounting (first render)

after_mount do ...
end

Invoked once, only on the client (not on the server), immediately after the initial rendering occurs. At this point in the lifecycle, you can access any refs to your children (e.g., to access the underlying DOM representation). The after_mount callbacks of children components are invoked before that of parent components.

If you want to integrate with other JavaScript frameworks, set timers using the after or every methods, or send AJAX requests, perform those operations in this method. Attempting to perform such operations in before_mount will cause errors during prerendering because none of these operations are available in the server environment.

Before Receiving New Params

before_receive_props do |new_params_hash| ...
end

Invoked when a component is receiving new params (React.js props). This method is not called for the initial render.

Use this as an opportunity to react to a prop transition before render is called by updating any instance or state variables. The new_props block parameter contains a hash of the new values.

before_receive_props do |next_props|
  state.likes_increasing! (next_props[:like_count] > params.like_count)
end

Note:

There is no analogous method before_receive_state. An incoming param may cause a state change, but the opposite is not true. If you need to perform operations in response to a state change, use before_update.

Controlling Updates

Normally Hyperloop will only update a component if some state variable or param has changed. To override this behavior you can redefine the should_component_update? instance method. For example, assume that we have a state called funky that for whatever reason, we cannot update using the normal state.funky! update method. So what we can do is override should_component_update? call super, and then double check if the funky has changed by doing an explicit comparison.

class RerenderMore < Hyperloop::Component
  def should_component_update?(new_params_hash, new_state_hash)
    super || new_state_hash[:funky] != state.funky
  end
end

Why would this happen? Most likely there is integration between new Hyperloop Components and other data structures being maintained outside of Hyperloop, and so we have to do some explicit comparisons to detect the state change.

Note that should_component_update? is not called for the initial render or when force_update! is used.

Note to react.js readers. Essentially Hyperloop assumes components are "well behaved" in the sense that all state changes will be explicitly declared using the state update ("!") method when changing state. This gives similar behavior to a "pure" component without the possible performance penalties. To achieve the standard react.js behavior add this line to your class def should_component_update?; true; end

Before Updating (re-rendering)

before_update do ...
end

Invoked immediately before rendering when new params or state are bein#g received.

After Updating (re-rendering)

after_update do ...
end

Invoked immediately after the component's updates are flushed to the DOM. This method is not called for the initial render.

Use this as an opportunity to operate on the DOM when the component has been updated.

Unmounting

before_unmount do ...
end

Invoked immediately before a component is unmounted from the DOM.

Perform any necessary cleanup in this method, such as invalidating timers or cleaning up any DOM elements that were created in the after_mount callback.

Event Handlers

Event Handling and Synthetic Events

With React you attach event handlers to elements using the on method. React ensures that all events behave identically in IE8 and above by implementing a synthetic event system. That is, React knows how to bubble and capture events according to the spec, and the events passed to your event handler are guaranteed to be consistent with the W3C spec, regardless of which browser you're using.

Under the Hood: Event Delegation

React doesn't actually attach event handlers to the nodes themselves. When React starts up, it starts listening for all events at the top level using a single event listener. When a component is mounted or unmounted, the event handlers are simply added or removed from an internal mapping. When an event occurs, React knows how to dispatch it using this mapping. When there are no event handlers left in the mapping, React's event handlers are simple no-ops. To learn more about why this is fast, see David Walsh's excellent blog post.

React::Event

Your event handlers will be passed instances of React::Event, a wrapper around react.js's SyntheticEvent which in turn is a cross browser wrapper around the browser's native event. It has the same interface as the browser's native event, including stopPropagation() and preventDefault(), except the events work identically across all browsers.

For example:

class YouSaid < Hyperloop::Component

  render(DIV) do
    INPUT(value: state.value).
    on(:key_down) do |e|
      alert "You said: #{state.value}" if e.key_code == 13
    end.
    on(:change) do |e|
      mutate.value e.target.value
    end
  end
end

If you find that you need the underlying browser event for some reason use the native_event.

In the following responses shown as (native ...) indicate the value returned is a native object with an Opal wrapper. In some cases there will be opal methods available (i.e. for native DOMNode values) and in other cases you will have to convert to the native value with .to_n and then use javascript directly.

Every React::Event has the following methods:

bubbles                -> Boolean
cancelable             -> Boolean
current_target         -> (native DOM node)
default_prevented      -> Boolean
event_phase            -> Integer
is_trusted             -> Boolean
native_event           -> (native Event)
prevent_default        -> Proc
is_default_prevented   -> Boolean
stop_propagation       -> Proc
is_propagation_stopped -> Boolean
target                 -> (native DOMEventTarget)
timestamp              -> Integer (use Time.at to convert to Time)
type                   -> String

Event pooling

The underlying React SyntheticEvent is pooled. This means that the SyntheticEvent object will be reused and all properties will be nullified after the event callback has been invoked. This is for performance reasons. As such, you cannot access the event in an asynchronous way.

Supported Events

React normalizes events so that they have consistent properties across different browsers.

Clipboard Events

Event names:

:copy, :cut, :paste

Available Methods:

clipboard_data -> (native DOMDataTransfer)

Composition Events (not tested)

Event names:

:composition_end, :composition_start, :composition_update

Available Methods:

data -> String

Keyboard Events

Event names:

:key_down, :key_press, :key_up

Available Methods:

alt_key                 -> Boolean
char_code               -> Integer
ctrl_key                -> Boolean
get_modifier_state(key) -> Boolean (i.e. get_modifier_key(:Shift)
key                     -> String
key_code                -> Integer
locale                  -> String
location                -> Integer
meta_key                -> Boolean
repeat                  -> Boolean
shift_key               -> Boolean
which                   -> Integer

Focus Events

Event names:

:focus, :blur

Available Methods:

related_target -> (Native DOMEventTarget)

These focus events work on all elements in the React DOM, not just form elements.

Form Events

Event names:

:change, :input, :submit

Mouse Events

Event names:

:click, :context_menu, :double_click, :drag, :drag_end, :drag_enter, :drag_exit
:drag_leave, :drag_over, :drag_start, :drop, :mouse_down, :mouse_enter,
:mouse_leave, :mouse_move, :mouse_out, :mouse_over, :mouse_up

The :mouse_enter and :mouse_leave events propagate from the element being left to the one being entered instead of ordinary bubbling and do not have a capture phase.

Available Methods:

alt_key                 -> Boolean
button                  -> Integer
buttons                 -> Integer
client_x                -> Integer
number client_y         -> Integer
ctrl_key                -> Boolean
get_modifier_state(key) -> Boolean
meta_key                -> Boolean
page_x                  -> Integer
page_y                  -> Integer
related_target          -> (Native DOMEventTarget)
screen_x                -> Integer
screen_y                -> Integer
shift_key               -> Boolean

Drag and Drop example

Here is a Hyperloop version of this w3schools.com example:

DIV(id: "div1", style: {width: 350, height: 70, padding: 10, border: '1px solid #aaaaaa'})
  .on(:drop) do |ev|
    ev.prevent_default
    data = `#{ev.native_event}.native.dataTransfer.getData("text")`
    `#{ev.target}.native.appendChild(document.getElementById(data))`
  end
  .on(:drag_over) { |ev| ev.prevent_default }

IMG(id: "drag1", src: "https://www.w3schools.com/html/img_logo.gif", draggable: "true", width: 336, height: 69)
  .on(:drag_start) do |ev|
    `#{ev.native_event}.native.dataTransfer.setData("text", #{ev.target}.native.id)`
  end

Selection events

Event names:

onSelect

Touch events

Event names:

:touch_cancel, :touch_end, :touch_move, :touch_start

Available Methods:

alt_key                 -> Boolean
changed_touches         -> (Native DOMTouchList)
ctrl_key                -> Boolean
get_modifier_state(key) -> Boolean
meta_key                -> Boolean
shift_key               -> Boolean
target_touches          -> (Native DOMTouchList)
touches                 -> (Native DomTouchList)

UI Events

Event names:

:scroll

Available Methods:

detail -> Integer
view   -> (Native DOMAbstractView)

Wheel Events

Event names:

wheel

Available Methods:

delta_mode -> Integer
delta_x    -> Integer
delta_y    -> Integer
delta_z    -> Integer

Media Events

Event names:

:abort, :can_play, :can_play_through, :duration_change,:emptied, :encrypted, :ended, :error, :loaded_data,
:loaded_metadata, :load_start, :pause, :play, :playing, :progress, :rate_change, :seeked, :seeking, :stalled,
:on_suspend, :time_update, :volume_change, :waiting

Image Events

Event names:

:load, :error

Elements and Rendering

React.create_element

A React Element is a component class, a set of parameters, and a group of children. When an element is rendered the parameters and used to initialize a new instance of the component.

React.create_element creates a new element. It takes either the component class, or a string (representing a built in tag such as div, or span), the parameters (properties) to be passed to the element, and optionally a block that will be evaluated to build the enclosed children elements

React.create_element("div", prop1: "foo", prop2: 12) { para { "hello" }; para { "goodby" } )
  # when rendered will generates <div prop1="foo" prop2="12"><p>hello</p><p>goodby</p></div>

You almost never need to directly call create_element, the DSL, Rails, and jQuery interfaces take care of this for you.

# dsl - creates element and pushes it into the rendering buffer
MyComponent(...params...) { ...optional children... }

# dsl - component will NOT be placed in the rendering buffer
MyComponent(...params...) { ... }.as_node

# in a rails controller - renders component as the view
render_component("MyComponent", ...params...)

# in a rails view helper - renders component into the view (like a partial)
react_component("MyComponent", ...)

# from jQuery (Note Element is the Opal jQuery wrapper, not be confused with React::Element)
Element['#container'].render { MyComponent(...params...) { ...optional children... } }  

React.is_valid_element?

is_valid_element?(object)

Verifies object is a valid react element. Note that React::Element wraps the React.js native class, React.is_valid_element? returns true for both classes unlike object.is_a? React::Element

React.render

React.render(element, container) { puts "element rendered" }

Render an element into the DOM in the supplied container and return a reference to the component.

The container can either be a DOM node or a jQuery selector (i.e. Element['#container']) in which case the first element is the container.

If the element was previously rendered into container, this will perform an update on it and only mutate the DOM as necessary to reflect the latest React component.

If the optional block is provided, it will be executed after the component is rendered or updated.

Note:

React.render() controls the contents of the container node you pass in. Any existing DOM elements inside are replaced when first called. Later calls use React’s DOM diffing algorithm for efficient updates.

React.render() does not modify the container node (only modifies the children of the container). In the future, it may be possible to insert a component to an existing DOM node without overwriting the existing children.

React.unmount_component_at_node

React.unmount_component_at_node(container)

Remove a mounted React component from the DOM and clean up its event handlers and state. If no component was mounted in the container, calling this function does nothing. Returns true if a component was unmounted and false if there was no component to unmount.

React.render_to_string

React.render_to_string(element)

Render an element to its initial HTML. This is should only be used on the server for prerendering content. React will return a string containing the HTML. You can use this method to generate HTML on the server and send the markup down on the initial request for faster page loads and to allow search engines to crawl your pages for SEO purposes.

If you call React.render on a node that already has this server-rendered markup, React will preserve it and only attach event handlers, allowing you to have a very performant first-load experience.

If you are using rails, then the prerendering functions are automatically performed. Otherwise you can use render_to_string to build your own prerendering system.

React.render_to_static_markup

React.render_to_static_markup(element)

Similar to render_to_string, except this doesn't create extra DOM attributes such as data-react-id, that React uses internally. This is useful if you want to use React as a simple static page generator, as stripping away the extra attributes can save lots of bytes.

Using Javascript Components

While it is quite possible to develop large applications purely in Hyperloop Components with a ruby back end like rails, you may eventually find you want to use some pre-existing React Javascript library. Or you may be working with an existing React-JS application, and want to just start adding some Hyperloop Components.

Either way you are going to need to import Javascript components into the Hyperloop namespace. Hyperloop provides both manual and automatic mechanisms to do this depending on the level of control you need.

Importing Components

Lets say you have an existing React Component written in javascript that you would like to access from Hyperloop.

Here is a simple hello world component:

window.SayHello = React.createClass({
  displayName: "SayHello",
  render: function render() {
    return React.createElement("div", null, "Hello ", this.props.name);
  }
})

Assuming that this component is loaded some place in your assets, you can then access this from Hyperloop by creating a wrapper Component:

class SayHello < Hyperloop::Component
  imports 'SayHello'
end

class MyBigApp < Hyperloop::Component
  render(DIV) do
    # SayHello will now act like any other Hyperloop component
    SayHello name: 'Matz'
  end
end

The imports directive takes a string (or a symbol) and will simply evaluate it and check to make sure that the value looks like a React component, and then set the underlying native component to point to the imported component.

Importing Libraries

Many React components come in libraries. The ReactBootstrap library is one example. You can import the whole library at once using the React::NativeLibrary class. Assuming that you have initialized ReactBootstrap elsewhere, this is how you would bring it into Hyperloop.

class RBS < React::NativeLibrary
  imports 'ReactBootstrap'
end

We can now access our bootstrap components as components defined within the RBS scope:

class Show < Hyperloop::Component

  def say_hello(i)
    alert "Hello from number #{i}"
  end

  render RBS::Navbar, bsStyle: :inverse do
    RBS::Nav() do
      RBS::NavbarBrand() do
        A(href: '#') { 'Hyperloop Showcase' }
      end
      RBS::NavDropdown(eventKey: 1, title: 'Things', id: :drop_down) do
        (1..5).each do |n|
          RBS::MenuItem(href: '#', key: n, eventKey: "1.#{n}") do
            "Number #{n}"
          end.on(:click) { say_hello(n) }
        end
      end
    end
  end
end

Besides the imports directive, React::NativeLibrary also provides a rename directive that takes pairs in the form oldname => newname. For example:

  rename 'NavDropdown' => 'NavDD', 'Navbar' => 'NavBar', 'NavbarBrand' => 'NavBarBrand'

React::NativeLibrary will import components that may be deeply nested in the library. For example consider a component was defined as MyLibrary.MySubLibrary.MyComponent:

class MyLib < React::NativeLibrary
  imports 'MyLibrary'
end

class App < React::NativeLibrary
  render do  
    ...
    MyLib::MySubLibrary::MyComponent ...
    ...
  end
end

Note that the rename directive can be used to rename both components and sublibraries, giving you full control over the ruby names of the components and libraries.

Auto Import

If you use a lot of libraries and are using a Javascript tool chain with Webpack, having to import the libraries in both Hyperloop and Webpack is redundant and just hard work.

Instead you can opt-in for auto importing Javascript components into Hyperloop as you need them. Simply require hyper-react/auto-import immediately after you require hyper-react.

Now you do not have to use component imports directive or React::NativeLibrary unless you need to rename a component.

In Ruby all module and class names normally begin with an uppercase letter. However in Javascript this is not always the case, so the auto import will first try the Javascript name that exactly matches the Ruby name, and if that fails it will try the same name with the first character downcased. For example

MyComponent will first try MyComponent in the Javascript name space, then myComponent.

Likewise MyLib::MyComponent would match any of the following in the Javascript namespace: MyLib.MyComponent, myLib.MyComponent, MyLib.myComponent, myLib.myComponent

How it works: The first time Ruby hits a native library or component name, the constant value will not be defined. This will trigger a lookup in the javascript name space for the matching component or library name. This will generate either a new subclass of Hyperloop::Component or React::NativeLibrary that imports the javascript object, and no further lookups will be needed.

Including React Source

If you are in the business of importing components with a tool like Webpack, then you will need to let Webpack (or whatever dependency manager you are using) take care of including the React source code. Just make sure that you are not including it on the ruby side of things. Hyperloop is currently tested with React versions 13, 14, and 15, so its not sensitive to the version you use.

However it gets a little tricky if you are using the react-rails gem. Each version of this gem depends on a specific version of React, and so you will need to manually declare this dependency in your Javascript dependency manager. Consult this table to determine which version of React you need. For example assuming you are using npm to install modules and you are using version 1.7.2 of react-rails you would say something like this:

npm install react@15.6.2 react-dom@15.6.2 --save

See { NPM and Webpack Tutorial } or { Webpacker GEM Tutorial } for more information.

Using Webpack

Just a word on Webpack: If you a Ruby developer who is new to using Javascript libraries then we recommend using Webpack to manage javascript component dependencies. Webpack is essentially bundler for Javascript. Please see our Tutorials section for more information.

There are also good tutorials on integrating Webpack with existing rails apps a google search away.

Server-side rendering (or Prerendering)

Prerendering is controllable at three levels:

  • In the rails hyperloop initializer you can say:
 Hyperloop.configuration do |config|
   config.prerendering = :off # :on by default
 end
  • In a route you can override the config setting by setting a default for hyperloop_prerendering:
get '/some_page', to: 'hyperloop#some_page', defaults: {hyperloop_prerendering: :off} # or :on

This allows you to override the prerendering option for specific pages. For example the application may have prererendering off by default (via the config setting) but you can still turn it on for a specific page.

  • You can override the route, and config setting using the hyperloop-prerendering query param:
http://localhost:3000/my_hyper_app/some_page?hyperloop-prerendering=off

This is useful for development and testing

NOTE: in the route you say hyperloop_prererendering but in the query string its hyperloop-prerendering (underscore vs. dash). This is because of rails security protection when using defaults.

Further Reading

Note: The Hyperloop gems have recently been renamed. The links below will take you to the correct Github projects but you might find the name of the project does not quite match the name of the gem on this page. Hyperloop Components were previously known as HyperReact or Reactrb.

Other Hyperloop tutorials and examples

React under the covers

Hyperloop Components and friends are in most cases simple DSL Ruby wrappers to the underlying native JavaScript libraries and React Components. It is really important to have a solid grip on how these technologies work to complement your understanding of Hyperloop. Most searches for help on Google will take you to examples written in JSX or ES6 JavaScript but you will learn over time to translate this to Hyperloop equivalents. To make headway with Hyperloop you do need a solid understanding of the underlying philosophy of React and its component based architecture. The 'Thinking in React' tutorial below is an excellent place to start.

Opal under the covers

Hyperloop Components are a DSL wrapper of React which uses Opal to compile Ruby code to ES5 native JavaScript. If you have not used Opal before then you should at a minimum read the excellent guides as they will teach you enough Opal to get you started with Hyperloop.