Dojo Demo Engine Update
Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on January 7, 2008
A short while ago I posted about the demo engine I’m writing for the Dojo Ajax Toolkit. Click here to read that post or go to http://www.skynet.ie/~sos/js/demo/dojo/dojoc/demos/featureexplorer.html to see it in action.
Update: Version 1.0 of the demo engine has been release. See here.
Since that post, quite a lot of work has gone into both the features and the content of the demo engine, and the development process has solidified nicely. Some of the features include:
- Tree navigation. A dijit.Tree widget, reading from a remote JSON data store is used to navigate the various demos.
- Search feature. A dijit.form.ComboBox widget, reading from the same JSON data store as the tree, can be used to dynamically search for demos by matching any part of their name.
- Theme switcher. A dijit.form.ComboBox widget is used to switch between the CSS styles that Dojo provides.
- URL addressability. Using a hash identifier (e.g. #Dojo_Query_By%20Class) in the URL of the demo engine causes it to open that demo when it has finished loading. For example, if you click this link, it will open the dojo.query demo showing you how to select nodes by class name. Opening any demo changes the URL in the browser to the URL for that demo, for easy bookmarking.
- Integrated build process. A simple build script is integrated with the Dojo build process. It builds a JSON data file listing all the existing demos and their respective files. It also builds files with URL links for each demo.
- Performing a XMLHttpRequest request
- Using an iFrame transport
- Submitting a form asynchronously
- Selecting nodes using CSS selectors with dojo.query
- Performing operations on the NodeList returned from dojo.query
- Attaching events to the NodeList returned from dojo.query
File Naming Scheme
A simple file naming scheme is used to add content to the demo framework. Each folder beneath the root folder represents a demo. Each file in a folder must be named the same as the folder, with five possible extensions. For example, given a folder with the name ‘Button‘, the possible files are:
- Button.txt – this contains the text description of the demo. It is loaded above the tabs.
- Button.links – this contains a JSON array of URL links. The build script transforms these links into HTML, and the result is loaded into the Links tab. One neat feature of this is that all links from sub folders are integrated with the parent folder and displayed in a nested structure. Do, for example, clicking on Dijit will show all the links for all widgets in the Dijit project.
- Button.full.html – this is standalone demo, that is designed to run outside the demo engine. The View tab provides a link to the external file.
- sort.txt – this contains a comma separated list of the child folders contained in this folder. It specifies the order in which to display the child demos in the tree. If this file is not specified, then an alphabetical ordering is used.
All of these files are optional. If a file in a folder does not match this naming scheme, it is assumed to be some kind of resource that the demo needs, such as an image or a JSON data file. In this case, the file can be named whatever you like.
The tree structure in the demo engine mirrors the folder layout.
Still To Do
There remains quite a lot of work ahead. There are a few bugs remaining, some more cross browser testing is needed, and of course more content is required, particularly the base Dojo package.
In the relatively near future this should be opened up to the public for development. The Dojo folks are setting up a source control server for community additions, and this demo engine should be part of that. Once that is done, people can start adding all sorts of cool stuff!
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