Dojo 1.1 is cooked and ready to eat!

The latest and greatest release of the Dojo Ajax Toolkit has just hit the presses, and she’s looking good. As Alex mentioned, the number of cool features in Dojo can be difficult to keep up with, so I’ll just list some of the things I’ve either written for Dojo, helped along, or just been damn impressed by in this release:

Dojo Datastores

The number of useful data stores for Dojo just keeps growing and growing, under the watchful eye of Jared. For release 1.1, I submitted a data store to read Atom XML documents, See more about this at


Peter Higgins submitted an amazingly simple, but oh-so-cool widget called dojox.widget.FisheyeLite. Rather than act like a ‘true’ Fisheye widget, which would generally only work on images (รก la OS X), this widget can apply cool Fisheye-like behaviors to just about anything – text, divs, spans, you name it. Check out the test page for some cool examples, or see my personal website for an example of how I used it to spruce up my site menu.

Django Template Languate – dojox.dtl

The Django Template Language is an amazingly powerful templating language, with which you can turn your JavaScript data into HTML. While this was originally designed to be a server side templating solution, Neil Roberts has done a brilliant job of converting it over to work in the browser. While I though I’d had an original idea when I pitched the idea to him that it’d be cool to integrate Dojo data stores directly into DTL, Alex already had the whole thing implemented and about to check it in. Typical ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve written up a tutorial on how to integrate DTL with Dojo data stores, specifically the AtomReadStore I wrote, at

Functional Programming

This enables you perform many operations on data using just a single function call. Once of the cool things it provides is the ability to specify a function as a simple string, drastically reducing the complexity and size of your own code. Eugene Lazutkin wrote a great blog post about this, which is well worth a read. I wrote a follow up post, as a quick reference to some of the cool things you can do with this feature. Some of this was available in 1.0, but I’ve just discovered it, so here you go!

Dojo Campus

Peter Higgins, Nikolai Onken and myself have been working on a new learning resource for Dojo developers, called Dojo Campus. It provides a lot of learning materials, including videos, tutorials for beginners and more advanced programmers, and much more. We also have a still-under-wraps-but-soon-to-be-release demo engine that has loads of easy to use runtime examples of things to make and do with Dojo. I blogged about a very early version of it at, but it’s come a long way since then. Keep you eyes peeled for it’s release. Any day now…..

And finally….

A very sexy Calendar widget I’ve written got submitted just a bit too late to make in into 1.1 (read: the day before release), but will be in the nightlies soon, and will make it into 1.2. See the blog post about it at

This is nowhere near a comprehensive list of course, just the bits I’ve been fiddling with over the last few months:

  • See Dylan’s post for some more info.
  • Get the release notes here.
  • See the Ajaxian post here.
  • See Alex Russell’s (Dojo project lead) post here.

So go forth and explore, it’s good healthy nerd-fun! Share this post:
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Sexy new Calendar widget for Dojo

I’ve submitted a sexy new Calendar widget to the Dojo Toolkit, called dojox.widget.Calendar. Check out a test page for it at The ticket tracking it is at

The features of this calendar widget are:

  • Day view – the standard view, showing all the days in a month
  • Month view – lists the twelve months of the year.
  • Year view – lists all the years that can be chosen.
  • Cool animations between these views.
  • Cool animations when moving from month to month, and from year to year.
  • Cool animations when moving the mouse over the widget, courtesy of the dojox.widget.FisheyeLite widget. (tired of cool animations yet? Nah, me neither)

The daily, monthly and yearly views of the Calendar
The day, month and year views of the calendar widget

I was inspired to write it after seeing the very cool Calendar widget in the AjaxControl Toolkit, a .NET Ajax framework, which made me think “I wonder how long this would take to write with Dojo?“, taking into account the obvious: not a single line of code could be copied from the original.

The answer turned out to be about 3 hours or so, since Dojo already provided the majority of what I needed.

  • All the Date-related heavy lifting is done with dijit._Calendar, the existing Dojo calendar widget. This also handles the majority of the localisation issues.
  • Most of the animations are done using the dojo.animateProperty function.
  • Generating the HTML of the widget is mostly taken care of by the standard Dijit templating system.

What remained to do was changing the exiting dijit._Calendar HTML template to give a month and year view, and fiddling with CSS to get it looking right. A textbox popup widget was also submitted to integrate the Calendar with a text input field, called dojox.form.DateTextBox;

Hopefully this will make it’s way into the DojoX project fairly soon, and be available for general use.
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Writing a Django Template Widget With Dojo Data Stores

One of the very cool recent additions to the Dojo toolkit is support for the Django Template engine. It is essentially a very advanced browser based templating engine, that enables you to use things like FOR loops, IF statements and much more directly in a HTML template. Or, as the author puts it:

The Django Template Language is one part of Django, a “high-level Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design.

This blog post is an in depth tutorial on working with DTL, Atom XML and Dojo data stores. To see the final working version, have a look here, or get the code from here. Extract the code at the same level as Dojo, and open the demoAtomDTL.html file. Note that you need either the nightly Dojo code, or v1.1 or later for this to work.

Simple Example

As a very simple example, you could write a single template, such as

    <!--{% for item in items %}-->
        <li value="{{item.value}}">{{item.text}}</li>
    <!--{% endfor %}-->

Then, you populate the template with some JSON data, e.g.

        {value:1,text:"Choice 1"},
        {value:2,text:"Choice 2"},
        {value:3,text:"Choice 3"}

and it generates the following HTML.

    <li value="1">Choice 1</li>
    <li value="2">Choice 2</li>
    <li value="3">Choice 13</li>

Writing A Widget And Template To Work With Atom XML

The example above is simplistic, though still very useful of course. However it is possible to do much more interesting things with DTL. A recent enhancement to the code base means that a template can now be built using data from a repository, rather than a simple JSON object. This means that you can have a single template that can be used with data from many different data sources (see here for an ItemFileReadStore and here for a Flickr data store example).

This post shows how to write a templated widget that uses a Dojo data store I have written for reading Atom XML data (which has been committed to the Dojox project), and transforming it using DTL into a nice fancy HTML widget, complete with visual effects. See to see the final result. Do a “View Source” on that page to see how simple it is to include it on a page.

A Django templated widget built from an Atom XML file

Writing the Template

Firstly, the structure of the HTML to be produced must be decided. For this example, I’ll just create a series of DIV elements that contain a header for the title, and a body for the text. The body will also contain another DIV to list all the tags (or categories in Atom-speak). So, a single entry will end up looking like:

<div class="entry">
    <div class="entryTitle">This is an entry title</div>
    <div class="entrySummary">
        This is some summary text
            Tags: <a href="">Ajax</a>

A template for this looks as follows:

<!--{% load dojox.dtl.contrib.html %}-->
<div id="{{rootId}}" >
    <!--{% for item in items %}-->
        <div class="entry">
            <div class="title"><!--{{item.title.text}}--></div>
            <div class="summary">
                <!--{% if item.summary.type == "html" %}-->
                    <!--{% html item.summary.text %}-->
                <!--{% else %}-->
                    <!--{{ item.summary.text }}-->
                <!--{% endif %}-->
                <!--{% if item.category %}-->
                    <!--{% for cat in item.categorys %}-->
                        <a href="{{cat.scheme}}/category/{{cat.term}}"> <!--{{cat.term}}-->  </a>
                    <!--{% endfor %}-->
                <!--{% endif %}-->
<!--{% endfor %}-->

Break it down!

Ok, so let’s have a look at this.

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