xml-literals

Portable XML literal support for Javascript

npm install xml-literals
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xml-literals(1) -- XML literals in Javascript

INSTALLING

To install xml-literals:

npm install xml-literals

INTRODUCTION

xml-literals adds support for XML literals to Javascript by means of simple code transformations. If you are familiar with the E4X spec, this could be considered "E4X: The Good Parts". Since it is based on desugaring syntax, you can use XML literals in any Javascript environment (Internet Explorer 6.0, Chrome 10, whatever). This library focuses on adding support to NodeJS, but I'll include some hints as to how to get this to work in a browser.

Here's an example of an XML literal:

    var anchor = <a href={href}>Hello</a>;

This kind of syntax is more concise than something like:

    var anchor = document.createElement('a');
    anchor.href = href;
    anchor.appendChild(document.createTextNode('Hello'));

And safer (and more flexible) than something like:

    var anchor = '<a href="' +href +'">Hello</a>';

All literals which appear in your source code will go through an XMLEnvironment which defines how the literal should be interpreted. This environment should interpret the literal into a constructor for some other DOM. See the documentation in lib/environment.js for more information on XMLEnvironment. js-xml-literals includes two environments for you to get started with. However if you want to implement something interesting like element decomposition you will need to learn how to create your own environment.

GETTING STARTED

The first step to get XML literals working in your project is to register which file extensions should be transformed. If you want to allow XML literals in any Javascript file you would do this:

    require('xml-literals').register('js');

This tells NodeJS to preprocess all *.js files with the XML literals transformation.

Unfortunately you won't be able to use XML literals in the file where you invoked the registration, so this kind of thing won't work:

init.js:

    require('xml-literals').register('js');
    // WON'T WORK!!
    var test = <span>Hello</span>;

After registering a file extension you must setup the XMLEnvironment. If you want to use the included simple-html-dom (recommended) you would do this:

    var SimpleHTMLDOMXMLEnvironment = require('xml-literals/simple-html-dom');
    XMLEnvironment.set(new SimpleHTMLDOMXMLEnvironment);

Then just require() your main script and it will have XML literals enabled. simple-html-dom works just like the DOM in your broswer, however it's simplified. Only basic DOM manipulation and querying functions are available. If you are looking for a more full-featured server-side DOM I recommend taking a look at jsdom, however you will incur a large performance penalty here. simple-html-dom nodes include a toString() method, so you can convert your DOM to string to send to the browser easily.

A quick example is included. Hello World

IN THE BROWSER

If you want to get this running in your browser, include both lib/environment.js and lib/dom-environment.js. Then run this: XMLEnvironment.set(new DOMXMLEnvironment(document));.

This step is probably the hardest. You have to run all your client-side JS through the xml-literals desugaring function before sending it to the browser. The transformation function can be resolved via require('xml-literals/lib/desugar/desugar').desugar. It's up to you how to implement this. Easiest is probably to integrate it into your minification pipeline.

After you get that setup you can do magic like this:

    document.body.appendChild(<div><a href={uri}>It's Magic!</a></div>);
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