Introducing ResourcefulViews 0.1

Hi all,

today I am releasing ResourcefulViews 0.1, a Rails plugin that I have
been working on lately. ResoursefulViews started as a simple naming
convention for CSS classes that we began using at twinity.com a while
ago, and that was aimed at taking RESTful conventions far beyond
controllers. It eventually became a plugin.

Please check it out, and please let me know what you think!

http://svn.ingoweiss.com/plugins/resourceful_views/tags/REL_0_1

Ingo W.

From the README:

= ResourcefulViews 0.1

ResourcefulViews aims to take RESTful conventions beyond controllers
and into views by extending the ‘map.resources’ method to install a
comprehensive vocabulary of resource-oriented view helpers

== Why?

Rails, being it’s opinionated self, establishes strong RESTful
conventions for routes and controllers. In comparison, Rails appears
to have few opinions about how views should be written, let alone CSS
sheets or JavaScripts. I think this is some wasted RESTful momentum
worth recouping, and ResourcefulViews is here to recoup it.

The vision is that once an application’s resources are defined,
developers and designers will have a rich, shared vocabulary of view
helpers and CSS classes readily available, greatly reducing the need
to come up with their own, potentially conflicting vocabularies, and
freeing them to focus on higher level problems instead.

== How?

For every resource defined in routes.rb via ‘resources’ or ‘resource’,
ResourcefulViews defines seven helper methods (plus some extra ones).
For each of the seven ‘CRUD’ actions one helper is installed which:

  • is named ‘[CRUD action]_[route name prefix][resource name]’:
    ‘create_table’, ‘destroy_table_leg’, ‘new_table_top’, etc.
  • renders either a link (index new show edit) or a form (create update
    delete), that, when clicked/submitted, will trigger an HTTP request
    which gets routed to the helper’s CRUD action on the resource’s
    controller
  • equips the link/form with a set of standard class attributes
    composed of the resource name, the CRUD action name, plus the two
    joined with ‘_’ to help IE (‘create table create_table’)

== Basic example:

Say you have an app for furnishing your dream aparmtment, with a
‘tables’ resource. With ResourcefulViews installed,
map.resources :tables will not only install the standard
named route helpers, but also the following ones:

index_tables, new_table, create_table, show_table, edit_table,
update_table, destroy_table

Now let’s look at a vertical slice through an application, with the
deletion of a ‘table’ resource as an example:

==== Routes

map.resources :tables

==== Controller

class TablesController < ActiveRecord::Base
def destroy
@table = Table.find(params[:table])
@table.destroy
redirect_to :action => ‘index’
end
end

==== View

So far so familar. However, here is where Rails drops the RESTful
ball. With ResourcefulViews, however, you can write in your views:

<% destroy_table(@table) %>

this will render:

Delete

Note the auto-generated class names, allowing you to use ‘resourceful’
naming conventions beyond the view, for example in CSS sheets and
JavaScript scripts:

==== CSS

form.destroy_table button { background-image: url(/images/buttons/
remove.png) }

==== JavaScript

LowPro behavior:

Event.addBehavior({
‘form.destroy’: ConfirmDestroyResource()
});

==== Tests

rspec story step

Then(/the page should have a(n?) ([a-z_]+) ([a-z_]+) (form|link)/)
do |, crud_action, resource_name, tag|
response.should have_tag("#{tag}.#{crud_action}
#{resource_name}")
end

rspec text story

Then the page should have a create comment form

Nice and consistent, isn’t it? And compact, too:

<% create_table(:type => ‘DiningTable’) %>

will render:

Add

<% search_tables(:parameters => {:order => ‘name’}) %>

will render:

Search

This is just to give you a taste of what is possible. For more
examples please refer to the rdoc for the individual ‘build_[CRUD
action name]_helper’ methods (rake doc:plugins
PLUGIN=resourceful_views
)

== Common options

  • :label specifies the content of the link tag in link
    helpers, and of the button tag in form helpers. If :label
    is omitted, the helpers will use a default label
  • :parameters allows for specifying additional parameters
    to send with the request, via url query parameters in link helpers,
    and via hidden fields in form helpers
  • For block-less create_resource and update_resource helpers, the
    :attributes option is used to specify resource attributes
    to be sent with the request
  • All other options(such as :id and :title)
    are applied to the form in form helpers and to the link in link
    helpers
  • To apply options to the button tag instead of the form tag in form
    helpers, make the options hash the value of the :button
    option (:button => {:id => ‘logout_button’})
  • both the create_resource and the update_resource</
    code> helpers support passing in a ‘template’ model as the last
    argument that is passed on to the ‘fields_for’ helper

== How about nested resources?

Not a problem. In fact, here is where it gets interesting:

<% edit_table_top(@table) %>

will render:

Edit

== Helper name suffixes

If the helpers are crowding your namespace, or if you just don’t like
the short helper names, you can tell ResourcefulViews to use suffixes
for naming the helpers. Just put this in an initializer:

This will append ‘_link’ to all link helpers, like

‘edit_table_top_link’
ResourcefulViews.link_helpers_suffix = ‘_link’

This will append ‘_form’ to all link helpers, like

‘search_tables_form’
ResourcefulViews.form_helpers_suffix = ‘_form’

== Tests

ResourcefulViews comes with en extensive rspec test suite: rake
spec:plugins PLUGIN=resourceful_views

== Plans

ResourcefulViews 0.1 is an experimental release. If you decide to give
it a spin, please be aware that future versions might introduce
incompatible syntax changes.

The plugin is all about the power of conventions, and about maximizing
their benefits. Consequently, I have no plans to give it the
flexibiliy to handle every non-standard situation out there. There are
always the standard Rails form/link helpers to fall back to if more
flexibility is needed. However, here are a couple of features that I
could see being useful:

  • There are situations, especially in lists, where the auto-generated
    classnames seem very verbose, so it will likely be possible to turn
    them on/off for individual helpers, or in lists only.
  • It will likely be possible to configure defaults for options like
    :label or :title

== Known problems

  • ActiveMerchant seems to run ‘routes.rb’ before ResourcefulViews
    loads, resulting in ResourcefulViews helpers not being defined. To fix
    this, make sure ResourcefulViews loads before active_merchant by
    putting this in your environment file: config.plugins =
    [ :resourceful_views, :all ]

== License
Copyright © 2008 Ingo W., released under the MIT license

Hi all,

I changed the repo structure a bit, so the actual command to install
the plugin is:

script/plugin install
http://svn.ingoweiss.com/plugins/resourceful_views/tags/REL_0_1/resourceful_views

Ingo

Very useful!. Why not use github?

Ingo W. wrote:

Hi all,

I changed the repo structure a bit, so the actual command to install
the plugin is:

script/plugin install
http://svn.ingoweiss.com/plugins/resourceful_views/tags/REL_0_1/resourceful_views

Ingo

Thanks for the suggestion! I will look into it! Ingo

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