Building an App with the Framework, Part 3

Jul 17, 2014 2:19 PM

Tags: xpages
  1. Building an App with the Framework, Part 1
  2. Building an App with the Framework, Part 2
  3. Building an App with the Framework, Part 3
  4. Building an App with the Framework, Part 4
  5. Building an App with the Framework, Part 5
  6. Building an App with the Framework, Part 6
  7. Building an App with the Framework, Part 7
  1. Define the data model
  2. Create the view and add it to an XPage
  3. Create the editing page
  4. Add validation and translation to the model
  5. Add notification to the model
  6. Add sorting to the view
  7. Basic servlet
  8. REST with Angular.js

On the scale of "bog-standard" to "weird", the next phase of writing a Framework app sits in the middle: the basic steps of creating a model-editing page are pretty standard, but you can use unique aspects of the Framework to save a bunch of coding and add some nice dynamic features.

Create the editing page

The first step to adding the ability to create and edit notes is to adjust the main note-list page to add a button to actually create one. In my standard layout custom control, I have a facet area named "ActionBar" to add buttons to the top of the page:

<xc:layout navigationPath="/Home">
		<xc:linksbar xp:key="LeftColumn" />
		<xp:div xp:key="ActionBar">
			<xp:link themeId="Button.Command" value="/note.xsp" text="New Note"/>

I like to use normal links for going to the editing page rather than an "openPage" simple action to avoid the extra round trip. By giving it the "themeId" of Button.Command, it ends up with styling that looks more like a button than a link.

Now that that's over with, we move on to the actual editing page. So we create a page named "note.xsp" and add in our basic surrounding XSP and the data source:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<xp:view xmlns:xp="" xmlns:xe="" xmlns:xc="" xmlns:ff=""
	beforePageLoad="#{controller.beforePageLoad}" afterPageLoad="#{controller.afterPageLoad}" pageTitle="Note">

		<ff:modelObjectData var="note" managerName="Notes" key="${empty ? 'new' :}"/>

You can see a couple Framework-isms here: the "ff" namespace for the model data sources, the "beforePageLoad" and "afterPageLoad" events bound to the implied controller class, and the model data source itself. That data source takes the place of the traditional xp:dominoDocument element when using Framework model objects. It has two important properties: "managerName", which is the managed bean name of the manager class to fetch the object from, and "key", which tells the manager to either fetch an existing object by ID (for Domino-backed model objects, the document UNID) or create a new one. For this, I use the ternary operator in EL to check to see if there was an ID passed in via URL - if so, use that ID; otherwise, tell the manager to create a new model. Think of this as the difference between visiting a xp:dominoDocument-using page with action=editDocument&documentId=XXXX and with action=newDocument.

Now, on to the actual "form" portion. For traditional label/field sets, I'm a fan of using the ExtLib's xe:formTable and associated controls, since it's very focused on declaratively describing the form, and then I can use custom renderers to modify the look as I see fit. So let's toss one of those on the page:

<xe:formTable formTitle="Note">
		<xp:div xp:key="footer">
			<xp:button id="save" value="Save">
				<xp:eventHandler event="onclick" submit="true" refreshMode="complete" immediate="false" save="true"/>

	<xe:formRow binding="#{controller.components[note].Title}"/>
	<xe:formRow binding="#{controller.components[note].Body}">

So far, so good, right? That is, except for that "binding" business. That's the fruit of my recent dabbling in the potential uses of that property. Think of that as telling the back-end framework code that the two rows represent, respectively, the "Title" and "Body" fields of the given note object specifically, and asking it to fill in the messy details. As a result, the framework looks up an appropriate label for the field (by default, just the name of the field in the model, but it also looks for a human-friendly and translated version, which I'll get to in the next entry), creates an input component if one hasn't been provided, and attaches any appropriate validators, converters, and date/time helpers.

There are two types of use here: for the "Title" field, just a plain text box will do, which is what the controller does in the absence of other direction; for the "Body" field, however, I want to use Dojo's auto-expanding textarea control, and so placing one inside the form row will cause the controller to pick up on it and use the existing control rather than adding a new one. We haven't added any extra validation or type information to the model yet, so the result is basic:

There's one last bit of housekeeping to add: sending the user back to the main home page after saving a note. I use navigation rules for this purpose, and this syntax matches what you get if you set the "Next page (success or cancel)" option in the XPage's properties pane:

	<xp:navigationRule outcome="xsp-success" viewId="/home.xsp"/>

And that's it! Other than a few Framework-isms in the areas of the data source and the binding code, the result is pretty similar to a page you'd get using traditional methods. In the next entry, I'll spruce things up a bit: adding in some validation, a different field type, and a dash of translation.

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