PropsTemplate

PropsTemplate is a direct-to-Oj, JBuilder-like DSL for building JSON. It has support for Russian-Doll caching, layouts, and can be queried by giving the root a key path.

Build
Status

It's fast.

PropsTemplate bypasses the steps of hash building and serializing that other libraries perform by using Oj's StringWriter in rails mode.

benchmarks

Caching is fast too.

While other libraries spend time unmarshaling, merging hashes, and serializing to JSON; PropsTemplate simply takes the cached string and uses Oj's push_json.

Example:

PropsTemplate is very similar to JBuilder, and selectively retains some conveniences and magic.

json.flash flash.to_h

json.menu do
  # all keys will be formatted as camelCase

  json.current_user do
    json.email current_user.email
    json.avatar current_user.avatar
    json.inbox current_user.messages.count
  end
end

json.dashboard(defer: :auto) do
  sleep 5
  json.complex_post_metric 500
end

json.posts do
  page_num = params[:page_num]
  paged_posts = @posts.page(page_num).per(20)

  json.list do
    json.array! paged_posts, key: :id do |post|
      json.id post.id
      json.description post.description
      json.comments_count post.comments.count
      json.edit_path edit_post_path(post)
    end
  end

  json.pagination_path posts_path
  json.current paged_posts.current_page
  json.total @posts.count
end

json.footer partial: 'shared/footer' do
end

Installation

gem 'props_template'

and run bundle.

Add the core ext to an initializer.

require 'props_template/core_ext'

And create a file in your app/views folder like so:

# app/views/posts/index.json.props

json.greetings "hello world"

You can also add a layout.

API

json.set! or json.<your key here>

Defines the attribute or structure. All keys are automatically camelized lower.

json.set! :author_details, {...options} do
  json.set! :first_name, 'David'
end

or

json.author_details, {...options} do
  json.first_name 'David'
end


# => {"authorDetails": { "firstName": "David" }}

The inline form defines key and value

Parameter Notes
key A json object key
value A value

json.set! :first_name, 'David'

or

json.first_name 'David'

# => { "firstName": "David" }

The block form defines key and structure

Parameter Notes
key A json object key
options Additional options
block Additional json.set!s or json.array!s
json.set! :details do
  ...
end

or

json.details do
  ...
end

The difference between the block form and inline form is

  1. The block form is an internal node. Functionality such as Partials, Deferment and other options are only available on the block form.
  2. The inline form is considered a leaf node, and you can only search for internal nodes.

json.array!

Generates an array of json objects.

collection = [ {name: 'john'}, {name: 'jim'} ]

json.details do
  json.array! collection, {...options} do |person|
    json.first_name person[:name]
  end
end

# => {"details": [{"firstName": 'john'}, {"firstName": 'jim'} ]}
Parameter Notes
collection A collection that responds to member_at and member_by
options Additional options

To support traversing nodes, any list passed to array! MUST implement member_at(index) and member_by(attr, value).

For example, if you were using a delegate:

class ObjectCollection < SimpleDelegator
  def member_at(index)
    at(index)
  end

  def member_by(attr, val)
    find do |ele|
      ele[attr] == val
    end
  end
end

Then in your template:

data = ObjectCollection.new([
  {id: 1, name: 'foo'},
  {id: 2, name: 'bar'}
])

json.array! data do
  ...
end

Similarly for ActiveRecord:

class ApplicationRecord < ActiveRecord::Base
  def self.member_at(index)
    offset(index).limit(1).first
  end

  def self.member_by(attr, value)
    find_by(Hash[attr, val])
  end
end

Then in your template:

json.array! Post.all do
  ...
end

Array core extension

For convenience, PropsTemplate includes a core_ext that adds these methods to Array. For example:

require 'props_template/core_ext'
data = [
  {id: 1, name: 'foo'},
  {id: 2, name: 'bar'}
]

json.posts
  json.array! data do
    ...
  end
end

PropsTemplate does not know what the elements are in your collection. The example above will be fine for traversing by index, but will raise a NotImplementedError if you query by attribute. You may still need to implement member_by.

json.deferred!

Returns all deferred nodes used by the deferment option.

Note This is a SuperglueJS specific functionality and is used in application.json.props when first running rails superglue:install:web

json.deferred json.deferred!

# => [{url: '/some_url?props_at=outer.inner', path: 'outer.inner', type: 'auto'}]

This method provides metadata about deferred nodes to the frontend (SuperglueJS) to fetch missing data in a second round trip.

json.fragments!

Returns all fragment nodes used by the partial fragments option.

ruby json.fragments json.fragments!

Note This is a SuperglueJS specific functionality and is used in application.json.props when first running rails superglue:install:web

Options

Options Functionality such as Partials, Deferements, and Caching can only be set on a block. It is normal to see empty blocks.

json.post(partial: 'blog_post') do
end

Partials

Partials are supported. The following will render the file views/posts/_blog_posts.json.props, and set a local variable foo assigned with @post, which you can use inside the partial.

json.one_post partial: ["posts/blog_post", locals: {post: @post}] do
end

Usage with arrays:

# The `as:` option is supported when using `array!`

json.posts do
  json.array! @posts, partial: ["posts/blog_post", locals: {foo: 'bar'}, as: 'post'] do
  end
end

Partial Fragments

Note This is a SuperglueJS specific functionality.

A fragment identifies a partial output across multiple pages. It can be used to update cross cutting concerns like a header bar.

# index.json.props
json.header partial: ["profile", fragment: "header"] do
end

# _profile.json.props
json.profile do
  json.address do
    json.state "New York City"
  end
end

When using fragments with Arrays, the argument MUST be a lamda:

require 'props_template/core_ext'

json.array! ['foo', 'bar'], partial: ["footer", fragment: ->(x){ x == 'foo'}] do
end

Caching

Caching is supported on internal nodes only. This limitation is what makes it possible to for props_template to forgo marshalling/unmarshalling and simply use push_json.

Usage:

json.author(cache: "some_cache_key") do
  json.first_name "tommy"
end

#or

json.profile(cache: "cachekey", partial: ["profile", locals: {foo: 1}]) do
end

#or nest it

json.author(cache: "some_cache_key") do
  json.address(cache: "some_other_cache_key") do
    json.zip 11214
  end
end

When used with arrays, PropsTemplate will use Rails.cache.read_multi.

require 'props_template/core_ext'

opts = { cache: ->(i){ ['a', i] } }

json.array! [4,5], opts do |x|
  json.top "hello" + x.to_s
end

#or on arrays with partials

opts = { cache: (->(d){ ['a', d.id] }), partial: ["blog_post", as: :blog_post] }

json.array! @options, opts do
end

Deferment

You can defer rendering of expensive nodes in your content tree using the defer: :manual option. Behind the scenes PropsTemplates will no-op the block entirely and replace the value with a placeholder. A common use case would be tabbed content that does not load until you click the tab.

When your client receives the payload, you may issue a second request to the same endpoint to fetch any missing nodes. See traversing nodes

There is also an defer: :auto option that you can use with SuperglueJS. SuperglueJS will use the metadata from json.deferred! to issue a remote dispatch to fetch the missing node and immutably graft it at the appropriate keypath in your Redux store.

Usage:

json.dashboard(defer: :manual) do
  sleep 10
  json.some_fancy_metric 42
end


# or you can explicitly pass a placeholder

json.dashboard(defer: [:manual, placeholder: {}]) do
  sleep 10
  json.some_fancy_metric 42
end

A auto option is available:

Note This is a SuperglueJS specific functionality.

json.dashboard(defer: :auto) do
  sleep 10
  json.some_fancy_metric 42
end

Finally in your application.json.props:

json.defers json.deferred!

Working with arrays

The default behavior for deferements is to use the index of the collection to identify an element.

Note If you are using this library with SuperglueJS, the :auto options will generate ?props_at=a.b.c.0.title for json.deferred!.

If you wish to use an attribute to identify the element. You must:

  1. Use the :key option on json.array!. This key refers to an attribute on your collection item, and is used for defer: :auto to generate a keypath for SuperglueJS. If you are NOT using SuperglueJS, you do not need to do this.

  2. Implement member_at, on the collection. This will be called by PropsTemplate to when searching nodes

For example:

require 'props_template/core_ext'
data = [
  {id: 1, name: 'foo'},
  {id: 2, name: 'bar'}
]

json.posts
  json.array! data, key: :some_id do |item|
    # By using :key, props_template will append `json.some_id item.some_id`
    # automatically

    json.contact(defer: :auto) do
      json.address '123 example drive'
    end
  end
end

If you are using SuperglueJS, SuperglueJS will, it will automatically kick off remote(?props_at=posts.some_id=1.contact) and remote(?props_at=posts.some_id=2.contact).

Traversing

PropsTemplate has the ability to walk the tree you build, skipping execution of untargeted nodes. This feature is useful for selectively updating your frontend state.

traversal_path = ['data', 'details', 'personal']

json.data(search: traversal_path) do
  json.details do
    json.employment do
      ...more stuff
    end

    json.personal do
      json.name 'james'
      json.zip_code 91210
    end
  end
end

json.footer do
  ...
end

PropsTemplate will walk depth first, walking only when it finds a matching key, then executes the associated block, and repeats until it the node is found. The above will output:

{
  "data": {
    "name": 'james',
    "zipCode": 91210
  },
  "footer": {
    ...
  }
}

Searching only works with blocks, and will NOT work with Scalars ("leaf" values). For example:

traversal_path = ['data', 'details', 'personal', 'name'] <- not found

json.data(search: traversal_path) do
  json.details do
    json.personal do
      json.name 'james'
    end
  end
end

Nodes that do not exist

Nodes that are not found will remove the branch where search was enabled on.

traversal_path = ['data', 'details', 'does_not_exist']

json.data(search: traversal_path) do
  json.details do
    json.personal do
      json.name 'james'
    end
  end
end

json.footer do
  ...
end

The above will render:

{
  "footer": {
    ...
  }
}

Layouts

A single layout is supported. To use, create an application.json.props in app/views/layouts. Here's an example:

json.data do
  # template runs here.
  yield json
end

json.header do
  json.greeting "Hello"
end

json.footer do
  json.greeting "Hello"
end

json.flash flash.to_h

NOTE PropsTemplate inverts the usual Rails rendering flow. PropsTemplate will render Layout first, then the template when yield json is used.

Contributing

See the CONTRIBUTING document. Thank you, contributors!

Special Thanks

Thanks to turbostreamer for the inspiration.