template literal

Reactive UI’s with VanillaJS – Part 2: Class Based Components

In Part 1, I went over various functional-style techniques for cleanly rendering HTML given some JavaScript data. We broke our UI up into component functions, each of which returned a chunk of markup as a function of some data. We then composed these into views that could be reconstructed from new data by making a single function call.

This is the bonus round. In this post, the aim will be to get as close as possible to full-blown, class-based React Component syntax, with VanillaJS (i.e. using native JavaScript with no libraries/frameworks). I want to make a disclaimer that some of the techniques here are not super practical, but I think they'll still make a fun and interesting exploration of how far JavaScript has come in recent years, and what exactly React does for us.


Reactive UI’s with VanillaJS – Part 1: Pure Functional Style

Last month Chris Coyier wrote a post investigating the question, "When Does a Project Need React?" In other words, when do the benefits of using React (acting as a stand-in for data-driven web frameworks in general), rather than server-side templates and jQuery, outweigh the added complexity of setting up the requisite tooling, build process, dependencies, etc.? A week later, Sacha Greif wrote a counterpoint post arguing why you should always use such a framework for every type of web project. His points included future-proofing, simplified workflow from project to project (a single architecture; no need to keep up with multiple types of project structures), and improved user experience because of client-side re-rendering, even when the content doesn't change very often.

In this pair of posts, I delve into a middle ground: writing reactive-style UI's in plain old JavaScript - no frameworks, no preprocessors.


Template Literals

The Template Literal, introduced in ES6, is a new way to create a string. With it comes new features that allow us more control over dynamic strings in our programs. Gone will be the days of long string concatenation!

To create a template literal, instead of single quotes (') or double quotes (") quotes we use the backtick (`) character. This will produce a new string, and we can use it in any way we want.