Developer Introduction to the Infusion Framework - Components

Programs using Infusion structure their data, functionality and interaction as various components defined using a common syntax.

Components are JavaScript objects that have certain characteristics. Components can be freely combined together to form new components using the grades system ("grade" is the term used in Infusion for a sort of blueprint, in this case one that holds a component's default configuration), or organized into relationships with one another via subcomponents.

There are three base component grades to be aware of that any new components you create with Infusion will likely have at their root:

  • fluid.component, the simplest type with support for events and public function definition (called invokers in Infusion).
  • fluid.modelComponent, which adds support for mutable models, model events, and model state coordination and relay between different components.
  • fluid.viewComponent, which supplement model components with functionality to bind to the DOM of a web page.

Infusion's approach to component-based development emphasizes declarative configuration, loose coupling and flexible hierarchies. The framework manages component lifecycle and scoping and provides many supports to allow components to work in collaboration with one another.

A new Infusion component grade is defined using the fluid.defaults function and a very basic "Hello, World!" component might look like this:

Note: You can check out the Live Example of the code below on CodePen
// The first argument is the name of the new component, the second is the
// new component's default configuration
fluid.defaults("fluidTutorial.helloWorld", {
    // gradeNames supplies an array of strings that name previously
    // defined Infusion components; their configurations will be
    // merged together for the final "blueprint"
    // In this case, we are supplying only a single grade name, but
    // if multiples were supplied, they would be combined into one
    // configuration in left to right order, with the rightmost
    // configuration taking precedence in cases where different
    // grades have the same key in the same position
    gradeNames: ["fluid.component"]

After definition, instances of the component can be created by calling the component's name as a function, with the option to pass in further configuration options as an argument:

var helloWorld = fluidTutorial.helloWorld();

Right now this component doesn't do anything, but we will evolve its definition throughout this introduction to demonstrate further core concepts of the framework.

Namespaces in Infusion

The standard pattern in developing Infusion components is to gather related components and functions under a namespace, a single global variable to contain the code; Infusion has a number of utility functions to work with namespaces.

In this case, our namespace is fluidTutorial, and the helloWorld grade we are defining has a fully qualified name of fluidTutorial.helloWorld; using namespaces helps us avoid potential collision of component or function names when integrating with other code.

Grade Inheritance in Infusion

While we won't get into grade inheritance until later (combining existing grade definitions by supplying multiple items in the gradeNames array), we'll quickly note two important rules:

  1. The order of precedence when grade configurations have keys with the same name in the same place is that the rightmost grade will take precedence.
  2. Any combination including fluid.viewComponent or grades derived from it should be placed to the right of any non-viewComponent grade.

Next: Invokers