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Reef v2

A lightweight helper function for creating reactive, state-based components and UI. Reef is a simpler alternative to React, Vue, and other large frameworks.

Features:

  • Weighs under 8kb (minified and gzipped), with zero dependencies.
  • Simple templating with JavaScript strings or template literals.
  • Automatically sanitizes your templates to protect you from cross-site scripting attacks.
  • Load it with a simple <script> tag—no command line or transpiling required.
  • Updates only the parts of the DOM that have changed. Keep those form fields in focus!
  • Work with native JavaScript methods and browser APIs instead of custom methods and pseudo-languages.
  • Supported all the way back to IE10.

Ditch that bloated framework, and make web development fun and simple again!

Why use Reef?

Reef is an anti-framework.

It does a lot less than the big guys like React and Vue. It doesn’t have a Virtual DOM. It doesn’t require you to learn a custom templating syntax. It doesn’t provide a bunch of custom methods.

Reef does just one thing: render UI.

Couldn’t you just use some template strings and innerHTML? Sure. But Reef sanitizes your data before rendering to minimize the risk of XSS scripting attacks. It also only updates things that have changed instead clobbering the DOM and removing focus from your form fields.

If you’re craving a more simple, back-to-basics web development experience, Reef is for you.

(And if not, that’s cool too! Carry on.)

Getting Started

1. Include Reef on your site.

Reef comes in two flavors: regular and unsafe.

The full version includes DOMPurify, an HTML sanitizers that protects you from cross-site scripting attacks when including third-party and user-provided content in your templates.

The unsafe version is only 2kb, but doesn’t sanitize your templates. Only use this version if you’re not using any third-party or user-supplied data in your templates.

Direct Download

You can download the files directly from GitHub.

Compiled and production-ready code can be found in the dist directory. The src directory contains development code.

<script src="path/to/reef.min.js"></script>

CDN

You can also use the jsDelivr CDN. I recommend linking to a specific version number or version range to prevent major updates from breaking your site. Reef uses semantic versioning.

<!-- Always get the latest version -->
<!-- Not recommended for production sites! -->
<script src="https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/gh/cferdinandi/reef/dist/reef.min.js"></script>

<!-- Get minor updates and patch fixes within a major version -->
<script src="https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/gh/cferdinandi/reef@2/dist/reef.min.js"></script>

<!-- Get patch fixes within a minor version -->
<script src="https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/gh/cferdinandi/reef@2.0/dist/reef.min.js"></script>

<!-- Get a specific version -->
<script src="https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/gh/cferdinandi/reef@2.0.0/dist/reef.min.js"></script>

2. Add an element to render your component/UI into.

This is typically an empty div with a targetable selector.

<div id="app"></div>

3. Create your component

Create a new Reef() instance, passing in two arguments: your selector, and your options.

Provide a selector

The first argument is the selector for the element you want to render the UI into. Alternatively, you can pass in the element itself.

// This works
var app = new Reef('#app');

// This does too
var elem = document.querySelector('#app');
var app = new Reef(elem);

Provide a Template

The second argument is an object of options. It requires a template property, as either a string or a function that returns a string, to render into the DOM.

// Your template can be a string
var app = new Reef('#app', {
	template: '<h1>Hello, world!</h1>'
});

// It can also be a function that returns a string
var app = new Reef('#app', {
	template: function () {
		return '<h1>Hello, world!</h1>'
	}
});

Note: You can use old-school strings, or if you’d prefer, ES6 template literals.

[Optional] Add State/Data

As an optional property of the options argument, you can include state for your component with the data property.

The state data is automatically passed into your template function, so that you can use it to customize your template.

// Some data
var app = new Reef('#app', {
	data: {
		greeting: 'Hello',
		name: 'world'
	},
	template: function (props) {
		return '<h1>' + props.greeting + ', ' + props.name + '!</h1>';
	}
});

4. Render your component

You can render your component by calling the .render() method on it.

app.render();

Here’s a demo.

State Management

Reef provides two different ways to manage your state: reactive and manual.

Data Reactivity

Data reactivity means that the UI “reacts” to changes in your data. Update your data, and the UI automatically renders any required updates based on the new state.

You can get an immutable clone of your current state using the getData() method. This lets you make any updates or changes you want without affecting the actual state of your component.

var data = app.getData();
data.greeting = 'Hi there';

When you’re ready to update your state, use the setData() method to update the state and cause the UI to render (if anything has changed).

The setData() method accepts an object with your changed state as an argument. You don’t need to pass in the whole state again—only what’s changed.

// Pass in an entirely new state
app.setData({
	greeting: 'Hi there',
	name: 'universe'
});

// Or update just one key
app.setData({greeting: 'Hi there'});

Try data reactivity on CodePen →

Manual State

Sometimes, you want more manual control over when your UI renders again.

You can update your component’s state by directly accessing the data property of the component. After updating your state, run the .render() method again to update the DOM.

app.data.greeting = 'Hi there';
app.data.name = 'universe';
app.render();

Try manual state management on CodePen →

Advanced Components

Nested Components

If you’re managing a bigger app, you may have components inside components.

Reef provides you with a way to attach nested components to their parent components. When the parent component is updated, it will automatically update the UI of its nested components if needed.

Associate a nested component with its parent using the attachTo key in your options. This accepts an array of components to attach your nested component to. You only need to render the parent component. It’s nested components will render automatically.

You can access a parent component’s state from a nested component by assigning the parent component data property to the data key in your nested component’s options.

// Parent component
var app = new Reef('#app', {
	data: {
		greeting: 'Hello, world!',
		todos: [
			'Buy milk',
			'Bake a birthday cake',
			'Go apple picking'
		]
	},
	template: function (props) {
		var html =
			'<h1>' + props.greeting + '</h1>' +
			'<div id="todos"></div>';
		return html;
	}
});

// Nested component
var todos = new Reef('#todos', {
	data: app.data,
	template: function (props) {
		var html = '<h2>Todo List</h2><ul>';
		props.todos.forEach(function (todo) {
			html += '<li>' + todo + '</li>';
		});
		html += '</ul>';
		return html;
	},
	attachTo: [app]
});

app.render();

Try nested components on CodePen →

Attaching and Detaching Nested Components

You can attach or detach nested components at any time using the attach() and detach() methods. Both methods accept both individual components or arrays of components as arguments.

// Attach components
app.attach(todos);
app.attach([todos]);

// Detach components
app.detach(todos);
app.detach([todos]);

Try attaching nested components on CodePen →

Shared State

There are two ways to handle shared state with Reef when your components (in addition to the nested component/parent component relationship documented above).

Source of Truth Object

You can associate a named data object with multiple components.

The biggest downside to this approach is that it’s non-reactive. You need to manually run the render() method on any component that needs to be updated when you update the state.

var sourceOfTruth = {
	greeting: 'Hello, world!',
	todos: [
		'Buy milk',
		'Bake a birthday cake',
		'Go apple picking'
	]
};

// Parent component
var app = new Reef('#app', {
	data: sourceOfTruth,
	template: function (props) {
		var html =
			'<h1>' + props.greeting + '</h1>' +
			'<div id="todos"></div>';
		return html;
	}
});

// Nested component
var todos = new Reef('#todos', {
	data: sourceOfTruth,
	template: function (props) {
		var html = '<h2>Todo List</h2><ul>';
		props.todos.forEach(function (todo) {
			html += '<li>' + todo + '</li>';
		});
		html += '</ul>';
		return html;
	},
	attachTo: [app]
});

// Initial render
app.render();

// Update the state
sourceOfTruth.greeting = 'Hi, universe';

// Re-render the DOM
app.render();

Try working with a single source of truth on CodePen →

Create a Lagoon

A lagoon is a Reef instance that’s only purpose is to store shared data.

It doesn’t render any UI in the DOM, but allows you to reactively update state using the setData() method. You can automatically trigger renders in other components by attaching them to your lagoon.

Create a lagoon by setting the lagoon option to true when creating your Reef instance.

var sourceOfTruth = new Reef(null, {
	data: {
		greeting: 'Hello, world!',
		todos: [
			'Buy milk',
			'Bake a birthday cake',
			'Go apple picking'
		]
	},
	lagoon: true
});

// Parent component
var app = new Reef('#app', {
	data: sourceOfTruth.data,
	template: function (props) {
		var html =
			'<h1>' + props.greeting + '</h1>' +
			'<div id="todos"></div>';
		return html;
	},
	attachTo: [sourceOfTruth]
});

// Nested component
var todos = new Reef('#todos', {
	data: sourceOfTruth.data,
	template: function (props) {
		var html = '<h2>Todo List</h2><ul>';
		props.todos.forEach(function (todo) {
			html += '<li>' + todo + '</li>';
		});
		html += '</ul>';
		return html;
	},
	attachTo: [sourceOfTruth, app]
});

// Initial render
app.render();

// Reactively update state
sourceOfTruth.setData({greeting: 'Hi, universe'});

Try creating a lagoon on CodePen →

Sanitizing Templates

One of the most important things Reef does is sanitize your templates to help reduce the risk of cross-site scripting attacks.

If you’re using the unsafe version of Reef, you need to set the sanitize option to false or it will throw an error and not run. Only do this if you’re not using any third-party or user-provided data.

var app = new Reef('#app', {
	sanitize: false
});

Reef uses DOMPurify to sanitize your templates. It’s fast, lightweight, and good.

DOMPurify is configurable. You can pass in an object of options with the sanitizeOptions property. Consult the DOMPurify documentation for available options.

var app = new Reef('#app', {
	sanitizeOptions: {}
});

See Reef’s template sanitizing in action on CodePen →

Custom Events

Whenever Reef updates the DOM, it emits a custom render event that you can listen for with addEventListener().

The render event is emitted on the element that was update, and bubbles, so you can use event delegation if you’d prefer.

document.addEventListener('render', function (event) {
	if (event.target.matches('#app')) {
		// Do something...
	}
}, false);

Try the render event on CodePen →

Demos

What’s new?

  • DOMPurify is now the template sanitizing engine.
  • The attribute exceptions feature has been removed in favor of DOMPurify’s configuration options. The addAttributes() and removeAttributes() methods no longer exist.
  • Reef now offers a smaller unsafe version for UIs that don’t use any third-party or user-provided content. It does not sanitize templates before rendering, so use with caution.
  • SVGs are now properly supported and will render correctly.

Browser Compatibility

Reef works in all modern browsers, and IE 10 and above.

License

The code is available under the MIT License. DOMPurify is licensed under the Apache License 2.0.