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Two-way data binding in vanilla JS (POC)

phoinixi profile image Francesco Esposito Updated on ・3 min read

In a previous post, I was showing a basic implementation of one-way data binding in vanilla JS πŸ‘¨πŸΌβ€πŸ’».

As Front-end Engineers we mostly use libraries and/or frameworks to develop and maintain complex web apps, but what there is under the hood? Do you ask yourself that question? You don't!? Well, You should! πŸ™ƒ

In this post, I would like to extend the previous example to two-way data binding. πŸ•Ί

Two-way data binding πŸ€“

If you are not familiar with that concept, two-way data binding means that every change to the state is immediately propagated to the view (and vice-versa).

DEMO

demo

Let's break it down

What do we need to have two-way data binding?

  • A view, in our example HTML.
  • A state, kept in memory with JavaScript.

The Key feature is:

Every time the state changes, the view needs to be updated (one-way data binding)

but also

Every time the view changes, the state needs to be updated

So let's assume we have an HTML view:

    <div class="field">
        <label for="name">Enter your name:</label>
        <input id="name" type="text" name="name"  data-model="name" />
      </div>

      <div class="field">
        <label for="title">Enter your title:</label>
        <input id="title" type="text" name="title" data-model="title" />
      </div>

      <div class="results">
        <h1 data-binding="name"></h1>
        <h2 data-binding="title"></h2>
      </div>

and a state:

    const state = {
      name: 'Francesco',
      title: 'Front-end Developer'
    };

We can easily set the view the first time:

    document.querySelector('[data-binding="name"]').innerHTML = state.name
    document.querySelector('[data-binding="title"]').innerHTML = state.title
    document.querySelector('[data-model="name"]').value = state.name
    document.querySelector('[data-model="title"]').value = state.title

But we want some magic, so that when we update the state:

    state.name = 'Richard'
    state.title = 'Technical Lead'

the view should update too.

To achieve this, we could modify the default behaviour of the set property for the state object, so that other than update the state, it would also update our view.

One way to do that in JavaScript is using the Proxy Object:

    const createState = (state) => {
      return new Proxy(state, {
        set(target, property, value) {
          target[property] = value; // default set behaviour
          render(); // updates the view every time the state changes
          return true;
    }
      });
    };

    const state = createState({
      name = 'Francesco'
      title = 'Front-end Engineer'
    });

With the power of the Proxy every time we update our state, the render function will be called.
A possible implementation of render can be:

    const render = () => {
     document.querySelector('[data-binding="name"]').innerHTML = state.name;
     document.querySelector('[data-binding="title"]').innerHTML = state.title;
     document.querySelector('[data-model="name"]').value = state.name;
     document.querySelector('[data-model="title"]').value = state.title;
    };

We just miss the last little piece. Every time we modify the view, the state should change accordingly. We can obtain that adding an event listener to the inputs: 😎

    const listener = (event) => {
      state[event.target.dataset.model] = event.target.value;
    });

   document.querySelector('[data-model="name"]').addEventListener('keyup', listener);  
   document.querySelector('[data-model="title"]').addEventListener('keyup', listener);

And VoilΓ‘! Now the trick is complete! πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

More generic implementation (POC) 🌟

Posted on by:

phoinixi profile

Francesco Esposito

@phoinixi

Front-end Engineer πŸ‘¨πŸΌβ€πŸ’»with experience in JavaScript, TypeScript and Angular. I like experimenting with vanilla JavaScript, plain CSS and browser API.

Discussion

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Very helpful! Thanks a lot. :)
You have a typo in there:

    const state = createState({
      name = 'Francesco'
      title = 'Front-end Engineer'
    });

Should be

    const state = createState({
      name: 'Francesco',
      title: 'Front-end Engineer'
    });
 

Thanks for the article. How would you expand on this?
Unless I am understanding it wrong, It looks like the render function updates everything that has a binding. Would you make it so that it only updates the bindings that had changes?

 

Yes. You are right. Here is the updated code.

const createState = (state) => {
return new Proxy(state, {
set(target, property, value) {
target[property] = value; // default set behaviour
render(property); // updates the view every time the state changes
return true;
}
});
};

const state = createState({
name: '',
title: ''
});

const render = (property) => {
document.querySelector([data-model=${property}]).value = state[property];
};

const listener = (event) => {
const {type, value, dataset} = event.target;
state[dataset.model] = value;
};

document.querySelector('[data-model="name"]').addEventListener('keyup', listener);

document.querySelector('[data-model="title"]').addEventListener('keyup', listener);

 

Helpful article, thanks πŸ˜‹

 

Great will try this on smaller projects.

 

Thanks for this info!

Maybe the next one would be a two-way binding for a list.