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Overview

A 4 layer framework

Aria Templates is designed as a stack of 4 layers that allow a partial usage of the framework: i.e. the first core layer can be used alone, the 2nd template layer only requires the core layer, and so on...

Layer #1: Aria core

The first layer provides core JavaScript features that are used to build the framework, such as:

  • a Java-inspired class syntax that simplifies the management of the (prototype-based) object inheritance
  • support for class namespaces
  • on-demand load support through static & dynamic class dependencies management
  • support for asynchronous programming, through asynchronous methods and generic callback patterns
  • support for interfaces, to support safe service layers
  • support for a simple XSD-inspired JSON grammar, coming with dynamic validators and normalizers
  • utility classes, such as AJAX Connection support, log Manager and AJAX response mocks to redirect dynamic calls to static files
  • and last but not least, a simple Js Unit framework supporting asynchronous tests and loading tests on-demand

Layer #2: Templates

The second layer provides the template engine used to generate and display any UI piece. This engine comes with many interesting features, such as:

Layer #3: Modules

The third layer provides the support for UI modules, that can be considered as mini application blocks, and as such are composed of files of different nature: JavaScript classes, JSON resources, HTML and CSS templates, image resources, etc. The interesting aspect of modules is that they can (and shall) be developed and tested independently and re-used in different applications or contexts. Modules can also load and interact with sub-modules in order to implement complex functionalities.

On a technical point of view, modules have to follow an MVC pattern where:

  • The Model is implemented as a JSON object, that can be specified with the JSON grammar
  • The View is implemented with a set of templates
  • The Controller is developed through JavaScript classes and is split in 2 entities:

    • A service controller (aka Module Controller) that implements the core functional features exposed through a Service interface
    • A flow controller - that technically belongs to the View layer - and that is in charge of managing the User Interface flow

Layer #4: Page Engine

Although full applications can be implemented with a root module driving a series of sub-modules, the general use case requires applications to

  • mix content - ideally user-generated and CMS-driven - with technical features implemented in modules
  • support pages that bind content, layout and modules to make up global views, that can easily be navigated back and forth
  • be adaptable enough to quickly integrate new content, modules or pages without any coding

These are the main features that will be provided by the page engine (to be released soon). Technically, it is implemented as a module that is able to read JSON page configurations and can dynamically load any module and manage page navigation.

Tools

Like most RIA frameworks, Aria Templates has developed a series of tools that aim at improving development efficiency and product optimizations:

  • The Aria Templates packager allows to minify and bundle JavaScript resources. It also generates unique file names so that different versions of the application will use different URLs, and as such will support web-proxy and browser caching
  • The Eclipse plugin provides an efficient template editor
  • The JS Doc generator allows to generate documentation for all the project classes - this is the same tool that is used to document the framework classes

Note: these tools have been originally developed in Java and are being migrated on node.js - which explains why they are not published yet.