Patterns – Using Ext JS Sequence and Intercept
I'm going to run through the usage of a little unknown feature of Ext JS called Sequence and Intercept. These are a pair of related methods built into Ext JS that we can use to add functionality or add fixes to the library without having to override or create a new component. Why is this important? We will take a look at our options to get an idea of the restrictions imposed by each of them, but first I want to frame this all with a scenario.
Scenario (our use case)
Our goal here is to create a 'required' indicator on all form fields by setting a required flag on the configuration object of each component - in our case, form fields. The code base (the web app) is already in place, so this is a web application that has been completed and is in use.
We have a few options available to make this happen:
Lets take a look at the benefits and problems imposed by these methods.
Of course one way to get what we want is to override a particular method in the component were using. If were lucky, there is a stub function in place that we can use, but more often than not, this is not the case. What were left with is having to copy code from the library source files and modify it to fit our needs - not the optimal solution. This means that each time the Ext JS codebase is updated, we need to check the changes against our overridden copy. This is a maintenance nightmare, though there are cases where this is the optimal solution.
Extend (new Component)
The better of our two options is the Extend method. This way creates a copy of the component that we can modify to fit our needs. Not a bad solution all and all. The two problems here are that any components that inherit from our extended component will not get our new functionality, and we now have a copy of the component with a new name, so each place we use that component needs to use our updated component name, ie: 'mysupertextfield' instead of 'textfield'. Again, not a big deal, but if I already have a complete web app, and im adding a bit of functionality to a common component, I don't want to have to run a find/replace on the entirety of my code.
My personal favorite in this situation is to add our functionality either before or after an existing method. The intercept method of Ext JS takes whatever function you provide and executes it right before whatever method in the component you specify. The function we define is also executed in the same scope as the method were intercepting.
With this override, we can use the existing allowBlank flag to trigger the required indicator
In this case, intercept seems to be the perfect fit, allowing us to add a visual required indicator to each component that is extended from the Field base class. The one downside I see here is that this code is executed every single time a field is created, so be sure to make it lean.
We could also use Sequence to achieve this, which uses the same syntax and concept as Intercept, but executes after the method we define has executed instead of before. The order of execution is like this:
- Method (ie: initComponent)
I hope this has helped. Over the next few weeks I will be blogging about the many Ext JS patterns available, their pros and cons, and practical usage. Each one will have code paired with it on Github.