Jan 282008

At Lotusphere in my session BP212: The Great Code Giveaway: “Beyond Cool” I showed a couple of widgets and a Grid based on the Dojo Toolkit. I’m going to show you how I did those in a couple of articles the next few days. Instead of going through the code line for line I’m just going to highlight some of the changed variables and code. All the code for these examples and demos can be found here.

Extending Dojo code

One of the really powerful things you can do with a large toolkit like Dojo is that you can extend a widget/class instead of having to change the underlying code in the toolkit itself. Instead of having to write all the code for your class you just extend an existing class and change the functions/variables you need to. You can also add your own variables and functions. Extending Dojo code is really easy. You create your own JavaScript file and “require” the existing class/widget.

dojo.declare("my.new.Widget", dijit.widgetToExtend, {
variablesToChange: "myNewValue",
functionToChange1: function(arg1){
//New code
functionToChange2: function(arg1, arg2){
//New code

In the example above we have extended a widget class called “dijit.widgetToExtend”. You would copy this JavaScript in a file named Widget.js inside a folder structure of “/my/new/” located parallel to the dijit, dojo and dojox folders. There are other places you can put your code but this is the simplest.

Using dojo.data

What is dojo.data?
Dojo.data is a uniform data access layer that removes the concepts of database drivers and unique data formats. All data is represented as an item or as an attribute of an item. With such a representation, data can be accessed in a standard fashion.

Ultimately, the goal of dojo.data is to provide a flexible set of APIs as interfaces that datastores can be written to conform to. Stores that conform to the standard interfaces should then be able to be used in a wide variety of applications, widgets, and so on interchangeably. In essence, the API hides the specific structure of the data, be it in JSON, XML, CSV, or some other data format, and provides one way to access items and attributes of items consistently.

The great thing about dojo.data stores are that they use a predefined way of getting/setting/updating code in the store. Whoever writes code for widgets that use stores does not have care about where the underlying data is located. It could come from a MySQL database, a XML file on the file system or now a Domino view.


I’ve added three variables to this class. You see them below with their default value.

parseTypes: false,
dateFormatLength: "short",
handleAsJSON: true,

parseTypes: Parses all view data into it’s correct format. Numbers become floats, dates become locale dates. Locale dates are dates that show up in the format that the current browser language want to show them.
dateFormatLength: If parseType is true, then show the date in this “length”. Can be long, short, medium or full.
handleAsJSON: Default is that all data from the Domino view is returned with JSON using the “&OutputFormat=JSON”. If you set this to false all data is retrieved using XML instead. JSON was not implemented on the Domino server until version 7.0.2 so if you use a server prior to this you need to set this variable to false.

There are five functions I want to mention briefly.

_filterResponse: Used for parsing view data in JSON format to the required format for a store.
_filterXMLResponse: Used for parsing view data in XML format to the required format for a store.
_returnColumnValue: Helper function to get the value for a specific object. Used from _filterResponse.
_returnEntryValue: Helper function to get the value for a specific XML node. Used from _filterXMLResponse.
_returnDateTime: Helper function to format the Domino date string to a dojo.date.locale.

That’s it for this time. Next time we’ll look at domino.form.ComboBox and domino.form.FilteringSelect that both use the domino.data.ViewStore. Happy coding.

  One Response to “Dojo data for Domino”

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