Routing

The routes

Inside Modules and Components there is access to a pre-defined attribute:

self.router

This gives access to the routing engine, which is controlled by routes definitions given in the topmost module and sub-routes in sub-modules thereof. Notice that unlike bindings and services which can be defined in both Modules and Components: routes cannot be defined in components.

Let’s see a real definition from the Tour of Pyroes Part 5 - Navigation sample.

routes = [
    {
        'path': '',
        'redirect_to': '/dashboard',
        'path_match': 'full'
    },
    {
        'path': 'dashboard',
        'component': DashboardComponent
    },
    {
        'path': 'pyroes',
        'component': PyroesComponent
    },
    {
        'path': 'detail',
        'component': PyroDetailComponent,
        'params': {'pyd': int},  # param transformation function
    },
]

As you may see above, the routes is a list (or iterable) of dict entries. Let’s try to bring light to the definitions.

The most usual aspect for an entry will probably be this.

{
    'path': 'dashboard',
    'component': DashboardComponent
},

The route defines a:

  • path, i.e.: the matching pattern for the route. In this case we have dashboard, so that this will be matched:

    baseurl/dashboard
    

    Obviously, we don’t have to care about baseurl in the definition of the route, because our app can be located and relocated to different servers, paths.

  • component, i.e.: which component will be instantiated when the route is a match.

    Actually, a component is not always instantiated. Ideally this will only happen once. All other times when navigating to/from the route, the component (and the associated html) will be loaded and unloaded. See Component for details about loading and unloading.

    Note

    Although not shown here, the code in Part 5 - Navigation contains an import statement for Dashboardcomponent to make it visible inside the module and avoid an error.

Route Rendering

When navigating to the route and the route is a match and a component has to be rendered on-screen, the following (basically) happens

  • Within the hierarchy of the current component (if any) a <router-outlet> tag is sought.
  • If none is found, the default behavior is to generate one in-place.
  • Be it the found one or the generated one, the <router-outlet> tag becomes the parent node for the rendering of the component.
  • The component is then given the chance to render itself underneath <router-outlet>..
  • The component is told it is loading into the DOM by calling the method with the same name.

When navigating away from the route the following (basically) happens

  • The component is told it is unloading from the DOM by calling the method with the same name.
  • The <router-outlet> tag is emptied (the component’s html is removed fromt he DOM).

Additionally:

  • Navigating to and away from routes can be controlled with authentication guards/deactivation controls.

More on that later.

Defining parameters for routes

{
    'path': 'detail',
    'component': PyroDetailComponent,
    'params': {'pyd': int},  # param transformation function
},

This component adds a parameter entry:

'params': {'pyd': int},  # param transformation function

Which includes a remark that {'pyd': int} is a transformation function. A URL is a text string and parameters are therefore when parse also text. The possibility to specify a transformation function means that components don’t have to care about the details. The details are being taken care of for them.

A sample URL with parameters (also from the tutorial sample reference above):

http://127.0.0.1:2222/detail;pyd=13

Before our PyroDetailComponent is given a chance to act, the router knows it has to parse the parameter and transform that to an int. The parameter is later available for the component under self.params. Actual code from the sample.

def loading(self):
    self.pyro_service \
        .get_pyro(self.params.get('pyd', 0)) \
        .subscribe(self.pyro_)  # fetch async and fire self.pyro_ when done

As anyone can guess: self.params is a dict. Hence possibility to do:

self.params.get('pyd', 0)

The reader may have been expecting this though:

self.params['pyd']

But this wouldn’t work if someone had wrongly pasted this URL in the browser:

http://127.0.0.1:2222/detail

Because there would be no pyd parameter. And that’s why the code tries to play nice and issue a get('pyd', 0)

Rest Matching and Redirection

There is another entry which looks different in the above routes definition

{
    'path': '',
    'redirect_to': '/dashboard',
    'path_match': 'full'
},

The path definition is empty and a 'path_match': 'full' is given which translates to

  • If nothing else remains to be matched in the route, then do the defined action

In this case it dpes not load a component but specifies a:

'redirect_to': '/dashboard',

to redirect to a different path. Notice that

  • The route definitions have no leading / because they are transformed internally to be baseurl/path
  • But when redirecting, we could be issuing a relative redirect (relative to the current path) or an absolute. In this case the redirect is absolute

Child Routes

Via the routes definition

Yes, they are also possible. Let’s see the routes from the Advanced Tourer Sample sample.

routes = [
    {
        'path': 'compose',
        'component': ComposeMessageComponent,
        'outlet': 'popup'
    },
    {
        'path': 'disaster-center',
        'load_children': [DisasterCenterModule]
    },
    {
        'path': 'admin',
        'load_children': [AdminModule]
        'can_activate', [AuthGuard],
    },

    {'path': '', 'redirect_to': '/superpyroes', 'path_match': 'full'},
    {'path': '*', 'component': PageNotFoundComponent},
]

The key here is the load_children:

{
    'path': 'disaster-center',
    'load_children': [DisasterCenterModule]
},

In this case there is only 1 sub-module: DisasterCenterModule. Any routes defined in this module will be loaded and treated as chil routes of our main module. And

  • They will be available under the defined path:

    'path': 'disaster-center',
    

Benefits and goals of this:

  • Breaking the functionality into different, separated and isolated pieces to simplify and facilitate development
  • Having full modules which can act as a main module or as a sub-module. The DisasterCenterModule could be conceived as a complete application, which in this case is being created under the main AppModule.
  • Being able to replace the DisasterCenterModule with something else very easily thanks to separation and isolation
Cascading Child Routes

The reasoning about including a fully-fledged module (DisasterCenterModule) as a sub-module of another module, opens up the possibility that the sub-module could have its own child routes defined. And yes, it is. From that sample, the set of routes defined by DisasterCenterModule

class DisasterCenterModule(Module):

    services = {
        'disaster_service': DisasterService,
    }

    routes = [{
        'path': '',
        'component': DisasterCenterComponent,
        'children': [
            {
                'path': '',
                'component': DisasterListComponent,
                'children': [
                    {
                        'path': '',
                        'component': DisasterDetailComponent,
                        'params': {'did': int},  # transformation function
                    },
                    {
                        'path': '',
                        'component': DisasterCenterHomeComponent,
                    }
                ]
            }
        ]
    }]

It’s not only that it is defining children, it is already nesting them. In this case not loading them from any other module but simply defining them as children. In this manner, one can define a hierarchy of components. See:

'path': '',
'component': DisasterCenterComponent,
'children': [

Which translates to:

  • As a route I am adding nothing to the path, so the current match is valid.
  • As a route I am simply saying that a component named DisasterCenterComponent has to be loaded
  • And please be aware that I have children

If we carry on:

'path': '',
'component': DisasterListComponent,
'children': [

There is a second iteration which is exactly like the previous. The most important part in both definitions is, possibly, that they are adding nothing to the path and therefore have no influence for the matching process.

Further descending, the final children:

{
    'path': '',
    'component': DisasterDetailComponent,
    'params': {'did': int},  # transformation function
},
{
    'path': '',
    'component': DisasterCenterHomeComponent,
}

Both again ... have no content for path. This at the end of the day means that they add nothing for the matching when it comes down to the path. The main path will be valid for both.

But notice that:

'params': {'did': int},  # transformation function

There is a params definition for the first of the two chilren. This is the tie breaker.

  • If there is param and matches did our first child and the component DiasterDetailComponent will be a winner
  • If there is no param or match, our 2nd child wins and the DisasterCenterHomeComponent will be loaded

Via the module directive

In that same sample, the following is made to load child routes

class AppModule(Module):
    components = AppComponent

    modules = PyroesModule, LoginModule

    ...

In this case two sub-modules are being added to the hierarchy of AppModule. And every route defined in those components will be made a child route of the main routes definition.

Of course, and because no path definition is possible:

  • The child routes from PyroesModule and LoginModule will be made available under the root path: /.

Non matching routes

From the Advanced Tourer Sample sample:

{'path': '*', 'component': PageNotFoundComponent},

Use '*' or '**' to mark a route which will take over if all other routes were not a match for the current path. In this case the action is:

  • Load the component PageNotFoundComponent

It could also have been a redirect to the root path as in:

{'path': '*', 'redirect_to': '/'},

Guards - Route Activation

A route can be guarded from entering/leaving it. The reasons for it:

  • A page may be login protected.
  • A page may be permission protected, i.e.: you may be logged in but your permissions may not be enough to access a specific section.
  • A page may allow navigation away from it after confirming that changes to a text field don’t have to be saved.
  • A page may ask you if you really want to log-out.

Although it was not mentioned before, the definitions above from the Advanced Tourer Sample already contained an entering guard. Let’s recall it

...
from .auth_guard_service import AuthGuard
...

routes = [
    {
        'path': 'compose',
        'component': ComposeMessageComponent,
        'outlet': 'popup'
    },
    {
        'path': 'disaster-center',
        'load_children': [DiasterCenterModule]
    },
    {
        'path': 'admin',
        'load_children': [AdminModule]
        'can_activate', [AuthGuard],
    },

    {'path': '', 'redirect_to': '/superpyroes', 'path_match': 'full'},
    {'path': '*', 'component': PageNotFoundComponent},
]

where the key is:

...
from .auth_guard_service import AuthGuard
...


    {
        'path': 'admin',
        'load_children': [AdminModule]
        'can_load', [AuthGuard],
    },

Entering the 'admin' path (and with it the entire AdminModule) is guarded by AuthGuard. Let’s have a look to see what it is doing

from anpylar import AuthGuard


class AuthGuard(AuthGuard):

    def can_activate(self, route):
        return self.check_login(route.path)

    def can_activate_child(self, route):
        return self.can_activate(route)

    def check_login(self, path):
        if self.auth_service.is_logged:
            return True

        self.auth_service.redir_path = path
        self.router.route_to('/login', session_id=1234567890)
        return False

It can be easily spotted that the key method is:

def can_activate(self, route):
    return self.check_login(route.path)

The main activation control:

  • def can_activate(self, route)

    Takes a route parameter, which contains the details of the actual route to be activated and

    • Returns True if the route can be activated
    • Returns False if the route cannot be activated

In this case the work is delegated to another method of the guard which:

  • Will redirect to /login with a session_id if the user was not previously logged in.

Route De-Activation

Once a route is active, the component has taken over and that’s why deactivation is delegated to the Component. Using code from the advance router

class DisasterDetailComponent(Component):
    ...

    def can_deactivate(self):
        if not self.edit_did or self.selected.name == self.edit_name:
            return True

        # dialog_service is in the main module
        return self.dialog_service.confirm('Discard changes?')

Skipping most of the code from DisasterDetailComponent allows us to focus on the can_deactivate method.

It has to:

  • Return True if one can navigate away
  • Return False if one cannot navigate away

It may:

  • Return an Observable which will finally generate either True of False

    This is exactly what’s being made in this case with:

    return self.dialog_service.confirm('Discard changes?')
    

    A dialog is presented to the user and to avoid blocking things, the result will be piped through an Observable

The details of subscribing to the observable and using the result to carry on with navigation are fully managed by the platform.

Routing in components

The self.router attribute

Components have access to the routing engine via the self.router attribute. And with it, it can use it to:

  • Go backwards: self.router.back()

  • Go forward: self.router.forward()

  • Go somewhere:

    self.route_to(pathname, **kwargs)
    

With this last method in the hand we could have created the <a ... from above like this:

def render_pyroes(self, pyroes):
    for pyro in pyroes:
        with html.li() as li:  # per-pyro list item
            # per-pyro anchor routing path with parameter pyd
            with html.a():
                # use p=pyro to avoid the closure from using the last pyro
                a._bindx.click(lambda p=pyro: self.goto_to(p))

def goto_to(self, pyro):
    self.router.route_to('/detail', pyd=pyro.pyd)

It may seem pointless in this small example, but one could foressee a lot of additional processing in the goto_to method before actually invoking the router to route_to somewhere.

Named Outlet Routing

In addition to the regular routing to the <router-outlet> tag, named outlet routing is also possible. The syntax:

<router-outlet name="the-outlet-name">

This functionality is intended for a kind of dialog/form service, in which content can:

  • Be shown in a specific tag, rather than relying on regular routing mechanics
  • Be carried over from standard route to standard route
  • Closing is controlled by the component which is rendering inside the tag

Routing to a named outlet

The routing control happens inside a routes directive. The syntax:

{
    'path': 'path-to-intercept',
    'component': ComponentToRender,
    'outlet': 'name-of-the-outlet'
},

A working sample from the tutorial/tourer/index sample:

{
    'path': 'compose',
    'component': ComposeMessageComponent,
    'outlet': 'popup'
},

Closing a named outlet

As explained above, the content inside a named outlet will be carried over when the application routes from a standard route (unnamed outlet) to another. The contents inside the named outlet will remain inside the outlet.

Note

This of course unless the entire surrounding tag is told to empty itself and re-render something else.

See the tutorial/tourer/index for an example of how the named outlet (declared at top level) is carried over.

This means that extra functionality is needed for the controlling component to decide (using an event for example) when the named outlet has to be closed (i.e.: the component stops rendering inside)

This is achieved via the method:

Component.close_outlet()

See Component for the details.