At the Forge - Dojo
Each of these pieces of functionality is available inside of a separate package, which is both loaded and identified with a hierarchical name structure. Thus, all Dojo functions begin with dojo (for example, dojo.declare and dojo.debug), and they are loaded as part of a similarly named hierarchy.
Loading a Dojo package is as simple as putting:
inside your HTML. You can load more than one package, using multiple invocations of dojo.require. Dojo's package loader is smart enough to take care of any dependencies that might exist.
var myNode = document.getElementById("target");
Dojo allows us to abbreviate this to:
var myNode = dojo.byId("target");
This is not quite as short as Prototype's $() operator, but it is still a significant improvement, making programs both shorter and more readable.
Dojo also provides some new mechanisms to work with arrays and other enumerated lists. For example, it provides a foreach loop:
The above code causes iterationFunctionName to be invoked once for each element of arrayName. Thus, we could say:
var names = ["Atara", "Shikma", "Amotz"]; dojo.lang.forEach(names, alert);
to print each of these names in an alert box. Dojo provides several other convenient functions for use with arrays, including dojo.map (which invokes an operation on each element of an array, producing a new array as a result) and dojo.filter (which returns an array of those items for which a function returns true). Stylistically, the documentation for Prototype seems to encourage users to write inline functions, whereas the Dojo documentation encourages users to write named functions and then refer to them. However, you can adopt whichever style is more appealing to you.
One of the easiest parts of Dojo to begin using is its collection of widgets. From the time that HTML forms were first standardized, Web developers have wanted a richer set of widgets from which to choose, in order to provide applications that resemble—in style, as well as power—parallel widgets available for desktop applications. Dojo provides a number of such widgets, making it possible to include rich-text editors, sliders and combo boxes in our programs.
For example, we might want to use the Dojo rich-text editor, allowing people to write using more than the plain text that a <textarea> tag provides. We can do that simply by creating a <div> and giving it a class of dojo-Editor:
<div class="dojo-Editor"> Hello from the Dojo editor! </div>
Once we have done this (producing the file shown in Listing 1), we suddenly have a rich-text editor at our disposal. This is wonderful, except for one thing—how do we submit the HTML-formatted file to an application on our server? One method would be to use Ajax to save the contents of our div on a regular basis, submitting its contents to the server without any need for explicit saving. And, indeed, this is what many Web-based applications, including word processors and spreadsheets, have done. No longer do you need to save documents; you simply work with them, and you can expect the computer to save what you've done reliably.
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