key

  • typedef
can.stache.key

{String}

 

A named reference to a value in the scope or helper scope in a template.

String

A key specifies a value in the scope or options of a template being rendered. The key is used to look up a value in the scope.

What the key looks like changes the behavior of how a value is looked up in the scope. Keys can look like:

  • {{name}} - Single property name.
  • {{name.first}} - Multiple property names.
  • {{foo\\.bar}} - Single property name that includes a dot character.
  • {{./name}} - Single property in the current context.
  • {{../name}} - Single property in the parent context.
  • {{.}} or {{this}} - The current context.
  • {{../.}} - The parent context.
  • [email protected]}} - Pass the value at key, even if it's a function or a compute.
  • {{~key}} - Pass a compute as the key's value instead of the value.
  • {{*variable}} - Reference a value in template scope.
  • {{%key}} - A special value that is added to scope. Examples:
    • {{%index}} - The index of a value in an array or can.List.
    • {{%key}} - The property name of a value within an object or can.Map.
    • {{%element}} - The element an event was dispatched on.
    • {{%event}} - The event object.
    • {{%viewModel}} - The viewModel of the current element.

Use

A key references a value within the scope of a template being rendered. In the following example, the key is name:

<h1>{{name}}</h1>

If this template is rendered with:

{
  name: "Austin"
}

The template writes out:

<h1>Austin</h1>

A scope is a collection of multiple contexts. By default, a key walks up the scope to each context until it finds a value. For example, a template like:

{{first}} {{last}}
  {{#children}}
    {{first}} {{last}}
  {{/children}}

Rendered with:

{
  first: "Barry", last: "Meyer",
  children: [
    {first: "Kim", last: "Sully"},
    {first: "Justin"},
  ]
}

Writes out:

Barry Meyer
    Kim Sully
    Justin Meyer

When last is looked up on the {first: "Justin"} object and not found, it will then try to read the parent context's last property. This is why "Justin Meyer" is written out.

Keys have different operators that control the values that are looked up or the value that is returned:

  • value lookup EXPRESSION.key
  • current context ./key
  • parent context ../key
  • context . or this
  • special %special
  • template variable *key
  • at @key
  • compute ~key

Default key return values by expression and data types

Keys can have slightly different default behavior depending if they are used in:

when compared to the other places they are used:

Furthermore keys return different values depending on the data type.

In general:

  • Functions are called to get their return value. (Use the AT operator @ to prevent this).
  • Keys in helper expression arguments that find observable data return a can.compute that represents the value.
  • Keys in other expressions return the value.
  • If no observable data is found, the key's value is returned in all expressions.

The following illustrates what some.key would return given different data structures as a helper expression and in all other expressions.

// A non-observable JS object:
{some: {key: "value"}};
   // Helper -> "value"
   // Other  -> "value"

// A non-observable JS object w/ a function at the end
{some: {key: function(){ return "value"; }}}
   // Helper -> "value"
   // Other  -> "value"

// A non-observable JS object with intermeidate functions:
{some: function(){ return {key: "value"}}}
   // Helper -> "value"
   // Other  -> "value"

// A observable can.Map
{some: new can.Map({key: "value"})}
   // Helper -> can.compute("value")
   // Other  -> "value"

// A method on an observable can.Map that reads observables
var Some = can.Map.extend({key: function(){ return this.attr("value")}})
{some: new Some({value: "value"})}
   // Helper -> can.compute("value")
   // Other  -> "value"

context operators ./, ../, . and this

Sometimes, especially with recursive templates, you want to control which context is used to lookup. Adding ./ before the key name will only look up in the current context.

The following template:

{{first}} {{last}}
  {{#children}}
    {{first}} {{./last}}
  {{/children}}

Rendered with:

{
  first: "Barry", last: "Meyer",
  children: [
    {first: "Kim", last: "Sully"},
    {first: "Justin"},
  ]
}

Writes out:

Barry Meyer
    Kim Sully
    Justin 

Notice that {{./last}} returns nothing because there's no last property in the {first: "Justin"} object.

Adding ../ before a key will lookup the key starting in the parent context. By changing the previous template to:

{{first}} {{last}}
  {{#children}}
    {{first}} {{../last}}
  {{/children}}

It will write out:

Barry Meyer
    Kim Meyer
    Justin Meyer

You can use .././last to lookup last only in the parent context.

To write out the current context, write {{.}} or {{this}}. For example, a template like:

{{#each names}}{{.}} {{/each}}

With data like:

{names: ["Jan","Mark","Andrew"]}

Will write out:

Jan Mark Andrew 

at operator @

The AT operator indicates to return whatever value is at a key, regardless if it's a function or a compute.

The following illustrates what [email protected] would return given different data structures:

// A non-observable JS object:
{some: {key: "value"}} 
   //-> "value"

// A non-observable JS object w/ a function at the end
{some: {key: function(){ return "value"; }}}
   //-> function(){ return "value"; }

// A non-observable JS object with intermeidate functions:
{some: function(){ return {key: "value"}}}
   //-> "value"

// A observable can.Map
{some: new can.Map({key: "value"})}
   //-> "value"

// A method on an observable can.Map that reads observables
var Some = can.Map.extend({key: function(){ return this.attr("value")}})
{some: new Some({value: "value"})}
   //-> function(){ return this.attr("value")}

Where [email protected] returns a function, that function is "bound" via .bind(context) to the parent object. This means that calling the function will have this set to what is expected.

If the AT operator is used at the start of a key like:

{{method(@key)}}

This will return whatever is at the key property on the first context in the scope to have a non-undefined key value.

The AT operator can be used multiple times within a value lookup expression like:

{{method([email protected]@findAll)}}

compute operator ~

The compute operator can be used in non helper expressions to pass a compute instead of a value if an observable is found. This makes non-helper expression arguments behave similar to helper expression arguments.

The following illustrates what ~some.key would return given different data structures:

// A non-observable JS object:
{some: {key: "value"}} 
   //-> "value"

// A non-observable JS object w/ a function at the end
{some: {key: function(){ return "value"; }}}
   //-> "value"

// A non-observable JS object with intermeidate functions:
{some: function(){ return {key: "value"}}}
   //-> "value"

// A observable can.Map
{some: new can.Map({key: "value"})}
   //-> can.compute("value")

// A method on an observable can.Map that reads observables
var Some = can.Map.extend({key: function(){ return this.attr("value")}})
{some: new Some({value: "value"})}
   //-> can.compute(function(){ return this.attr("value")})

Notice that ~ should only be used once in a value lookup expression.

template variable operator *

Every template contains a context which is able to store values local to the template. Keys with * reference variables in that context.

Template variables are often used to pass data between components. <component-a> exports its propA value to the template variable *variable. This is, in turn, used to update the value of propB in <component-b>.

<component-a {^prop-a}="*variable"/>
<component-b {prop-b}="*variable"/>

Template variables are global to the template. Similar to JavaScript var variables, template variables do not have block leve scope. The following does not work:

{{#each something}}
    <component-a {^prop-a}="*variable"/>
    <component-b {prop-b}="*variable"/>
{{/each}}

To work around this, an localContext helper could be created as follows:

can.stache.regsiterHelper("localContext", function(options){
  return options.fn(new can.Map());
});

And used like:

{{#each something}}
    {{#localContext}}
      <component-a {^prop-a}="./variable"/>
      <component-b {prop-b}="./variable"/>
    {{/localContext}}
{{/each}}

special operator %

Event bindings and some helpers like {{#each key}} provide special values that start with % to prevent potential collisions with other values.

%index and %key

When looping over an array or can.List, you an use %index to write out the index of each property:

{{#each task}}
  <li>{{%index}} {{name}}</li>
{{/each}}

Indexes start at 0. If you want to start at 1, you can create a helper like:

can.stache.registerHelper('%indexNum', function(options){
  return options.scope.attr("%index")+1;
})

And use it like:

{{#each task}}
  <li>{{%indexNum}} {{name}}</li>
{{/each}}

%element

In an event binding, %element references the DOM element the event happened on:

<input ($click)="doSomething(%element.value)"/>

%event

In an event binding, %event references the dispatched event object:

<input ($click)="doSomething(%event)/>"

%viewModel

In an event binding, %viewModel references the view model of the current element:

<my-component (closed)="doSomething(%viewModel)"/>