Category Archives: Coding

Immutable.js .get() vs. .getIn()

At Sprout Social in some areas of our frontend app we use Immutable.js for our Redux store.

Standardizing Selector Styles.

When selecting state out of our store we’ve written a collection of selectors to consolidate selectors logic. We’ve always write these selectors in array notation to keep styles consistent.

In theory we could share our array paths between our selectors and our reducers as constant. In addition lodash also supports array styled paths for _.get() which can be convenient for sharing paths.

With all selectors written in array notation, for Immutable.js we use .getIn() by default — regardless if the path is only one key deep.

Immutable.js .get() vs. .getIn()

However it is always faster to do a .get() than a .getIn() , namely because for a .getIn() Immutable will have to iterate through an array and check the resulting path along the way. This therefore makes .get() ultimately cheaper.

Abstract .getIn()

So if we wish to keep all selectors a consistent style, but take advantage of .get() whenever possible, the first thing to do is to create an abstraction for Immutable .getIn() — something like this:

Add .get() to the abstraction.

How could we get this handy abstraction to take advantage of .get() whenever possible?
We could peak into the arrayPath , if there is only one value, use plain old get. In addition we may want to make sure no developer is expecting to use . notation paths.

But is it performant?

Array length checking and string checking is cheap. With a quick little JSPerf test we can see immediately with these checks, using .get() is still more than twice as fast as .getIn().

https://jsperf.com/immutable-get-getin-path-check/1

In the end

In the end, this is a micro optimization. However, we saw ~30ms to ~150ms speedups for for various actions in the app. It really depends on the how often your selectors run. We have a large number of selectors that fire quite a bit. With such a small change, we’ll gladly take any performance boost over 100ms.

Don’t worry about the abstraction, just remember to prefer.get() over .getIn() whenever possible.

Pro tip: Same goes for .set() / .setIn() and .update() / .updateIn(), etc.

React “statePropsPrecalculationError” and TypeError ‘state’ of undefined

Debugging a React component can be a pain.

There are many causes for “statePropsPrecalculationError”, for debugging see my post on Debugging React statePropsPrecalculationError post.

When you specifically have ” ‘state’ of undefined” the fix is simple:

Recently I ran into “statePropsPrecalculationError” alongside with the the console warning TypeError: Cannot read property ‘state’ of undefined(…)`.

This is super easy to fix, but not immediately obvious. Whenever you use `this.setState()` inside your component, you must define your initial state!

Just add a `getInitialState()` definition!


const MyComponent = React.createClass({
getInitialState() {
return {
isOpen: false
};
},
toggleOpen() {
this.setState({isOpen: !this.state.isOpen});
},
render() {
return (

Hello World!

);
}
});

Code: Regex for Instagram Username and Hashtags

Instagram is unique when it comes to it’s rules for usernames and hashtags. Here is one take at create a regex to detect them in JavaScript.

The rules

  • Two matches @ mentions with no space between @thebox193@discodude
  • Matches with one . in them @disco.dude but not two .. @disco..dude
  • Ending period not matched @discodude.
  • Match underscores _ @_disco__dude_
  • Max characters of 30 @1234567890123456789012345678901234567890

The RegEx

(?:@)([A-Za-z0-9_](?:(?:[A-Za-z0-9_]|(?:\.(?!\.))){0,28}(?:[A-Za-z0-9_]))?)
Instagram username RegEx

Examples

You can try it out over on Debuggex. Here is a an example implemented in JavaScript.

LoDash.js / Underscore.js mixins

Here are a few mixins I’ve created for LoDash.js I’ve found handy.

_.getDeep

/**
* Safely retrieves the value of a deeply nested object value
* @param {object} O The Object to be searched
* @param {string} str Dot notation string of the address of the attribute to be retrieved
* @return {mixed} Value of nested item or undefined
* @link http://stackoverflow.com/a/15400575/417822
*/
_.mixin({'getDeep': function(O, str) {
if ( !_.isObject(O) ) return;

var seg= str.split('.');
while(O && seg.length) {
O = O[seg.shift()];
}
return O;
}});

_.hasDeep

/**
* Tests if a deep value has a value/exists. Uses _.getDeep to retrieve value.
* @param {object} O The Object to be tested
* @param {string} str Dot notation string of the address of the attributed to be tested
* @return {boolean}
* @todo validate that falesy values 'false' '0' etc come back as true.
*/
_.mixin({'hasDeep': function(O, str) {
return !_.isUndefined( _.getDeep(O, str) );
}});

_.isDefined
Because typing !_.isUndefined() all the time is tiresome. Using _.isDefined is clear and more readable.

/**
* Shorthand for !_.isUndefined
* @param {mixed} e Item to be tested
* @return {boolean}
*/
_.mixin({'isDefined': function(e) {
return !_.isUndefined(e);
}});

_.compactObject

/**
* Removes all falsy and undefined values from an object
* @param {object} o Object to be compacted
* @return {object} Compact Object
* @link http://stackoverflow.com/a/14058408/417822
*/
_.mixin({'compactObject': function(o) {
var clone = _.clone(o);

_.each(clone, function(v, k) {
if(!v) delete clone[k];
});

return clone;
}});

_.compactObject

/**
* Toggles an array element
* @param {Array} arr Source Array
* @param {Mixed} val Value to toggle
* @param {Boolean} Optional: Boolean to determine whether to add or remove
* @return {Array} Result
*/
_.mixin({'arrayToggle': function(arr, val, state) {
if ( _.indexOf(arr,val)==-1 || state)
return _.union(arr,[val]);
else
return _.without(arr,val);
}});

Code: Data structure

In my understanding there are different types of data. Each is unique in purpose, mutability, and scope. Clearly identifying the role of an attribute and grouping it with related ones creates a cleaner interface to work with.

Raw Attributes

The raw data that is persisted to the server.

This data should be treated as if immutable, unless planning to persist a change of one of the values to the database. This is the once source of ‘truth’ that is trustworthy. If it is reformatted, or changed it looses its trustworthiness.

user: {
 firstName: 'Phil',
 lastName: 'McCool',
 username: 'pmccool'
}

Computed Values

Take in Raw Data, and reformat it for later use.

More often than not these are a convince to remove the need to repeat logic throughout the app.

If there is an urge to create a value here to describe the model’s content ‘isAdmin’, ‘fullName’, there is a good chance these ought to be part of the data schema to start with.

They can come at a cost of being computed but not always needed everywhere throughout the app. Alternately getter functions could be used to allow a more ‘on-demand’ approach (add result caching and get the both of both worlds).

computed: {
 fullName: 'Phil McCool',
 shortName: 'Phil M.',
 numberVowels: 3
}

State

Describing the state status, of either the data or of the component/view.

State data describes progress or what things are doing currently – [changing, updating, modified]. While these are similar to configuration items, they mutable are more closely tied to the model data describing what is happening to it. If their were multiple components/views that display the same model, they may all want to know the current state of the data. It’s meta data to the data.

These values should update frequently.

state: {
 isLoading: false,
 isModified: true,
 page: 4
}

Configuration

How something should be displayed or behave.

These ought be on the component/view that is rendering the item. It describes the preferences of how something should behave or be displayed. Think of them as options, ways to deviate from the norm, an API for this component/view.

A component/view should have a set of defaults for these values to fall back upon.

Config attributes can make it tempting to overload abstraction. Draw a line of making a new component/view when the core functionality has config options that cause different logic paths.

config: {
 size: 'large',
 template: 'card',
 color: 'blue'
}

 


Take Aways

It can be very tempting to merge or stuff configuration and state data right into the model data. It’s convenient, but lazy. It taints the raw data. If put an ‘isLoading’: true value into our data model then persist it to the server, we ought to feel like we did something wrong.

Ideally we would be able to group data in our actual data structures, but at minimum, we can always just keep in mind the role of an attribute and group mentally.

TL;DR

  • Not all data is alike.
  • Don’t mutate / override original data
  • Computed, State, and Config data shouldn’t be mixed in with raw data.

Code: jquery.otherdropdown.js

Today I published my first node npm package and bower package – jquery.otherdropdown! For quite a while I’ve been reusing a simple code snippet that made it possible for a user to add their own custom response to a select dropdown. I never thought I would publish it.

The principle is simple, in a list of options when the ‘other’ response is selected, prompt the user to specify what they mean. Try out the demo.

jquery.otherdropdown

I’ve seen forms that add an additional input, but it’s effective – but feels choppy to the user. Processing the data can also be slightly more complex when you have to check for a value that may or may not exist.

A long while ago I wrote a script (before jQuery was prevelent) that manipulated the DOM to give the effect I was after. Since then it’s been modified and switched to use jQuery and made it into a plugin.

The functionality is all self contained and pretty simple to use.  Use jQuery to get the select dropdown and runn the plugin on it:

$('.myDropdown').otherdropdown();

Publishing it to Bower I realized could be helpful not only to me but to everyone. Why not give it a go? Many things needed to be done, make it flexible with options for customization, create documentation and demos, and sharpen up the code. After several hours it was ready to go!

It’s been fun to work on. More complex idea are cooking.

Code: Laravel Scope Query on a Model

Let’s talk a bit about scoped queries in Laravel. First here is a basic Book Eloquent Model with two handy scopes for type and fewerPagesThan.

//Book Model
class Book extends Eloquent {
public function scopeType( $query, $type ) {
return $query->where( 'books.type', '=', $type );
}

public function scopeFewerPagesThan( $query, $pages ) {
return $query->where( 'books.pages', '<=', $pages ); } }

Using scoping

I often see confusion when we try to use scoping. Some would expect the following to give them back all 'autobiography' books:


Book::type('autobiography'); // This works right? Nope!

But it doesn't. Scoping functions will only refine your query. For instance all the following are great examples of using scoping:


Book::type('autobiography')->get();
Book::with('author')->type('autobiography')->get();
Book::fewerPagesThan(500)->type('autobiography')->get();

Building up scopes

When using scopes to refine and filter down which Models to retrieve, you will always need to add a ->get() at the end. This allows you can chain multiple "scopes" onto each other as in the 3rd example. Basically it needs to know when you are done filtering down and when to actually hit the database.

So the 3rd example could be broken down like this to really drive home the point:


$maxPages = 500;

$books = new Book();
$books->type('autobiography');
if( $maxPages )
$books->fewerPagesThan($maxPages);
$opportunities->get();

In every case before the ->get() call $books var is a Eloquent/Builder that is being built up.

After the ->get() call $books var gets overwritten with an Eloquent/Collection that has been filled with our data from the database.

This is a very powerful and flexible to way to scope and filter down models that are in your database. It is better to filter them down with scopes in the DB query than filter down a collection that has already been loaded into memory. Make the your DB do some weight lifting for you. 😉

Code: Backbone.js Selecting Elements with jQuery

Found a very nice succinct way to get a jQuery rapped DOM element that is within a subView in Backbone. using `this.$( )`. This is pretty handy because it traverses only DOM elements within the current view instead of the entire DOM tree.

Inside a backbone view:

this.$('.myElement')

Inside an event

this.$('.myElement') or $(argument1.currentEvent).find('.myElement')

Inside a Model / Collection:

You shouldn’t, that’s the View’s responsibility

Code: Getting multiple specific Laravel models

I had a case where I had an array of model ids, and I wanted to return a collection of these models. That is I had a list of model ids, but it appeared no nice way to get all of them at once. However from the 4.2 API docs you can see that the find() should be able to return either a Model, or a Collection of models.

Find()

Naturally to get one model just use:
User::find( $id );
You could loop over the ::find() to pull each one manually, but that will result in multiple unnecessary queries to the database right? Who wants that?

Find() with Array

Here is a quite simple approach that Eloquent supports that seems quite obvious after you see it. You can just pass an array of model ids right to the find() function!

$arr = array($id1, $id2, $id3);
User::find( $arr );

This will return a collection of models just as you would expect, no fussing around with loops.  A simple way to get Multiple Specific Laravel Models by Id.

Script: Delayed Sleep / Hibernate

I often sleep or hibernate my computer when I’m finished for the night so I can resume where I left off in the morning.

Problem: I was listening to some music I figured I’d like to fall asleep to. However, I don’t allow my pc to fall asleep on its own. So how could I (for just this one time) set a delayed Hibernate?

With a batch command naturally!

timeout /t 1200 /nobreak && rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState 0,1,0

There you have it. Timeout + Hibernate/Sleep. A silly solution for a silly problem.