Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2013 (Bloomington, MN) with:

Mixing Static Content With ngSwitch And ngSwitchWhen In AngularJS

By Ben Nadel on

With AngularJS, you cannot mix static content in with ngSwitchWhen elements inside of your ngSwitch container. Executing a switch-statement like this makes sense when you're dealing with a scripting context; however, when you're building and HTML DOM tree, this limitation can feel somewhat unnecessary. And, it doesn't have to be that way. The only reason it doesn't work now is because the ngSwitchWhen and ngSwitchDefault directives don't report their anchoring element - they only report their transclude functions. If, however, we tweak the code to keep track of the various anchoring elements, ngSwitch can easily contain both static and dynamic content.


 
 
 

 
  
 
 
 

View this demo in my JavaScript-Demos project on GitHub.

In the following code, I'm going to use both ngSwitch and bnSwitch directives. In spirit, these two sets of directives do exactly the same thing. The only difference is that ngSwitch appends the case element, where as bnSwitch injects the case element after the case's "anchor" node (ie, the HTML comment node that is left in the DOM as part of the transclusion process).

  • <!doctype html>
  • <html ng-app="Demo" ng-controller="AppController">
  • <head>
  • <meta charset="utf-8" />
  •  
  • <title>
  • Mixing Static Content With ngSwitch / ngSwitchWhen In AngularJS
  • </title>
  •  
  • <style type="text/css">
  •  
  • a[ ng-click ] {
  • cursor: pointer ;
  • text-decoration: underline ;
  • }
  •  
  • p.static {
  • border: 1px solid #CCCCCC ;
  • color: #999999 ;
  • font-size: 10px ;
  • font-style: italic ;
  • padding: 5px 5px 5px 5px ;
  • }
  •  
  • p.dynamic {
  • border: 1px solid #FF3399 ;
  • padding: 5px 5px 5px 5px ;
  • }
  •  
  • </style>
  • </head>
  • <body>
  •  
  • <h1>
  • Mixing Static Content With ngSwitch / ngSwitchWhen In AngularJS
  • </h1>
  •  
  • <p>
  • <a ng-click="showContent( 1 )">One</a> -
  • <a ng-click="showContent( 2 )">Two</a> -
  • <a ng-click="showContent( 3 )">Three</a>
  • </p>
  •  
  • <h2>
  • Using ngSwitch
  • </h2>
  •  
  • <div ng-switch="content">
  •  
  • <p class="static">
  • Before all the case statements.
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p ng-switch-default class="dynamic">
  • Hello from dynamic content One!
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p class="static">
  • Mixed in the middle...
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p ng-switch-when="content-2" class="dynamic">
  • Hello from dynamic content Two!
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p class="static">
  • Mixed in the middle...
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p ng-switch-when="content-3" class="dynamic">
  • Hello from dynamic content Three!
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p class="static">
  • After all the case statements.
  • </p>
  •  
  • </div>
  •  
  • <h2>
  • Using bnSwitch ( aka, My Tweaked Version )
  • </h2>
  •  
  • <div bn-switch="content">
  •  
  • <p class="static">
  • Before all the case statements.
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p bn-switch-default class="dynamic">
  • Hello from dynamic content One!
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p class="static">
  • Mixed in the middle...
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p bn-switch-when="content-2" class="dynamic">
  • Hello from dynamic content Two!
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p class="static">
  • Mixed in the middle...
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p bn-switch-when="content-3" class="dynamic">
  • Hello from dynamic content Three!
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p class="static">
  • After all the case statements.
  • </p>
  •  
  • </div>
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • <!-- Load scripts. -->
  • <script
  • type="text/javascript"
  • src="../../vendor/jquery/jquery-2.0.3.min.js">
  • </script>
  • <script
  • type="text/javascript"
  • src="../../vendor/angularjs/angular-1.0.7.min.js">
  • </script>
  • <script type="text/javascript">
  •  
  •  
  • // Create an application module for our demo.
  • var app = angular.module( "Demo", [] );
  •  
  •  
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  •  
  •  
  • // I control the root of the application.
  • app.controller(
  • "AppController",
  • function( $scope ) {
  •  
  • // Default to the first content item.
  • $scope.content = "content-1";
  •  
  •  
  • // ---
  • // PUBLIC METHODS.
  • // ---
  •  
  •  
  • // I show the content item at the given index.
  • $scope.showContent = function( index ) {
  •  
  • $scope.content = ( "content-" + index );
  •  
  • };
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  •  
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  •  
  •  
  • // I define the switch root.
  • app.directive(
  • "bnSwitch",
  • function() {
  •  
  • // I am the controller for the switch directive.
  • function Controller( $scope ) {
  •  
  • // The cases are keyed based on the switch value
  • // and contain an object that as the CASE both the
  • // statement's transclude AND anchoring element.
  • cases = {};
  •  
  •  
  • // ---
  • // PUBLIC METHODS.
  • // ---
  •  
  •  
  • // I add a case statement to the collection.
  • function addCase( value, anchor, transclude ) {
  •  
  • cases[ "!" + value ] = {
  • anchor: anchor,
  • transclude: transclude,
  • element: null,
  • scope: null
  • };
  •  
  • }
  •  
  •  
  • // I return the case tied to the given value; if
  • // no value matches, the default case will be
  • // returned (if it is available).
  • function getCase( value ) {
  •  
  • return( cases[ "!" + value ] || cases[ "?" ] );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  •  
  • // I define at-most one default case per switch.
  • function setDefaultCase( value, anchor, transclude ) {
  •  
  • if ( cases.hasOwnProperty( "?" ) ) {
  •  
  • throw( "DefaultAlreadyExists" );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • cases[ "?" ] = {
  • anchor: anchor,
  • transclude: transclude,
  • element: null,
  • scope: null
  • };
  •  
  • }
  •  
  •  
  • // Return public interface.
  • return({
  • addCase: addCase,
  • getCase: getCase,
  • setDefaultCase: setDefaultCase
  • });
  •  
  • }
  •  
  •  
  • // I bind the UI events to the $scope.
  • function link( $scope, element, attributes, controller ) {
  •  
  • // Determine which expression to watch - it can be
  • // defined directly on the bn-switch attribute, or
  • // the "on" attribute.
  • var watchExpression = ( attributes.bnSwitch || attributes.on );
  •  
  • // These keep track of the currently-active case
  • // statement. These will be defined within the
  • // $scope watch.
  • var selectedCase = null;
  •  
  • // Watch for changes in the switch statement.
  • $scope.$watch(
  • watchExpression,
  • function ( newValue, oldValue ) {
  •  
  • // If we have an active case statment, we
  • // need to tear it down before we inject
  • // the new case statement.
  • if ( selectedCase ) {
  •  
  • // Remove the bindings.
  • selectedCase.scope.$destroy();
  • selectedCase.element.remove();
  •  
  • // Reset the values.
  • selectedCase.element = null;
  • selectedCase.scope = null;
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • // Get the next case statement for the
  • // new switch-expression.
  • selectedCase = controller.getCase( newValue );
  •  
  • // If no case matches, don't do anything else.
  • if ( ! selectedCase ) {
  •  
  • return;
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • // If we made it this far, then
  • selectedCase.scope = $scope.$new();
  •  
  • selectedCase.transclude(
  • selectedCase.scope,
  • function( caseElement ) {
  •  
  • // Store the element for later tear-down.
  • selectedCase.element = caseElement;
  •  
  • // Inject the transcluded / cloned element.
  • selectedCase.anchor.after( caseElement );
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  •  
  • // Return the directive configuration.
  • return({
  • controller: Controller,
  • link: link,
  • require: "bnSwitch",
  • restrict: "A"
  • });
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  •  
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  •  
  •  
  • // I define the switch case.
  • app.directive(
  • "bnSwitchWhen",
  • function() {
  •  
  • // I compile the directive template. We need to compile
  • // this directive because we are transcluding the element.
  • // That means that we're going to rip it out of the DOM.
  • // When we inject it back in (after its anchoring comment
  • // node), we'll need to use the transclude function to
  • // clone the template and bind it to a Scope instance.
  • function compile( element, attributes, transclude ) {
  •  
  • // I link the UI to the $scope.
  • function link( $scope, element, attributes, switchController ) {
  •  
  • // Add this case to the switch root controller.
  • switchController.addCase(
  • attributes.bnSwitchWhen,
  • element,
  • transclude
  • );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • return( link );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  •  
  • // Return the directive configuration.
  • return({
  • compile: compile,
  • priority: 500,
  • require: "^bnSwitch",
  • restrict: "A",
  • transclude: "element"
  • });
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  •  
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  •  
  •  
  • // I define the default switch case.
  • app.directive(
  • "bnSwitchDefault",
  • function() {
  •  
  • // I compile the directive template. We need to compile
  • // this directive because we are transcluding the element.
  • // That means that we're going to rip it out of the DOM.
  • // When we inject it back in (after its anchoring comment
  • // node), we'll need to use the transclude function to
  • // clone the template and bind it to a Scope instance.
  • function compile( element, attributes, transclude ) {
  •  
  • // I link the UI to the $scope.
  • function link( $scope, element, attributes, switchController ) {
  •  
  • // Add this case to the switch root controller.
  • switchController.setDefaultCase(
  • attributes.bnSwitchWhen,
  • element,
  • transclude
  • );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • return( link );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  •  
  • // Return the directive configuration.
  • return({
  • compile: compile,
  • priority: 500,
  • require: "^bnSwitch",
  • restrict: "A",
  • transclude: "element"
  • });
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  •  
  • </script>
  •  
  • </body>
  • </html>

As you can see, when the bnSwitchWhen directive compiles, it doesn't just pass its transclude function up to the bnSwitch controller - it also passes the transclusion anchor element. The bnSwitch directive then uses this anchor element when injecting the cloned case element.

Now, just because this is possible, it doesn't mean you're always going to want to structure your switch-statements this way. What you gain in functionality, you lose a bit in readability (since your switch and cases statements may be spread farther apart). But, if you find that you're adding ngSwitch DOM nodes just for the sake of having an isolated container, this may be an interesting alternative.




Reader Comments

@All,

While the stable branch of AngularJS works this way (ie, appending elements to the end of the container), it looks like the unstable / future branch of AngularJS uses my approach (ie, inserting after anchor element). So, that's pretty awesome! There's a lot of cool stuff to look forward to in the next release!

Reply to this Comment

@Mike,

Thanks my man! I'm itching to try out the next release of AngularJS. I'm still on 1.0.4 in my production app. It looks like 1.2 is gonna rock some outstanding upgrades... if only the final release would happen :D

Reply to this Comment

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