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 the New York ColdFusion User Group (Jan. 2008) with:

Shadowing Isolate Scope Behaviors In AngularJS

By Ben Nadel on

Yesterday, I took my first look at using the Isolate scope within directives in AngularJS. In the 2 years that I've been learning about AngularJS, I never took the time to learn about the isolate scope because I never quite understood the use-case. I do like that the isolate scope forces you to think about decoupling and cohesion; but, I believe that the same level of decoupling can also be reached using normal directives with good conventions. And, now that I have an isolate scope example, I have something concrete on which I can perform a decent comparison.

NOTE: Using the isolate scope with transclusion probably creates a context that cannot be replicated with normal directives. But, I haven't gotten that far.


 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

Run this demo in my JavaScript Demos project on GitHub.

In this post, I'm simply taking my demo from yesterday and duplicating it. The first half of the demo uses the isolate scope code from yesterday. The second half uses a new directive that consumes the same element attributes but, doesn't use scope isolation. In the video (above), I'm doing a line-by-line comparison of the two approaches.

  • <!doctype html>
  • <html ng-app="Demo">
  • <head>
  • <meta charset="utf-8" />
  •  
  • <title>
  • Shadowing Isolate Scope Behaviors In AngularJS
  • </title>
  •  
  • <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="./demo.css"></link>
  • </head>
  • <body>
  •  
  • <!-- In this portion of the demo, our mousedown directive uses isolate scope. -->
  • <div ng-controller="DemoController">
  •  
  • <h1>
  • Using Isolate Scope In Directives In AngularJS
  • </h1>
  •  
  • <p class="actions">
  • <a ng-click="showMessage()">Show Message</a>
  • &nbsp;|&nbsp;
  • <a ng-click="hideMessage()">Hide Message</a>
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p
  • ng-if="isShowingMessage"
  • bn-mousedown-outside="hideMessage()"
  • ignore-mousedown-if="shouldIgnoreMousedown"
  • ignore-mousedown-inside="p.actions , h1"
  • class="message">
  •  
  • I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the awesomeness of this message!
  •  
  • [
  • <span ng-hide="shouldIgnoreMousedown">
  • Enabled &mdash;
  • <a ng-click="disableClickDetection()">Disable click detection</a>
  • </span>
  •  
  • <span ng-show="shouldIgnoreMousedown">
  • Disabled &mdash;
  • <a ng-click="enableClickDetection()">Enable click detection</a>
  • </span>
  • ]
  •  
  • </p>
  •  
  • </div>
  •  
  •  
  • <hr />
  • <!--
  • In the following section, we're going to be implementing the "exact" same
  • behavior, only without using an isolate-scope directive. From a consumption
  • standpoint (ie, the HTML markup), however, nothing has changed.
  • -->
  • <hr />
  •  
  •  
  • <!-- In this portion of the demo, our mousedown directive does not use isolate scope. -->
  • <div ng-controller="DemoController">
  •  
  • <h1>
  • Shadowing Isolate Scope Behaviors In AngularJS
  • </h1>
  •  
  • <p class="actions">
  • <a ng-click="showMessage()">Show Message</a>
  • &nbsp;|&nbsp;
  • <a ng-click="hideMessage()">Hide Message</a>
  • </p>
  •  
  • <p
  • ng-if="isShowingMessage"
  • shadow-mousedown-outside="hideMessage()"
  • ignore-mousedown-if="shouldIgnoreMousedown"
  • ignore-mousedown-inside="p.actions , h1"
  • class="message">
  •  
  • I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the awesomeness of this message!
  •  
  • [
  • <span ng-hide="shouldIgnoreMousedown">
  • Enabled &mdash;
  • <a ng-click="disableClickDetection()">Disable click detection</a>
  • </span>
  •  
  • <span ng-show="shouldIgnoreMousedown">
  • Disabled &mdash;
  • <a ng-click="enableClickDetection()">Enable click detection</a>
  • </span>
  • ]
  •  
  • </p>
  •  
  • </div>
  •  
  •  
  • <!-- Load scripts. -->
  • <script type="text/javascript" src="../../vendor/jquery/jquery-2.1.0.min.js"></script>
  • <script type="text/javascript" src="../../vendor/angularjs/angular-1.2.16.min.js"></script>
  • <script type="text/javascript">
  •  
  • // Create an application module for our demo.
  • var app = angular.module( "Demo", [] );
  •  
  •  
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  •  
  •  
  • // I control the two instances of the demo.
  • app.controller(
  • "DemoController",
  • function( $scope ) {
  •  
  • // I determine whether or not we're showing the demo message.
  • $scope.isShowingMessage = false;
  •  
  •  
  • // I determine whether or not we want to actually show the
  • $scope.shouldIgnoreMousedown = false;
  •  
  •  
  • // ---
  • // PUBLIC METHODS.
  • // ---
  •  
  •  
  • // I disable click detection. The message can only be closed through
  • // explicit calls to teh hideMessage() method.
  • $scope.disableClickDetection = function() {
  •  
  • $scope.shouldIgnoreMousedown = true;
  •  
  • };
  •  
  •  
  • // I enable click detection. The message can be hidden through mousedown
  • // events located outside of the message.
  • $scope.enableClickDetection = function() {
  •  
  • $scope.shouldIgnoreMousedown = false;
  •  
  • };
  •  
  •  
  • // I hide the demo message.
  • $scope.hideMessage = function() {
  •  
  • $scope.isShowingMessage = false;
  •  
  • };
  •  
  •  
  • // I show the demo message.
  • $scope.showMessage = function() {
  •  
  • $scope.isShowingMessage = true;
  •  
  • };
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  •  
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  •  
  •  
  • // I provide hooks to mouse-down events on the document that take place outside
  • // of the current element.
  • // --
  • // NOTE: Uses Isolate-scope directive configuration.
  • app.directive(
  • "bnMousedownOutside",
  • function( $document ) {
  •  
  • // I bind JavaScript events to the directive scope.
  • function link( $scope, element, attributes ) {
  •  
  • // In the isolate-scope configuration, the external scope property,
  • // [ignoreMousedownIf] was mapped to local scope property
  • // [isDisabled]. However, if the attribute doesn't exist, the local
  • // scope value will be undefined. As such, we are defining a default
  • // value in the $watch expression.
  • $scope.$watch(
  • "! ( isDisabled || false )",
  • function( newValue, oldValue ) {
  •  
  • // If enabled, listen for mouse events.
  • if ( newValue ) {
  •  
  • $document.on( "mousedown", handleMouseDown );
  •  
  • // If disabled, but previously enabled, remove mouse events.
  • } else if ( oldValue ) {
  •  
  • $document.off( "mousedown", handleMouseDown );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  • // When the local scope is destroyed, be sure to clean up the event
  • // bindings on the document.
  • $scope.$on(
  • "$destroy",
  • function() {
  •  
  • $document.off( "mousedown", handleMouseDown );
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  •  
  • // I handle the mouse-down events on the document.
  • function handleMouseDown( event ) {
  •  
  • // Check to see if this event target provides a click context
  • // that should be ignored.
  • if ( shouldIgnoreEventTarget( $( event.target ) ) ) {
  •  
  • return(
  • console.warn( "Ignoring mouse-down event.", ( new Date() ).getTime() )
  • );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • // Even though this directive is isolated, we still need to call
  • // $apply() to tell AngularJS that a change has happened. The
  • // $digest mechanism can still be triggered from an isolated
  • // scope.
  • $scope.$apply(
  • function() {
  •  
  • $scope.callback();
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  •  
  • // I detemine if the given mousedown context should be ignored.
  • function shouldIgnoreEventTarget( target ) {
  •  
  • // If the click is inside the parent, ignore.
  • if ( target.closest( element ).length ) {
  •  
  • return( true );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • // If the click is inside the "exception" CSS selectors
  • // (if provided), then ignore.
  • // --
  • // NOTE: Demo assumes that attribute value does not use
  • // interpolation and therefore will not have to be watched.
  • if (
  • $scope.exceptionSelectors &&
  • target.closest( $scope.exceptionSelectors ).length
  • ) {
  •  
  • return( true );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • // If there is no need to ignore the target at this point, let
  • // the event be processed.
  • return( false );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • }
  •  
  •  
  • // Return the directive configuration for scope isolation.
  • return({
  • link: link,
  • restrict: "A",
  • scope: {
  • callback: "&bnMousedownOutside",
  • exceptionSelectors: "@ignoreMousedownInside",
  • isDisabled: "=ignoreMousedownIf"
  • }
  • });
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  •  
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  • // -------------------------------------------------- //
  •  
  •  
  • // I provide hooks to mouse-down events on the document that take place outside
  • // of the current element.
  • // --
  • // NOTE: Does NOT use Isolate-scope directive configuration.
  • app.directive(
  • "shadowMousedownOutside",
  • function( $document ) {
  •  
  • // I bind JavaScript events to the directive scope.
  • function link( $scope, element, attributes ) {
  •  
  • // I watch the scope flag that determines whether or not the mouse
  • // event system is active. If it's not, we make sure to remove any
  • // event handlers.
  • $scope.$watch(
  • ( "! ( " + attributes.ignoreMousedownIf + " || false )" ),
  • function( newValue, oldValue ) {
  •  
  • // If enabled, listen for mouse events.
  • if ( newValue ) {
  •  
  • $document.on( "mousedown", handleMouseDown );
  •  
  • // If disabled, but previously enabled, remove mouse events.
  • } else if ( oldValue ) {
  •  
  • $document.off( "mousedown", handleMouseDown );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  • // When the local scope is destroyed, be sure to clean up the event
  • // bindings on the document.
  • $scope.$on(
  • "$destroy",
  • function() {
  •  
  • $document.off( "mousedown", handleMouseDown );
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  •  
  • // I handle the mouse-down events on the document.
  • function handleMouseDown( event ) {
  •  
  • // Check to see if this event target provides a click context
  • // that should be ignored.
  • if ( shouldIgnoreEventTarget( $( event.target ) ) ) {
  •  
  • return(
  • console.warn( "Ignoring mouse-down event.", ( new Date() ).getTime() )
  • );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • // Invoke the callback in the context of the current scope.
  • $scope.$apply(
  • function() {
  •  
  • $scope.$eval( attributes.shadowMousedownOutside );
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  •  
  • // I detemine if the given mousedown context should be ignored.
  • function shouldIgnoreEventTarget( target ) {
  •  
  • // If the click is inside the parent, ignore.
  • if ( target.closest( element ).length ) {
  •  
  • return( true );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • // If the click is inside the "exception" CSS selectors
  • // (if provided), then ignore.
  • // --
  • // NOTE: Demo assumes that attribute value does not use
  • // interpolation and therefore will not have to be watched.
  • if (
  • attributes.ignoreMousedownInside &&
  • target.closest( attributes.ignoreMousedownInside ).length
  • ) {
  •  
  • return( true );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • // If there is no need to ignore the target at this point, let
  • // the event be processed.
  • return( false );
  •  
  • }
  •  
  • }
  •  
  •  
  • // Return the directive configuration.
  • return({
  • link: link,
  • restrict: "A"
  • });
  •  
  • }
  • );
  •  
  • </script>
  •  
  • </body>
  • </html>

As you can see, the HTML "hooks" for the two directives are identical (less the actual name of the directive, which is required to be unique within the dependency injection container). The only thing that needed to change was the syntax around how the hooks were being consumed inside the actual directive.

That said, I have to admit that I kind of liked the syntax for the isolate scope directive a bit more. For one, you can map long attribute names to short scope names, which is easier to read. The $watch() expressions are also easier to build in the isolate scope approach because you don't have to use string concatenation to perform some home-grown variable interpolation on the attribute values. And, for the bi-direction scope binding (which I didn't really demonstrate), you can set the scope property using dot-notation instead of the more verbose bracket-notation.

Of course, syntax is not the only reason to go in one direction or another - it's just one of the aspects to consider. One concern that I do have is that the automatic scope binding is incurring an additional $watch() handler in order to translate the value from the parent scope into the isolate scope. I'm also concerned that this approach may not play well with $digest-oriented optimizations since we lose scope-chain prototypal inheritance. But, that's why we do these sorts of explorations.




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