jQuery Templates and Data Linking (and Microsoft contributing to jQuery)
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by Scott Guthrie
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Combining Templating and Data Linking

Our goal in submitting these two proposals for templating and data linking is to make it easier to work with data when building websites and applications with jQuery. Templating makes it easier to display a list of database records retrieved from a database through an Ajax call. Data linking makes it easier to keep the data and user interface in sync for update scenarios.

Currently, we are working on an extension of the data linking proposal to support declarative data linking. We want to make it easy to take advantage of data linking when using a template to display data.

For example, imagine that you are using the following template to display an array of product objects:


Notice the {{link name}} and {{link price}} expressions. These expressions enable declarative data linking between the SPAN elements and properties of the product objects. The current jQuery templating prototype supports extending its syntax with custom template commands. In this case, we are extending the default templating syntax with a custom template command named “link”.

The benefit of using data linking with the above template is that the SPAN elements will be automatically updated whenever the underlying “product” data is updated.  Declarative data linking also makes it easier to create edit and insert forms. For example, you could create a form for editing a product by using declarative data linking like this:


Whenever you change the value of the INPUT elements in a template that uses declarative data linking, the underlying JavaScript data object is automatically updated. Instead of needing to write code to scrape the HTML form to get updated values, you can instead work with the underlying data directly – making your client-side code much cleaner and simpler.

Downloading Working Code Examples of the Above Scenarios

You can download this .zip file to get with working code examples of the above scenarios.  The .zip file includes 4 static HTML page:

Listing1_Templating.htm – Illustrates basic templating.

Listing2_TemplatingConditionals.htm – Illustrates templating with the use of the if and each template commands.

Listing3_DataLinking.htm – Illustrates data linking.

Listing4_Converters.htm – Illustrates using a converter with data linking.

You can un-zip the file to the file-system and then run each page to see the concepts in action.

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