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Data Binding

The framework provides a mechanism, ‘Data Binding’ for constructing complex widgets from data feeds.

Specifically, lists and carousels can be populated based on data provided in an object array.

Data Binding is a multi-stage process.

  1. Create a DataSource
  2. Create a Formatter. Its job is to use the information provided by the DataSource to populate a widget
  3. Create a widget passing the Formatter to its constructor
  4. Bind the DataSource to the widget - the supplied data will now be used by the Formatter and the widget populated

Creating a DataSource

The DataSource object (antie/datasource) provides an interface for List (or extensions from List such as HorizontalCarousel) to obtain data.

When creating a DataSource you must supply

  1. A component which will take ownership of the data
  2. An object extended from antie/class. The object must contain a method that accepts a callback object as a parameter. The callback object contains onSuccess() and onError() callback functions. The method should invoke the onSuccess() callback with an array of data objects if data is obtained successfully, or invoke onError() if an error occurs.
  3. The name of the method that will fire the callbacks.

This is best illustrated with an example.

Instantiating the DataSource From within a Component:

var dataSource = new DataSource(this, new SimpleFeed(), "loadData");

For this example, we’ve used a class called SimpleFeed which contains some static data. There’s no way this can fail to load, so we ignore the onError() callback.

    function(Class) {
        return Class.extend({
            // You will probably want to do something
            // more useful then returning static data.
            // An array of objects is expected.
            loadData : function(callbacks) {

Creating a Formatter

A Formatter must provide the format() method. format() should return a widget that makes up a single item for a List or Carousel.

An item can be something simple like a Button (see below), or a more complicated composite such as a List, Carousel or Container full of widgets.

format() is supplied with an iterator with which to access the data it will use. You should call within the format() function to acquire a data item (one of the objects in the array defined by the feed).

Here is a simple formatter that creates a labeled button for each item in the SimpleFeed:

    function(Formatter, Label, Button) {
        return Formatter.extend({
            format : function (iterator) {
                var button, item;
                item =;
                button = new Button("fruit" +;
                button.appendChildWidget(new Label(item.title));
                return button;

Data binding with a HorizontalCarousel

Now to tie them together in a component. This example creates a HorizontalCarousel, but a plain List will work in the same way.


    function (Component, DataSource, HorizontalCarousel, SimpleFormatter, SimpleFeed) {
        return Component.extend({
            init: function init () {
                var self, simpleFormatter, simpleFeed;

                self = this;

      , "simplecarouselcomponent");

                // Create a new formatter and feed
                simpleFormatter = new SimpleFormatter();
                simpleFeed = new SimpleFeed();

                // Create a DataSource, this uses the feed to get data and presents it to the formatter
                this._dataSource = new DataSource(this, simpleFeed, "loadData");

                // Create a new carousel with the formatter
                this._carousel = new HorizontalCarousel("simplecarousel", simpleFormatter);

                // Add it to the component

                // We want to rebind every time the component is pushed, so listen for beforerender.           
                    function(ev) {
            _onBeforeRender: function(ev) {
                // do the bind (and build the carousel's items)

In the example, the DataSource is bound to the widget after it has been constructed. It is possible to pass the dataSource to the widget as a third parameter in its constructor, but it is more common to bind on beforerender to ensure widgets are reconstructed if the component is hidden and reshown.

Data binding events

List and any extensions of List fire the following three events related to data binding:

Event name Event description
beforedatabind Fired just before before the load method is called on a DataSource.
databound Fired when data has loaded and any items generated by the Formatter have been added. This event has an iterator property giving you a reference to the data that has been bound. Note: You will need to reset() the iterator to read all the data.
databindingerror Fired if there is an exception or non-success response whilst performing any network requests.

Storing bound data for later use

If you would like to associate data with one of the created widgets for later retrieval, you can use the setDataItem() method on a Widget from within a Formatter. It can be retrieved by calling getDataItem().

Focus issues when data binding

The framework will not set default focus on a widget which is not ‘focussable’, i.e. one which is not a Button or does not contain buttons.

As data bound widgets are initially empty, when you need default focus to fall on a data bound widget, you may need to manually set focus post bind in some circumstances.

This can be done using the setActiveChildWidget() method of Component or a higher level Container within a function that listens for the databound event on the widget in question.