HTML Views


This page explains what HTML views and view-models are and how they are used to create nested pages.

HTML View Definition

An HTML view definition is a valid HTML document that contains at least one <template> tag and can be loaded with the <starcounter-include> or imported-template web component. The <template> tag is cached on the client and stamped out as many times as needed.

Read about the difference between starcounter-include and imported-template in the article "<starcounter-include> and non-namespaced partial view-models".

The requirements and behaviors for the HTML view definition originate from the HTML Imports and HTML Template specifications. The most interesting aspects are:

  • The document should be a valid HTML document and can contain anything that the browser allows

  • The document may include dependencies such as stylesheets, HTML imports, scripts, etc.

  • The content outside of the <template> tag is requested and executed once per session on partial load time

  • The content inside the <template> is stamped out with the <template> itself every time the response is bound to a tree in the view-model

  • Every node from the <template> will be stamped with an attached model property. Custom elements, template binding frameworks, or JavaScript scripts can use this data to populate the view

A partial HTML view is a view that has been nested as a part of a bigger view.

The Polymer version used by Starcounter was changed from Polymer 1 to Polymer 2 in Starcounter 2.4. This change requires certain aspects of the view to be adapted to work in Starcounter 2.4. Read more in this blog post:‚Äč

View-Model Definition

A view-model definition is a valid JSON document with the filename extension .json that contains an Html property that points to the corresponding HTML view. It will also contain properties for the data that will be bound between the view and the database model.

The view-model definition can be combined with an optional view-model code-behind which defines the class name and contains input handlers. The filename extension for this file is .json.cs.

A partial view-model is a view-model that has been nested as a part of a bigger view-model.

A partial view-model together with its corresponding partial HTML view can simply be referred to as a partial.

Using Partials

A partial can be accessed in two different ways:

  1. Directly through an HTTP request that is handled in the application by a Handle.GET. The response to this request should be a complete HTML and JSON document.

  2. Through a blending point. A blending point is a combination of a Self.GET call, which acts as the partial view-model blending point, and a <starcounter-include> tag, which acts as a partial HTML view blending point. The <starcounter-include> tag determines where in the DOM tree the partial HTML view should be rendered.


Creating the Handler

No matter if the partial is accessed through an HTTP request from the browser or a Self.GET call, there always needs to be a handler that deals with the request. This handler returns a partial with the JSON and HTML. The handler, in its simplest form, looks something like this:

Handle.GET("/your/partial/url", () =>
return new YourPartialPage();

This handler only returns the JSON and HTML if the app uses the HtmlFromJsonProvider and PartialToStandaloneHtmlProvider middmileware.

Adding the Blending Point

You can now create a blending point for this partial by attaching the partial to a parent partial using Self.GET. For example:

mainPage.SubPage = Self.GET("/your/partial/url");

In the partial HTML view for the mainPage above, the HTML from the SubPage partial can be stamped in like so:

<starcounter-include partial="{{model.SubPage}}"></starcounter-include>

Partial HTML View Example

A partial HTML view may look something like this:

Load you dependencies: <script>s, HTML Imports, CSS stylesheets etc.
Those dependencies will only be executed once when the partial is imported
<!-- For example, to use Polymer's dom-bind custom element: -->
<link rel="import" href="/sys/polymer/polymer.html" />
.myapp-address-entry-name {
font-weight: bold;
Everything from this template will be stamped into the parent page's DOM and <script>s will be executed for every instance of this partial.
All child nodes will receive a `model` property with JSON view-model,
which is automatically bound to the server-side.
<template is="dom-bind">
Now, the double curly brace syntax "{{}}" can be used
for two-way data bindings from the HTML view to serverside.
For example:
<h2 class="myapp-address-entry-name">{{model.FullName}}</h2>
<starcounter-include partial="{{model.Address}}">

The example above uses Polymer's dom-bind element for data-bindings. Using Polymer in HTML views is not required, but we prefer it because it is a simple declarative alternative to imperative binding data to HTML elements using JavaScript.