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NativeScript-Vue Class Components Examined

Using class components in NativeScript-Vue with TypeScript? You need to know these five things. Warning: strong personal opinions follow…

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Using class components in NativeScript-Vue with TypeScript? You need to know these five things. Warning: strong personal opinions follow, but there is no swearing ;)


  1. Right Direction
  2. Class Component Scaffolding
  3. Five Things About Class Components in NativeScript-Vue
  4. Related Videos

First, we're moving in the right direction...

Not only did NativeScript-Vue recently get TypeScript support, but as of version 5.2 of the NativeScript CLI, Vue is an officially supported UI library that can be used right out of the box. Yes, you can create and manage NativeScript-Vue apps using nothing but the NativeScript CLI.

But...

I was a bit surprised that after such a great addition to NativeScript-Vue by a community member (the addition of TypeScript support by Manuel Saelices), that the official version completely lacks TypeScript support for Vue at this time. I'm sure this will change very soon though.


Luckily, we can still use the Vue CLI to scaffold out our NativeScript apps. See this post for details on how to do this or you can watch the first video listed below in the Videos section.



Class Component Scaffolding

If you are here, then you must already have created a NativeScript-Vue app with TypeScript using the Vue CLI, and you've already installed vue-class-component and vue-property-decorator as dependencies. If not, then please see the start of this post.


Class component .vue files aren't that different from their object notation .vue files.

Here's an example we'll be working with:

<template>
  <StackLayout class="form">
    <StackLayout class="input-field">
      <Label text="First Name" class="label font-weight-bold m-b-5"/>
      <TextField v-model="firstName" hint="First Name" class="input input-border"/>
    </StackLayout>
  </StackLayout>
</template>

<script lang="ts">
import { Vue, Component } from "vue-property-decorator";

@Component
export default class PersonClassComponent extends Vue {

}
</script>

Two important things to note here are that we're exporting a class that inherits from Vue and that we've docorated the class with the @Component decorator, similar to how we'd do this in Angular.



Five Things About Class Components in NativeScript-Vue

If you are serious about using class components in your NativeScript VueJS apps with TypeScript, you need to know these five things. See the videos section below for a video tutorial on using these.

  1. Props - data passed in as inputs to your Vue components
  2. Data - this is local properties (or the state) of your Vue components
  3. Watch - use this to spy on other properties and react to them being changed
  4. Computed - don’t create and maintain another property! Use a computed to create a calculated property.
  5. Methods - they do stuff! These are your event handlers and other class functions

NOTE: Before using the following, make sure you've added TypeScript and the extra libraries to your project as I show in the first video.



Props

By using the @Prop decorator from vue-property-decorator, we declare input properties just by decorating class properties.

<template>
  <StackLayout class="form">
    <StackLayout class="input-field">
      <Label text="First Name" class="label font-weight-bold m-b-5"/>
      <TextField v-model="firstName" hint="First Name" class="input input-border"/>
    </StackLayout>
  </StackLayout>
</template>

<script lang="ts">
import { Vue, Component, Prop } from "vue-property-decorator";

@Component
export default class PersonClassComponent extends Vue {
  @Prop() whatToSay: string;
}
</script>

If you're coming from the object notation Vue, then you're used to the code looking like so:

export default {
  props: {
    whatToSay: {
      type: String
    }
  }
};


Data

data is really simple with class components. It's just properties on the class:

<template>
  <StackLayout class="form">
    <StackLayout class="input-field">
      <Label text="First Name" class="label font-weight-bold m-b-5"/>
      <TextField v-model="firstName" hint="First Name" class="input input-border"/>
    </StackLayout>
  </StackLayout>
</template>

<script lang="ts">
import { Vue, Component, Prop } from "vue-property-decorator";

@Component
export default class PersonClassComponent extends Vue {
  @Prop() whatToSay: string;

  //Data
  counter = 1;
  firstName = "Donna";
  initialLastName = "Summer";
  lastName = this.initialLastName;
}
</script>

This is what data looks like with object notation - pretty ugly in my opinion:

data() {
    return {
      counter: 1,
      firstName: "Donna",
      initialLastName: "Summer",
      lastName: "Summer"
    };
  },


Watch

Watchers are probably the most complicated part because they are defined as class methods with a @Watch decorator. The @Watch decorator has to specify what property we're spying on.

<template>
  <StackLayout class="form">
    <StackLayout class="input-field">
      <Label text="First Name" class="label font-weight-bold m-b-5"/>
      <TextField v-model="firstName" hint="First Name" class="input input-border"/>
    </StackLayout>
  </StackLayout>
</template>

<script lang="ts">
import { Vue, Component, Prop, Watch } from "vue-property-decorator";

@Component
export default class PersonClassComponent extends Vue {
  @Prop() whatToSay: string;
  counter = 1;
  firstName = "Donna";
  initialLastName = "Summer";
  lastName = this.initialLastName;

  //Watch
  @Watch("firstName")
  onFirstNameChanged() {
    this.lastName = this.initialLastName + this.counter++;
  }
}
</script>

BUT, it's still way neater than it is with object notation, which looks like this:

watch: {
    firstName: {
      handler() {
        this.lastName = this.initialLastName + this.counter++;
        console.log("first name changed");
      }
    }
  }

The triple nested object just to define one single watch is making me want to vomit.



Computed

Computeds are my favorite because they are executed exactly how they should be in a class - as getter (and setter) properties.

<template>
  <StackLayout class="form">
    <StackLayout class="input-field">
      <Label text="First Name" class="label font-weight-bold m-b-5"/>
      <TextField v-model="firstName" hint="First Name" class="input input-border"/>
    </StackLayout>

    <StackLayout class="input-field">
      <Label text="Full Name" class="label font-weight-bold m-b-5"/>
      <Label :text="fullName"/>
    </StackLayout>
  </StackLayout>
</template>


<script lang="ts">
import { Vue, Component, Prop, Watch } from "vue-property-decorator";

@Component
export default class PersonClassComponent extends Vue {
  @Prop() whatToSay: string;
  counter = 1;
  firstName = "Donna";
  initialLastName = "Summer";
  lastName = this.initialLastName;

  //Computed
  get fullName() {
    return `${this.firstName} ${this.lastName}`;
  }

  @Watch("firstName")
  onFirstNameChanged() {
    this.lastName = this.initialLastName + this.counter++;
  }
}
</script>

I'll spare you the gory details of how computeds are implemented in Vue with object notation.



Methods

Since we're using classes, guess what! Methods are just methods! Declare an event handler in the template, and then just write a method in your class.

<template>
  <StackLayout class="form">
    <StackLayout class="input-field">
      <Label text="First Name" class="label font-weight-bold m-b-5"/>
      <TextField v-model="firstName" hint="First Name" class="input input-border"/>
    </StackLayout>

    <StackLayout class="input-field">
      <Label text="Full Name" class="label font-weight-bold m-b-5"/>
      <Label :text="fullName"/>
    </StackLayout>

    <Button text="SPEAK" @tap="speak"/>
  </StackLayout>
</template>

<script lang="ts">
import { Vue, Component, Prop, Watch } from "vue-property-decorator";

@Component
export default class PersonClassComponent extends Vue {
  @Prop() whatToSay: string;

  counter = 1;
  firstName = "Donna";
  initialLastName = "Summer";
  lastName = this.initialLastName;

  get fullName() {
    return `${this.firstName} ${this.lastName}`;
  }

  @Watch("firstName")
  onFirstNameChanged() {
    this.lastName = this.initialLastName + this.counter++;
  }

  //Method
  speak() {
    alert("This is " + this.fullName + " speaking. " + this.whatToSay);
  }
}
</script>

I know that class components aren’t for everyone and some people really love using pure JavaScript, that’s totally fine too. This is just another way to do it, and if you are going to be using TypeScript in your NativeScript-vue apps, then class components is a really good fit. I would even go so far as to say that at the moment, it doesn’t make much sense to use TypeScript unless you are using class components.




Related Videos

Here are three videos where I go into NativeScript-Vue, TypeScript, and Class Components.

NativeScript-Vue with TypeScript and Class Components



Using TypeScript Class Components in NativeScript Vue



Async/Await in NativeScript-Vue with TypeScript



Why use class components? Simple - the syntax is cleaner. Class properties are automatically data properties. No need for strange functional syntax returned by the data property, and you don't have to worry about this.




For more video tutorials about NativeScript, look at our courses on NativeScripting.com. If you're feeling adventurous, the new NativeScript Security Course is an advanced walk-through on making your NativeScript apps secure.



Let me know if you enjoyed this short tutorial on Twitter: @digitalix or comment here. And send me your NativeScript related questions that I can answer in video form. If I select your question to make a video answer, I'll send you swag - use the hashtag #iScriptNative.




Alex lives in Washington, DC. He's a speaker, trainer, and a Telerik Developer Expert. He's been invloved in NativeScript projects since 2015 and has created courses for Pluralsight and LinkedIn.

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