DCL

An elegant OOP with mixins + AOP for JavaScript.

Decorator

Decorator is a function that can transform/augment objects, classes, or methods dynamically adding new functionality to them. Decorator is a useful tool of meta-programming, and used extensively in different programming languages.

dcl uses method decorators so we will concentrate on them.

Concept

In general a method decorator is a function that receives a function, optional parameters, and return a new function (or the same but updated). The goal is to modify its behavior in a predictable generic way. So esentially a decorator looks like that:

Generic method decorator
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var f = function(...){...};
f = decorator(f);

// or more requently you can see them like that:
A.prototype.f = decorator(function(...){
  ...
});

Examples

Transaction

Let’s assume that there is a global transaction and we want to implement a simple transaction management for our database-aware functions/methods:

Transaction decorator
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// assumptions:
// - global variable `currentTransaction`
// - global constructor Transaction

function transactionDecorator(f){
  return function(){
    if(currentTransaction){
      // our transaction is already managed: skip
      return f.apply(this, arguments);
    }
    // otherwise:
    currentTransaction = new Transaction();
    try{
      var result = f.apply(this, arguments);
      currentTransaction.commit();
      return result;
    }catch(e){
      currentTransaction.rollback();
      throw e;
    }finally{
      currentTransaction = null;
    }
  };
}

Tracing

Tracing decorator
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function tracingDecorator(f, name){
  var level = 0;
  return function(){
    console.log(level++, ": entering ", name);
    var result = f.apply(this, arguments);
    console.log(--level, ": exiting ", name);
    return result;
}

With this decorator we can trace when a controlled method is called, and if it calls itself recursively directly or indirectly.

Pre- or post- processing

We may want to normalize input or output of a function in a predictable way. A postprocessing example, which converts non-string objects to JSON:

Postprocessing decorator 1
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function postDecorator(f){
  return function(){
    var result = f.apply(this, arguments);
    if(typeof result == "string"){
      return result;
    }
    return JSON.stringify(result);
}

Now we can build on this functionality. For example, we can add a JSONP callback, if it is requested in parameters:

Postprocessing decorator 2
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function postDecorator(f){
  return function(params){
    var result = f.apply(this, arguments);
    if(typeof result == "string"){
      return result;
    }
    var json = JSON.stringify(result);
    if(params.callback){
      // JSONP
      return "(" + params.callback + ")(" + json + ")";
    }
    return json;
}

Similarly we can add different formatters, like XML, and so on. The important idea here is that we can do it orthogonally in one place.

Decorators in dcl

While dcl can work with classic method decorators, decorators for supercalls, or advices do not return a function. Instead they return an object with meta-information, which is used later to assemble objects producing required functions and methods.

All such objects are based on dcl.Super.

Now if you see a code like this:

dcl decorators
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var A = dcl(B, {
  m1: dcl.superCall(function(sup){
    return function(...){
      ...
    }
  }),
  m2: dcl.after(function(...){
    ...
  })
});

You know that these are not some magic, but simple functions that communicate with dcl your directives on how you want to assemble objects.

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