Ractive.js tutorial - Loading user info (4 of 6)

(Previous step: Routing)

Rigth now our page shows nothing but some labels.
The next step is to allow our users to search for a GitHub user and, if it's found, show his info in the specific page.

We will be requesting data to the GitHub REST API.
These are the endpoints we'll be hitting:


To implement third party integration, we will be usign two new ES2015 APIs which are not already arrived to all browsers, so we need to include some polyfills in our application for them: fetch and Promise.

We will need to update our webpack configuration to include in our JS bundle these polyfills.

First, we need to install the polyfills and a couple of webpack plugins:

$ npm install es6-promise whatwg-fetch --save
$ npm install imports-loader exports-loader --save-dev

Now, we update the webpack configuration file:

var webpack = require('webpack');

module.exports = {  
    entry: './app/js/app.js',
    output: {
        filename: 'app/js/dist/bundle.js'
    module: {
        loaders: [
                test: /\.js$/,
                exclude: /(node_modules|bower_components)/,
                loader: 'babel'
                test: /\.html$/,
                loader: 'raw'
    // This is to load polyfills (http://mts.io/2015/04/08/webpack-shims-polyfills/)
    plugins: [
        new webpack.ProvidePlugin({
            fetch: 'imports?this=>global!exports?global.fetch!whatwg-fetch',
            'es6-promise': 'es6-promise'

Search user component

Before we make any request, we must update our SearchUser component to handle username submission and navigate to user page.
Just update its searchUser proxy event to get the username introduced by our user and try to navigate to the corresponding URL.

import Ractive from 'ractive';  
import Template from '../../../views/layout/search-user.html';  
import * as router from '../../plugins/router';

var SearchGithub = Ractive.extend({  
    isolated: true,
    template: Template,

    oninit() {
        this.on('searchUser', (rEvent) => {
            this.set('query', '');

    data: {
        query: ''

export default SearchGithub;  

We've just imported the router plugin and configured the serachUser handler to call plugin's navigation function passing the URL we want to visit (note the string interpolation to build the URL).

Now, when we type a username and submit the form, our router will call our '/user/:username' URL handler (defined in our /app/js/config/routes.js file).
We need to update that handler to perform our action, in this case, load user's info and repos data.

Ajax plugin

Instead of implement all the logic to fetch user related data in the route handler, we'll be using several objects to separete concerns.
In one hand, we'll have a plugin to deal with AJAX request (we'll use the new, in progress, fetch API). On the other hand we'll have a model object to represent a user so it will have all the logic related with users operations.

Let's first create the ajax plugin:

function checkResponseStatus(res) {  
    if (res.status < 400) {
        return res;
    } else {
        let error = new Error(res.statusText);
        error.statusCode = res.status;
        error.response = res;
        throw error;

function parseJson(res) {  
    return new Promise((resolve) => {
        res.json().then(data => {
                json: data,
                url: res.url

export function getJson(url) {  
        return fetch(url)

Ok, this file exports a getJson function which allows to fetch JSON data and return a JS object.

The fetch function returns a promise which will get a Response object as response.
We chain that promise with another one which checks the response status and another one to extract the data from the json response.
You must remember something very important when using fetch function: if the endpoint responds with an error (for instance, a 4XX or 5XX response status code), the fetch function will not invoke the reject part of the promise it creates. That's why we need to first check for the status code of the response, before parsing its body.
Personally, I don't like this behavior and I hope this could change before closing this API specification.

User model

Next, we create our user model, where we encapsulate users state and behavior.

import * as ajax from '../plugins/ajax';

const GITHUB_BASE_URL = 'https://api.github.com';

class User {

    constructor(profile, repos, notes) {
        this.profile = profile;
        this.repos = repos;
        this.notes = notes || []; // Default parameters values are only valid for undefined ones

    static findByName(username) {
        let userProfileUrl = `${GITHUB_BASE_URL}/users/${username}`,
            userReposUrl = `${GITHUB_BASE_URL}/users/${username}/repos`;

        let result = new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
            .then(values => {
                resolve(new User(values[0], values[1]));

        return result;

export default User;  

Route handling

This is a ES2015 class with its constructor function that gets invoked when we create a new instance and a static function which allows to call it without creating a new instance.
Since our ajax plugin uses the fetch API and it returns promises, here we use the Promise.all function which allows to group several promises and get notified when all of them have completed (or when one of them has failed).

Now we need to update our routing configuration so that when the user page URL gets requested, we use this user model object to fetch needed data.

'use strict';

import router from '../plugins/router';  
import HomePage from '../components/home-page';  
import UserPage from '../components/user-page';  
import UserModel from '../models/user';

var routes = new Map();

routes.set('/', (context, next) => {  
    next(null, HomePage);

routes.set('/user/:username', (context, next) => {  
        .then((user) => {
            next(null, UserPage, {
                user: user
        .catch((err) => {

export default routes;  

We get the username from the context parameter and use it to call the user model findByName function so we get user's instance model object.
We then call next so the control gets to the App instance, which updates the componentName (page to be shown) and the request data.
Just to remember...

onNavigation(error, navigationContext) {  
        console.log('APP::onNavigation# Navigating to:', navigationContext.pageName, 'with context:', navigationContext);

        if (error) {
            console.warn('App::onNavigation# Error navigating:', error);
        } else {
                req: {
                    params: navigationContext.params,
                    body: navigationContext.state
                componentName: navigationContext.pageName

Now we need to modify our user page component so, when the request data get updated, it updates its user data attribute so the presentation show the new data.

import Ractive from 'ractive';  
import Template from '../../views/user-page.html';  
import UserProfile from './user/profile-section';  
import Repos from './user/repos-section';  
import Notes from './user/notes-section';

var UserPage = Ractive.components.UserPage = Ractive.extend({  
    template: Template,
    components: {
        UserProfile: UserProfile,
        Repos: Repos,
        Notes: Notes
    oninit() {
        this.observe('req', (request) => {
            this.set('user', request.body.user);
UserPage._name = 'UserPage';

export default UserPage;  

When the page component is initialized, it begins observing for changes in the req data context attribute (which is handled by the App instance).
As we didn't set pages objects as isolated, they will get notified when that attribute gets updated.

If you try to search for a user right now, you won't see any data in your browser, but you won't see any error neither. This is because there's something missing.
Remember pages components are the only ones non isolated, so we need to pass the right user's data to its reusable components.
We need to update our user's page view:

<div class="row">  
    <div class="col-md-4">
        <UserProfile profile="{{user.profile}}" />
    <div class="col-md-4">
        <Repos repos="{{user.repos}}" />
    <div class="col-md-4">
        <Notes />

Now, if you load the app in your browser and search for a user, you must see his profile data and repos.

You can check the source code in this GitHub repo.

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Next post: Managing user's notes