article featured image

Table of Contents

From the original article

If you think we are going to introduce another Javascript framework, you can keep reading without worry. As its creators have clarified, Stencil.js is not a framework—Instead, it’s a compiler of web components.

Web components are a essentially the future of web development. They are basically HTML tags that will work across modern browsers, and can be used with any JavaScript library or framework that works with HTML; no more React.js vs. Angular vs. Vue.js debates, as they are based on existing web standards, allowing developers to easily extend HTML with new elements, encapsulated styling and custom behavior without spending their days debugging volatile libraries.

In this post, we are going to create a small to-do list application using Stencil tooling and cover the basics of web components. This example assumes that you have a development environment ready. You can also find the code for this tutorial on GitHub.

Let’s start.

Stencil Project Starter

Stencil gives us the tools to write web components using TypeScript and JSX and compiles down to vanilla web components for any framework to use.

  • 1

    Let’s start by cloning the Stencil starter kit:

    copy
    $ git clone https://github.com/ionic-team/stencil-starter.git todolist-stencil
  • 2

    Navigate to the new directory and install the project dependencies:

    copy
     $ cd todolist-stencil && npm install
  • 3

    Delete the app-profile and app-home folders and update the my-app component respectively, because they’re not needed for this demo.

    copy
    $ rm -rf src/components/app-profile && rm -rf src/components/app-home
    $ cat src/components/my-app.tsx
    
    import { Component } from '@stencil/core';
    @Component({
     tag: 'my-app',
     styleUrl: 'my-app.css'
    })
    export class MyApp {
     render() {
       return (
         <div>
           <header>
             <h1 class="heading">Todo List with Stencil</h1>
           </header>
           <main>
             <todo-app>
           </todo-app></main>
         </div>
       );
     }
    }

    As you can see, the component format follows a mixture between Angular and React.js structure using decorators to add metadata and a render method to define the HTML. We can also define a CSS file URL that can be used for scoped component styling rules.

  • 4

    Create the todo-app folder and add the code for our example:

    copy
    import {Component, State} from '@stencil/core';
    import {TodoItem} from "../../models/todoItem";
    
    @Component({
     tag: 'todo-app',
     styleUrl: 'todo-app.css'
    })
    export class TodoApp {
     @State() items: TodoItem[] = [];
     @State() text: string;
     
     render() {
       const handleOnChange = (e) => this.handleOnChange(e);
       const handleSubmit = (e) => this.handleSubmit(e);
       return (
         <div class="todo-app">
           <h1>TODO LIST</h1>
           <todo-list todoitems="{this.items}/">
           <todo-list-form onsubmit="{handleSubmit}" oninputchange="{handleOnChange}" todoitemslength="{this.items.length}/">
         </todo-list-form></todo-list></div>
       );
     }
     private handleSubmit(e) {
       e.preventDefault();
       if (!this.text.length) {
         return;
       }
       const newItem = new TodoItem(this.text);
       this.text = '';
       this.items = [...this.items, newItem];
     }
     private handleOnChange(e) {
       this.text = e.detail;
     }
    }
    

Here we define a new component that will render our existing list of items that we added, and the input form that we use to add the to-do list item. Note the usage of the @State decorator, as it’s used to assign local component state just like React. When we change the value of this property, the component render method gets called again.

Let’s see the contents of the todo-list:

copy
$ mkdir src/components/todo-list && touch  src/components/todo-list/todo-list.tsx
File: src/components/todo-list/todo-list.tsx

import { Component , Prop } from '@stencil/core';
import { TodoItem } from "../../models/todoItem";

@Component({
 tag: 'todo-list'
})
export class TodoList {
 @Prop() todoItems: TodoItem[];
 
 render() {
   return (
     <ul class="todo-list">
       {
         this.todoItems.map((item: TodoItem) => (
           <li>{item.text}</li>
         ))
       }
     </ul>
   );
 }
}
In this component, we use the @Prop() decorator to receive properties from the parent and render them.

Now, let’s see the contents of the todo-list-form:

copy
import { Component, Prop, Event, EventEmitter, State } from '@stencil/core';
 
@Component({
 tag: 'todo-list-form'
})
export class TodoListForm {
 @Prop() todoItemsLength: number;
 @State() value: string = '';
 @Event() inputChange: EventEmitter;
 @Event() submit: EventEmitter;
 
 handleOnChange(e) {
   this.value = e.target.value;
   this.inputChange.emit(this.value)
 }
 handleOnSubmit(e) {
   e.preventDefault();
   this.submit.emit(this.value);
   this.value = '';
 }
 
 render() {
   const handleOnChange = (e) => this.handleOnChange(e);
   const handleOnSubmit = (e) => this.handleOnSubmit(e);
   return (
     <form class="todo-list-form" onsubmit="{handleOnSubmit}">
       <input type="text" oninput="{handleOnChange}" value="{this.value}">
       <button>
         Add #{this.todoItemsLength + 1}
       </button>
     </form>
   );
 }
}

Here we show the usage of event handling using the @Event() decorator. We bind the change and the submit event and emit the contents to the parent element, which is the todo-app component.

Finally, let’s define the TodoItem model:

copy
$ mkdir src/models && touch  src/models/todo-item.ts
File: src/models/todo-item.ts
export class TodoItem {
 text: string;
 constructor(text: string) {
   this.text = text;
 }
}

Now we are ready to run our application:

copy
$ npm run dev

Next, navigate to http://localhost:3333 and interact with the page. Here is an example view:

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we made a demo web application using the Stencil.js component compiler. There is not much difference in developing web components with Stencil as compared to React, so the transition overhead is small. If you are a web developer who wants standards-based components and ease of developing them, then you will benefit from this library. As for me, I have to finish my to-do list chores!

  1. Official Website: Official website of Stencil.js
  2. Web Components: Short intro about web components
Using Terraform remote state for collaboration

Related articles