Thursday, October 02, 2008

Dojo 1.2 Loader and Build System

Dojo 1.2 is now available! Check out the release notes for more detailed information.

I attended the Dojo Developer Day in Boston on Sunday 9/28 and the Dojo Community Day at the Ajax Experience conference on Monday 9/29. It was really nice of the Ajax Experience folks to set up community time for the JavaScript toolkits.

During the Community Day, I gave a short presentation on some new things in Dojo 1.2 with the Dojo loader and the build system. I tried using the Google Docs presentation thing. You can see the slides here (some notes are after the slides):

customBase build option
The final example in the slides demonstrates how you can create a 5.5 KB (gzipped) dojo.js file and dynamically load it after the page loads, so if your site uses progressive enhancement, your up-front Dojo cost can be zero bytes, and just load as little as possible for the functionality that you use.

The 5.5 KB dojo.js file is possible using the "customBase" property of the dojo.js layer in a build profile. Normally we encourage you not to tamper with the contents of dojo.js (what is referred to as Dojo Base), but the customBase build option can give you more control on what parts of Dojo Base you want to load. With the customBase option, the build will go through all the JS files and automatically add dojo.require() calls for the necessary dojo._base modules.

Only use customBase if you keep all your JS code in JS modules -- good practice anyway, and keeps with progressive enhancement suggestions. Do not use customBase if you have Dojo calls inside HTML source.

Using customBase on the "dojo.js" layer with no dojo._base modules (just the loader and some bootstrap functions), the non-gzipped size of  dojo.js comes out to be 13KB (recall from above it is 5.5 KB gzipped). So it is small enough to fit under the 25KB non-gzipped size limit that the iPhone/iPod touch use to allowing caching.

You will likely need to use more of Dojo Base than what is in the 13KB non-gzipped file, but you can tune that by creating more layers and playing with the build to so that all layers are under 25KB.

Another option for use with progressively enhanced web sites, or when you want to load Dojo after page load: djConfig.addOnLoad allows you to set a function to run after Dojo loads. It is most useful when used in conjunction with djConfig.afterOnLoad (used when you manually load Dojo after page load).

Here is a complete example showing djConfig.addOnLoad, djConfig.afterOnLoad and djConfig.require.

There is a bug about using djConfig.require in conjunction with a dojo.js generated via a customBase build, so only use djConfig.require when using a complete Dojo Base file.

Thanks go to Matthew Russell for suggesting djConfig.addOnLoad for the 1.2 release.

There is a new build option for stripping out console method calls. stripConsole=normal strips out all console.* calls except console.error and console.warn. stripConsole=all strips all console.* calls.

Safari 3.1 sometimes has an issue with console.debug not getting defined (fixed in webkit trunk), so this build option can help avoid that issue until Safari is fixed.