Posted on May 7, 2015 by Chris Harrington

Webpack with LESS and React

I’ve recently been playing around with Webpack and I really like it. It has the benefits of Browserify in that you can specify an entry point that’ll pull in all of your required modules into a single bundle with optional minification, while also letting you bundle your style together in your modules. For example, I can require a style file for a particular module right from the module itself, which allows me to somewhat limit the global nature of CSS rules. On top of that, Webpack allows us to leverage LESS in these included style files, too, that get compiled down to CSS. I’m a huge fan of this, as it allows us to create less coupled modules in that each style file can be tied directly to a module, and only gets pulled in when its required. Webpack also utilizes what they call “loaders”, which are basically preprocessors that perform various tasks. For example, there’s a LESS loader to convert LESS into CSS, and a JSX loader to perform a similar conversion for React classes.

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Posted on January 20, 2015 by Chris Harrington

Concurrent watches with Grunt

I’ve been using Grunt with Browserify recently to build the theme for this blog ( and I’ve noticed that using grunt-contrib-watch in conjunction with Browserify is pretty slow: on the order of 1500ms on a JavaScript code change, which I felt was unacceptable. Watchify is a tool used to bundle Browserify modules on change that works much faster because it only rebundles files that have changed. This is great, but I run into a problem if I’m watching my LESS files at the same time, as each watcher will block. I’ve put together a quick Gruntfile that’ll allow you to run multiple watchers using grunt-concurrent, a Grunt task that’ll let us to run multiple blocking tasks at the same time.

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Posted on December 13, 2014 by Chris Harrington

Angular JS calendar using Moment and LESS CSS

Today, I’m going to talk about how to create a calendar control using Angular JS, LESS CSS, Font Awesome and Moment. I’m going to assume you’re at least halfway familiar with these tools, but if you’re not, I suggest you take a look using the links above. The calendar itself will be an Angular JS directive that allows the user to select a date, which is set on a controller’s property. I’ve styled the calendar, and I’ll include that style in this tutorial, but you can obviously feel free to tweak how it looks to your heart’s content. If you’re the kind of reader that prefers to view a completed product and just check the source yourself, I’ve put together a demo page which shows off the calendar. You can see it here.

I’m going to break down the write up into a couple of different sections. First, the HTML. It’s pretty straightforward, as it’s just the calendar directive HTML. Then, we’ll walk through the JavaScript code, which shows how I’m using Angular JS to update the directive’s state which, in turn, updates the calendar view. Finally, I’ll describe what I’m doing with each of the CSS rules that style the calendar. While most of the CSS is simple, there are few things I’m going to go over that might be new to the reader.

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Posted on October 27, 2014 by Chris Harrington

Building a sliding modal dialog with Angular JS

The more I use Angular JS, the more I like it. I’ve been playing around with Facebook’s React recently, and I went back to Angular, primarily because I found React a little more restrictive with respect to two way bindings. I’ve built a modal dialog control in Angular which I figure you guys might find useful. The modal dialog itself is an Angular directive, and I’m using LESS for some of the slightly more complicated CSS rules. I’m going to assume you’re relatively proficient with both, but if you’re not, I highly recommend you check them out before plunging into this tutorial.

If you’re the sort of reader who just wants to see the whole thing in action, feel free to take a look at the demo page I’ve put together that shows off the whole thing. Viewing the source on that page should give you a pretty good overview of what’s going on.

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Posted on September 29, 2014 by Chris Harrington

Animated rotate directive with Angular JS

I’ve recently been playing around with Angular JS and I like it, and so decided to spend a bunch of time converting Leaf from Knockout to Angular. It’s not that I think that Angular is substantially better than Knockout (that remains to be seen) but rather that I figure this is a good way for me to figure out the ins and outs of a new framework. One of the things I really like about Angular is building custom directives. I’ve only been tinkering for a week or two, but I already have dozens of custom directives for all sorts of situations and code snippets. They’re very, very handy.

So in that vein, one of the directives I’ve built revolves around rotating an element based on an Angular scope variable. My first use case for it was for expanding a sliding drop down. In the collapsed state, there’s a Font Awesome angle down icon that indicates to the user that it can be expanded, and after expansion, it changes to an angle up icon to indicate that the user can click again to collapse the panel. The following rotate directive is used to animate a rotation from up to down.

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