Create and Retrieve Nested Objects with MooTools

By  on  

One argument that's been lodged by many is that MooTools doesn't encourage the use of namespaces for classes.  The Dojo Toolkit does employ namespaces and provides two helpful functions for working with them:  dojo.getObject and dojo.setObject.  These methods allow for setting and getting of nested objects via strings.  I've ported this functionality MooTools so you can create and retrieve nested objects quickly!

The MooTools JavaScript

Here goes the magic, slightly modified from Dojo:

(function() {

	// Utility method to get and set objects that may or may not exist
	var objectifier = function(splits, create, context) {
		var result = context || window;
		for(var i = 0, s; result && (s = splits[i]); i++) {
			result = (s in result ? result[s] : (create ? result[s] = {} : undefined));
		}
		return result;
	};

	// Creates an object if it doesn't already exist
	Object.extend("place", function(name, value, context) {
		var splits = name.split("."), s = splits.pop(), result = objectifier(splits, true, context);
		return result && s ? (result[s] = value) : undefined;
	});

	// Retrieves an object if not already present
	Object.extend("retrieve", function(name, create, context) {
		return objectifier(name.split("."), create, context);
	});

	// Checks to see if the object exists
	Object.extend("exists", function(name, context) {
		return Object.retrieve(name, false, context) !== undefined;
	});

})();

Both methods use a root method for parsing the string and finding the object, if it exists.  The place method creates the object, accepting the object name, value, and context (base object), creating the object as desired:

// Creates my.namespace.MyClass
Object.place("my.namespace.MyClass", {
	name: "David"
});
// my.namespace.MyClass.name = "David"

// Creates some.existing.objecto.my.namespace.MyClass
Object.place("my.namespace.MyClass", {
	name: "David"
}, some.existing.objecto); // Has to be an existing object

Likewise, the retrieve method searches for the object, and optionally may create it:

// Get an object
Object.retrieve("my.namespace.MyClassToo");

// Try to find an object, create it if it doesn't exist
Object.retrieve("my.namespace.MyClassThree", true);

As a bonus, I've also thrown in an exists method to check for the existence of an object:

Object.exists("my.namespace.MyClassToo"); // returns TRUE or FALSE

Woohoo!  These are some really nice utility methods to have around if you're looking to work with dynamic objects and namespaces!

Recent Features

  • By
    Conquering Impostor Syndrome

    Two years ago I documented my struggles with Imposter Syndrome and the response was immense.  I received messages of support and commiseration from new web developers, veteran engineers, and even persons of all experience levels in other professions.  I've even caught myself reading the post...

  • By
    Responsive and Infinitely Scalable JS Animations

    Back in late 2012 it was not easy to find open source projects using requestAnimationFrame() - this is the hook that allows Javascript code to synchronize with a web browser's native paint loop. Animations using this method can run at 60 fps and deliver fantastic...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    Use Custom Missing Image Graphics Using Dojo

    A few months back I posted an article about how you can use your own "missing image" graphics when an image fails to load using MooTools and jQuery. Here's how to do the same using Dojo. The HTML We'll delegate the image to display by class...

  • By
    Using Dotter for Form Submissions

    One of the plugins I'm most proud of is Dotter. Dotter allows you to create the typical "Loading..." text without using animated images. I'm often asked what a sample usage of Dotter would be; form submission create the perfect situation. The following...

Discussion

  1. I just thought of a new idea for using the current object as context, if present. Stay tuned for an update to the script above!

    • Update made, but the context experiment didn’t work. Shortened the method though.

  2. Thanks David,
    I knew that feature from dojo and really was missing it in Mootools!
    Cheers

  3. My test file is available here: http://davidwalsh.name/dw-content/mootools-object.html . It provides numerous different examples of what’s presented above.

  4. Jani Peltoniemi

    This is a bit cleaner than my version. Thanks.

    Might I suggest changing the order of arguments? In MooTools the context object is always the first argument and yours is the opposite.

    • Jani Peltoniemi

      I also noticed that place() fails if in the context object somewhere along the path is a non-object value. I changed mine to overwrite any existing values, but I’m curious whether or not such behavior is desirable.

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!