angularjs-periscope

A tool for visualizing AngularJS prototypal $scope inheritance, $scope data structures, and services

Module License: MIT

Added by: Sam Deering

GitHub

Repository

mrajcok/angularjs-periscope

Stats

Stars: 47

Watchers: 47

Forks: 0

Author

Mark Rajcok
Mark Rajcok

Module Description

Peri$scope

A tool for visualizing AngularJS prototypal $scope inheritance, $scope data structures, and services.

Screenshots

key

ng-repeat

Fig. 1 - ng-repeat

isolate scope

Fig. 2 - isolate scope

service

Fig. 3 - service

"controller as"

Fig. 4 - "controller as"

Installation

Install GraphViz.
Install Node.js.

$ sudo npm install -g bower
$ git clone https://github.com/mrajcok/angularjs-periscope
$ cd angularjs-periscope
$ npm install --production  # note, this will also run bower install

If bower says "Unable to find a suitable version for angular, please choose one:", select the latest angular version shown.

If the GraphViz tools (e.g., dot) are not in your path, edit GRAPHVIZ_PATH (around line 7) in file periscope.js. If you forget to do this, you may see an error like the following when you click the "Peri$scope" button on the demo pages:

ERR! post Error: spawn ENOENT
ERR! post     at errnoException (child_process.js:1001:11)
ERR! post     at Process.ChildProcess._handle.onexit (child_process.js:792:34)
ERR! post  execFile error: %s { [Error: spawn ENOENT] code: 'ENOENT', errno: 'ENOENT', syscall: 'spawn' }

To start a server and view the demo pages:

To visualize some of your own AngularJS snippets:

To run a CORS-enabled Peri$scope server alongside your existing server, to visualize your app:

  • copy public/scripts/periscopeModule.js to a directory your server can access
  • add to your HTML: <script src="/path_to_copy_of/periscopeModule.js"></script>
  • add to your HTML: <div periscope></div>
  • $ node periscope-server.js
  • open up a page on your server
  • click the "CORS" checkbox to send Peri$scope requests to the Peri$scope server
    (Note that the default port for the CORS-enabled Peri$scope server is 3300.)

Note that trying to visualize your entire app is probably not a good idea. Normally you'll just want to put the salient pieces of your app into a test project, and run Peri$scope against that.


If you want to help contribute to the Peri$scope project, follow the installation instructions below instead:
(If you already performed the above installation, no problem... just install gulp globally, then run npm install, then you can run the gulp targets mentioned below.)

Install GraphViz.
Install Node.js.

$ sudo npm install -g gulp
$ sudo npm install -g bower
$ git clone https://github.com/mrajcok/angularjs-periscope
$ cd angularjs-periscope
$ npm install  # note, this will also run bower install

If bower says "Unable to find a suitable version for angular, please choose one:", select the latest angular version shown.

If the GraphViz tools (e.g., dot) are not in your path, edit GRAPHVIZ_PATH (around line 7) in file periscope.js. If you forget to do this, you may see an error like the following when you click the "Peri$scope" button on the demo pages:

ERR! post Error: spawn ENOENT
ERR! post     at errnoException (child_process.js:1001:11)
ERR! post     at Process.ChildProcess._handle.onexit (child_process.js:792:34)
ERR! post  execFile error: %s { [Error: spawn ENOENT] code: 'ENOENT', errno: 'ENOENT', syscall: 'spawn' }

If you want live reloading of HTML and JavaScript changes, install the LiveReload browser plugin.

To start a server and view the demo pages:

  • $ gulp # this should automatically open the demo home page and enable LiveReload server-side
    (if the home page doesn't load, open http://localhost:3000/)
  • enable LiveReload in your browser

With LiveReload enabled:

  • if you change a server file (demo-server.js or periscope.js), the server will restart, but the browser will (purposely) not reload
  • if you change a views/*.html file or a public/scripts/*.js file, the browser will reload

I recommend using Workspaces to edit CSS directly inside Chrome's Styles tab, rather than using LiveReload, since we're not using Less or Sass here. However, if you'd rather edit the demo CSS file in your favorite editor and have LiveReload reload changes, uncomment the last gulp.watch(...) line in gulpfile.js for the default target.

To run a CORS-enabled Peri$scope server alongside your existing server, to visualize your app:

  • copy public/scripts/periscopeModule.js to a directory your server can access
  • add to your HTML:
    • <script src="/path_to_copy_of/periscopeModule.js"></script>
    • <div periscope></div>
  • $ gulp periscope-server
  • open up a page on your server
  • click the "CORS" checkbox to send Peri$scope requests to the Peri$scope server
    (The default port for the CORS-enabled Peri$scope server is 3300. If you want to use a different port, change SERVER_PORT in periscope-server.js and constant corsServerUrl in periscopeModule.js.)

Purpose

A picture is worth 1,000 words. This is certainly true regarding how AngularJS uses prototypal inheritance with scopes.

Use Peri$scope to visualize the following:

  • $scope relationships: inheritance (all the way up to the $rootScope) and siblings
  • $scope properties/data structures
  • services (just their properties/data structures)
  • changes to $scope and service properties over time
  • watch listeners (experimental feature)

Use Peri$scope to

  • generate pictures to better answer questions on StackOverflow (as you'll read in the next section, that's how Peri$scope got started)
  • learn about prototypal inheritance
  • see how AngularJS has changed between releases (e.g., bring up the "transcluded scope with new isolate scope" demo page in Angular v1.2 and Angular v1.4 and notice the difference in the graphs)
  • find bugs in your code (e.g., you spelled some scope property name incorrectly in a child scope, and you were unable to figure this out until Peri$scope drew you a picture)
  • show your coworkers (with a picture!) the real problem :)

Most of the Peri$scope features are explained in the demo pages, so we won't repeat them here, except for one:

  • To find the scope $id associated with an element, select the element with the browser's dev tools, then in the console type:
    scopeId($0) scopeId() is a global function that Peri$scope defines.

To learn more about prototypal scope inheritance, see also AngularJS wiki page Understanding Scopes.

History

I/Mark started writing Peri$scope as a result of trying to answer a bunch of AngularJS v1.0 questions on StackOverflow back in 2012. I started adding hack after hack to support new features quickly. A few people asked about it, and I wanted to learn some Node.js so finally, in late 2014 I began the rewrite. I switched the server side from Python to Node.js, and I cleaned up and enhanced the client side, which now uses a good bit of recursion. It turned out to be more work than I anticipated (that always happens, right?) However, it is much more useable now than it was in 2012, but it has not been tested much. YMMV. Contributions are welcomed.

Possible Future Enhancements

  • Add controller names to scopes created with ng-controller. This should be possible with angular.module(moduleName)._invokeQueue.
  • Create GraphViz nodes for FormControllers and NgModelControllers.
  • If an array has more than, say, 10 elements, only show the first 5?
  • Use a different color for a new property vs a changed value.
  • Add to the ng-repeat demo page an example using track by ...

Known Issues

  • Objects of type Date, RegExp, Error and Function are not referenced properly like arrays and objects are.
  • The key/legend only renders correctly with the dot rendering engine.
  • If a child scope and a parent scope both inject a service, the child scope may incorrectly reference the parent scope service property rather than point to the service. The "find x in ancestor" code should probably be changed to match the deepest match, not the first/shallowest match.
  • If a scope property is an object and one of its properties references a service or ancestor property, _ref... shows up rather than a reference.
  • Sometimes Graphviz may crash. E.g.,
ERR! post Error: Command failed:
ERR! post     at ChildProcess.exithandler (child_process.js:648:15)
ERR! post     at ChildProcess.emit (events.js:98:17)
ERR! post     at maybeClose (child_process.js:756:16)
ERR! post     at Process.ChildProcess._handle.onexit (child_process.js:823:5)
ERR! post  execFile error: %s { [Error: Command failed: ] killed: false, code: -1073741819, signal: null }

Try selecting a different rendering engine like sfdp to see if the problem really is GraphViz. If it is, report it to the GraphViz project, not this one.

Design Notes

  • Prototypal inheritance, $parent, and $$nextSibling edges are always drawn from the top row of the scope (GraphViz port proto). However, the head of the edge is free to connect to the destination node wherever. This makes for much nicer layouts then attaching the edge to the top row of the destination node.

  • periscope.js adds a p prefix to all GraphViz port names, to guard against JavaScript property names that start with a number (but who would do that?).

  • GraphViz ports are quoted, to guard against JavaScript names that use odd characters.

  • References start with __ref, followed by

    • p| for primitive (only used with @ and =)
    • a| for array
    • o| for object
    • s| for service
    • -| for isolate @ or = or & with no ancestor match.
      Followed by scope<id>: or <serviceName>:.
      Followed by array and object names, separated by _.
      Array elements are denoted via /n, where n is the zero-based index.
      For @ isolate bindings, the value follows: |<value>.
      Isolate scope bindings end with |@ or |= or |&.
      Examples:
    • __refs|myService
    • __refa|myService:serviceArray/3_aa,
    • __ref-|scope2:myObj_myArray/0|my name is Mark|@
  • _type indicates the type of scope, or the controller name.

  • The server that drives the demo pages (demo-server.js) has a very small template engine. A template engine is required to insert the user-selected version of AngularJS into each demo page. The engine was then expanded to include the common headear and footer boilerplate HTML, some #...# variable substitutions, and then (as a late feature) the side-by-side code, which I feel added a lot to the demos because now we can see the HTML that is generating the demo without having to view the source.

Unit Tests

Where are the unit tests, you ask?
Well, you didn't write them yet :) Seriously, if someone would like to tackle this, it would be appreciated. This hasn't been given this too much thought, but here are a few ideas for the motivated individual: the unit tests could bring up demo pages, generate a graph, compare/diff the GraphViz text output to some stored/known-good output. Click some buttons/links on the page (use Selenium?), generate another graph, and do another comarison/diff to another stored file.

Miscellaneous

Use unminified AngularJS files if you want to see the actual function names of the watch listeners.

There is a readme gulp target. If you plan on making a lot of edits to this README.md file, you might want to try it (or you might just want to take a look and see how it works so you can add this capability to your own projects):

  • $ gulp readme # this should automatically open public/README.html and enable LiveReload
    (if the page doesn't load, open http://localhost:3000/README.html)
  • enable LiveReload in your browser

Module stats last updated: 2017-09-18 16:00:02

Disclaimer: Some data on this page may have been gathered from the authors GitHub respository. If you see any mistakes or outdated information please let us know. Thanks!