JavaScript interoperability

As seen earlier, you start by instantiating a single LiveSocket to enable LiveView client/server interaction, for example:

import {Socket} from "phoenix"
import {LiveSocket} from "phoenix_live_view"

let csrfToken = document.querySelector("meta[name='csrf-token']").getAttribute("content")
let liveSocket = new LiveSocket("/live", Socket, {params: {_csrf_token: csrfToken}})
liveSocket.connect()

All options are passed directly to the Phoenix.Socket constructor, except for the following LiveView specific options:

  • bindingPrefix - the prefix to use for phoenix bindings. Defaults "phx-"
  • params - the connect_params to pass to the view's mount callback. May be a literal object or closure returning an object. When a closure is provided, the function receives the view's phx-view name.
  • hooks – a reference to a user-defined hooks namespace, containing client callbacks for server/client interop. See the Client hooks section below for details.
  • uploaders – a reference to a user-defined uploaders namespace, containing client callbacks for client-side direct-to-cloud uploads. See the External Uploads guide for details.

Debugging Client Events

To aid debugging on the client when troubleshooting issues, the enableDebug() and disableDebug() functions are exposed on the LiveSocket JavaScript instance. Calling enableDebug() turns on debug logging which includes LiveView life-cycle and payload events as they come and go from client to server. In practice, you can expose your instance on window for quick access in the browser's web console, for example:

// app.js
let liveSocket = new LiveSocket(...)
liveSocket.connect()
window.liveSocket = liveSocket

// in the browser's web console
>> liveSocket.enableDebug()

The debug state uses the browser's built-in sessionStorage, so it will remain in effect for as long as your browser session lasts.

Simulating Latency

Proper handling of latency is critical for good UX. LiveView's CSS loading states allow the client to provide user feedback while awaiting a server response. In development, near zero latency on localhost does not allow latency to be easily represented or tested, so LiveView includes a latency simulator with the JavaScript client to ensure your application provides a pleasant experience. Like the enableDebug() function above, the LiveSocket instance includes enableLatencySim(milliseconds) and disableLatencySim() functions which apply throughout the current browser session. The enableLatencySim function accepts an integer in milliseconds for the round-trip-time to the server. For example:

// app.js
let liveSocket = new LiveSocket(...)
liveSocket.connect()
window.liveSocket = liveSocket

// in the browser's web console
>> liveSocket.enableLatencySim(1000)
[Log] latency simulator enabled for the duration of this browser session.
      Call disableLatencySim() to disable

Loading state and errors

By default, the following classes are applied to the LiveView's parent container:

  • "phx-connected" - applied when the view has connected to the server
  • "phx-disconnected" - applied when the view is not connected to the server
  • "phx-error" - applied when an error occurs on the server. Note, this class will be applied in conjunction with "phx-disconnected" if connection to the server is lost.

All phx- event bindings apply their own css classes when pushed. For example the following markup:

<button phx-click="clicked" phx-window-keydown="key">...</button>

On click, would receive the phx-click-loading class, and on keydown would receive the phx-keydown-loading class. The css loading classes are maintained until an acknowledgement is received on the client for the pushed event.

In the case of forms, when a phx-change is sent to the server, the input element which emitted the change receives the phx-change-loading class, along with the parent form tag. The following events receive css loading classes:

  • phx-click - phx-click-loading
  • phx-change - phx-change-loading
  • phx-submit - phx-submit-loading
  • phx-focus - phx-focus-loading
  • phx-blur - phx-blur-loading
  • phx-window-keydown - phx-keydown-loading
  • phx-window-keyup - phx-keyup-loading

For live page navigation via live_redirect and live_patch, as well as form submits via phx-submit, the JavaScript events "phx:page-loading-start" and "phx:page-loading-stop" are dispatched on window. Additionally, any phx- event may dispatch page loading events by annotating the DOM element with phx-page-loading. This is useful for showing main page loading status, for example:

// app.js
import topbar from "topbar"
window.addEventListener("phx:page-loading-start", info => topbar.show())
window.addEventListener("phx:page-loading-stop", info => topbar.hide())

Within the callback, info.detail will be an object that contains a kind key, with a value that depends on the triggering event:

  • "redirect" - the event was triggered by a redirect
  • "patch" - the event was triggered by a patch
  • "initial" - the event was triggered by initial page load
  • "element" - the event was triggered by a phx- bound element, such as phx-click

For all kinds of page loading events, all but "element" will receive an additional to key in the info metadata pointing to the href associated with the page load.

In the case of an "element" page loading event, the info will contain a "target" key containing the DOM element which triggered the page loading state.

Triggering phx form events with JavaScript

Often it is desirable to trigger an event on a DOM element without explicit user interaction on the element. For example, a custom form element such as a date picker or custom select input which utilizes a hidden input element to store the selected state.

In these cases, the event functions on the DOM API can be used, for example to trigger a phx-change event:

document.getElementById("my-select").dispatchEvent(
  new Event("input", {bubbles: true})
)

When using a client hook, this.el can be used to determine the element as outlined in the "Client hooks" documentation.

It is also possible to trigger a phx-submit using a "submit" event:

document.getElementById("my-form").dispatchEvent(
  new Event("submit", {bubbles: true})
)

Client hooks

To handle custom client-side JavaScript when an element is added, updated, or removed by the server, a hook object may be provided with the following life-cycle callbacks:

  • mounted - the element has been added to the DOM and its server LiveView has finished mounting
  • beforeUpdate - the element is about to be updated in the DOM. Note: any call here must be synchronous as the operation cannot be deferred or cancelled.
  • updated - the element has been updated in the DOM by the server
  • destroyed - the element has been removed from the page, either by a parent update, or by the parent being removed entirely
  • disconnected - the element's parent LiveView has disconnected from the server
  • reconnected - the element's parent LiveView has reconnected to the server

The above life-cycle callbacks have in-scope access to the following attributes:

  • el - attribute referencing the bound DOM node,
  • viewName - attribute matching the DOM node's phx-view value
  • pushEvent(event, payload, (reply, ref) => ...) - method to push an event from the client to the LiveView server
  • pushEventTo(selectorOrTarget, event, payload, (reply, ref) => ...) - method to push targeted events from the client to LiveViews and LiveComponents. It sends the event to the LiveComponent or LiveView the selectorOrTarget is defined in, where it's value can be either a query selector or an actual DOM element. If the query selector returns more than one element it will send the event to all of them, even if all the elements are in the same LiveComponent or LiveView.
  • handleEvent(event, (payload) => ...) - method to handle an event pushed from the server
  • upload(name, files) - method to inject a list of file-like objects into an uploader.
  • uploadTo(selectorOrTarget, name, files) - method to inject a list of file-like objects into an uploader. The hook will send the files to the uploader with name defined by allow_upload/3 on the server-side. Dispatching new uploads triggers an input change event which will be sent to the LiveComponent or LiveView the selectorOrTarget is defined in, where it's value can be either a query selector or an actual DOM element. If the query selector returns more than one live file input, an error will be logged.

For example, the markup for a controlled input for phone-number formatting could be written like this:

<input type="text" name="user[phone_number]" id="user-phone-number" phx-hook="PhoneNumber" />

Then a hook callback object could be defined and passed to the socket:

let Hooks = {}
Hooks.PhoneNumber = {
  mounted() {
    this.el.addEventListener("input", e => {
      let match = this.el.value.replace(/\D/g, "").match(/^(\d{3})(\d{3})(\d{4})$/)
      if(match) {
        this.el.value = `${match[1]}-${match[2]}-${match[3]}`
      }
    })
  }
}

let liveSocket = new LiveSocket("/live", Socket, {hooks: Hooks, ...})
...

Note: when using phx-hook, a unique DOM ID must always be set.

For integration with client-side libraries which require a broader access to full DOM management, the LiveSocket constructor accepts a dom option with an onBeforeElUpdated callback. The fromEl and toEl DOM nodes are passed to the function just before the DOM patch operations occurs in LiveView. This allows external libraries to (re)initialize DOM elements or copy attributes as necessary as LiveView performs its own patch operations. The update operation cannot be cancelled or deferred, and the return value is ignored. For example, the following option could be used to add Alpine.js support to your project:

let liveSocket = new LiveSocket("/live", Socket, {
  ...,
  dom: {
    onBeforeElUpdated(from, to){
      if(from._x_dataStack){ window.Alpine.clone(from, to) }
    }
  },
})

Client-server communication

A hook can push events to the LiveView by using the pushEvent function and receive a reply from the server via a {:reply, map, socket} return value. The reply payload will be passed to the optional pushEvent response callback.

Communication with the hook from the server can be done by reading data attributes on the hook element or by using Phoenix.LiveView.push_event/3 on the server and handleEvent on the client.

For example, to implement infinite scrolling, one can pass the current page using data attributes:

<div id="infinite-scroll" phx-hook="InfiniteScroll" data-page="<%= @page %>">

And then in the client:

Hooks.InfiniteScroll = {
  page() { return this.el.dataset.page },
  mounted(){
    this.pending = this.page()
    window.addEventListener("scroll", e => {
      if(this.pending == this.page() && scrollAt() > 90){
        this.pending = this.page() + 1
        this.pushEvent("load-more", {})
      }
    })
  },
  updated(){ this.pending = this.page() }
}

However, the data attribute approach is not a good approach if you need to frequently push data to the client. To push out-of-band events to the client, for example to render charting points, one could do:

<div id="chart" phx-hook="Chart">
{:noreply, push_event(socket, "points", %{points: new_points})}

And then on the client:

Hooks.Chart = {
  mounted(){
    this.handleEvent("points", ({points}) => MyChartLib.addPoints(points))
  }
}

Note: events pushed from the server via push_event are global and will be dispatched to all active hooks on the client who are handling that event.

Note: In case a LiveView pushes events and renders content, handleEvent callbacks are invoked after the page is updated. Therefore, if the LiveView redirects at the same time it pushes events, callbacks won't be invoked on the old page's elements. Callbacks would be invoked on the redirected page's newly mounted hook elements.