30 Days of Vue

The Vue Instance - Data

 

This post is part of the series 30 Days of Vue.

In this series, we're starting from the very basics and walk through everything you need to know to get started with Vue. If you've ever wanted to learn Vue, this is the place to start!

The Vue Instance - Data

Now that we know how to instantiate a Vue application with the Vue instance, let's take a deeper look into how the data property of a Vue instance helps enable reactivity.

The Vue Instance

To reiterate what we’ve learned, the Vue instance is the starting point of Vue applications and contains a data property that allows us to bind data from our instance and on to the template. In the last article, we bound the value of a greeting data property on to the text content of an <h2> tag. Let’s revisit that example and introduce a few more data properties:

new Vue({
  el: '#app',
  data: {
    greeting: 'Hello World!',
    user: 'Hassan Djirdeh',
    city: 'Toronto',
  },
});

We've introduced user and city data properties that have values of 'Hassan Djirdeh' and 'Toronto' respectively. We can re-use the Mustache Syntax to bind these new data properties onto the template:

<html>
  <head>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="./styles.css" />
  </head>

  <body>
    <div id="app">
      <h2>{{ greeting }}</h2>
      <p>by {{ user }} who lives in {{ city }}</p>
    </div>
    <script src="https://unpkg.com/vue"></script>
    <script src="./main.js"></script>
  </body>
</html>

In the code above, we're also introducing a local stylesheet, styles.css, to apply some simple styling on to our application.

With the data being bound to the template, we're now able to see the values of these different data properties.

Live version - https://30dofv-simplebinding.surge.sh

In Vue, information within the data property of an instance is known to be reactive. This means that if we manage to modify or change the data values of a Vue instance, Vue will recognize this change and re-render the template to show the updated data values.

Methods and Handling Events

Let’s see an example of data reactivity. To help facilitate a change in data, we’ll provide the user with a button that will be responsible for changing the greeting message itself (i.e. the value of the greeting data property). We’ll place this button at the bottom of our template:

<html>
  <head>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="./styles.css" />
  </head>

  <body>
    <div id="app">
      <h2>{{ greeting }}</h2>
      <p>by {{ user }} who lives in {{ city }}</p>
      <button>Change Greeting</button>
    </div>
    <script src="https://unpkg.com/vue"></script>
    <script src="./main.js"></script>
  </body>
</html>

As of right now, our button doesn’t do anything. We can attach a click listener to the button to trigger a change to the instance greeting property. To facilitate this change, we can use the instance's methods property:

new Vue({
  el: '#app',
  data: {
    greeting: 'Hello World!',
    user: 'Hassan Djirdeh',
    city: 'Toronto',
  },
  methods: {
    // instance methods
  },
});

The methods property of a Vue instance allows us to define methods bound to that instance that behave like normal JavaScript functions (i.e. are evaluated only when called). In these methods, we’re able to directly change data values kept in our instance.

Instead of using methods, we could also write our intended functionality change inline in the template. We'll be discussing more of this in article #8 - Methods & Computed Properties.

In our example, we’ll create a changeGreeting() method that toggles the value of the greeting data property:

new Vue({
  el: '#app',
  data: {
    greeting: 'Hello World!',
    user: 'Hassan Djirdeh',
    city: 'Toronto'
  },
  methods: {
    changeGreeting() {
      this.greeting = this.greeting === 'Hello World!' ?
       'What is up!' :
       'Hello World!';
    }
  }
});

We’re using a simple ternary operator to toggle the value of the greeting property from 'Hello World!' to 'What is up!' and vice versa.

Notice how we’re referencing the value of the greeting property with this.greeting? When a Vue instance is instantiated, Vue recursively creates a series of getters and setters for each data property to make them reactive. Within an instance, the data object can then be accessed with this.$data. With proxying, Vue proxies all the properties of the instance so this.$data.greeting is equal to simply stating this.greeting. We’ll be talking a little more about reactivity and data-driven Vue apps tomorrow, but for more reading on this - be sure to check out the Options/Data section of the Vue documentation.

With our method prepared, we’ll need to call the method from our template when the user clicks the 'Change Greeting' button. To handle this interaction, we’ll use Vue’s v-on directive.

A Vue directive is essentially a special type of command that can be added to HTML content. We'll be discussing, in more detail, Vue's most commonly used native directives in articles #4, #5, and #6.

The v-on directive is one of the many native Vue directives available to us in the template. To be able to listen to the button click event and run the instance changeGreeting() method, we’ll attach the v-on directive to a click listener on the button element.

<html>
  <head>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="./styles.css" />
  </head>

  <body>
    <div id="app">
      <h2>{{ greeting }}</h2>
      <p>by {{ user }} who lives in {{ city }}</p>
      <button v-on:click="changeGreeting">
        Change Greeting
      </button>
    </div>
    <script src="https://unpkg.com/vue"></script>
    <script src="./main.js"></script>
  </body>
</html>

When we now click the button, the changeGreeting() method is called which changes the value of the greeting data property. When the greeting data property changes, the template is automatically re-rendered to show the change.

Give it a try! Click the 'Change Greeting' button multiple times to witness the greeting text change back and forth.

Live version - https://30dofv-simpledatachange.surge.sh

We’ll stop here for now and spend a little time tomorrow discussing how the things we’ve learned today shape the way we build data-driven applications in Vue.

The entire source code for this tutorial series can be found in the GitHub repo, which includes all the styles and code samples.

If at any point you feel stuck, have further questions, feel free to reach out to us by:

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