Redux + Roku = Redoku

Making Roku development less painful by making state changes more predictable

If you have done any JS development in the last several years, then you have no doubt encountered Redux. From their own description it "helps you write applications that behave consistently". I have been doing a lot of Roku development as well, and one thing that is sorely needed is "more consistency". I liked Redux and the way it solved state management so much that I thought I should bring it over to the BrightScript/Roku world.

Usage

In your main() function, construct an associative array that represents your app's state structure and initial values. Pass this to RedokuSetInitialState() before showing your root Scene.

In your root scene, call RedokuRegisterReducer() for each reducer in your app. Note that each reducer should target a 'section' (property) of the overall state, and that is the only portion of the state that it will be passed when called. Each 'section' that will be handled by a reducer must be an associative array.

Ex: For a 'todos' reducer (RedokuRegisterReducer("todos", todosReducer), set up your state like this:

{
    todos: {
        items: [...]
    },
    config: {
    }
}

Not this:

{
    todos: [...],  'this should not be an array
    config: {
    }
}

After you have registered all of your reducers, call RedokuInitialize from your root scene to set up the dispatch mechanisms and to trigger the initial reduction pass.

Individual components can call any action creator functions to trigger state updates. Action creator functions should call RedokuDispatch() with a single action parameter. The action parameter should be an associative array with (at minimum) a type property and also contain any other properties as appropriate. You can also call RedokuDispatch() from a Task node at any point during its execution to report asynchronous state changes.

Internally, calls to RedokuDispatch() will result in a call to RedokuRunReducers which will loop through all registered reducers and provide them with an opportunity to modify the state. If a given reducer does not respond to the action specified, simply return the passed-in state parameter. If the reducer needs to modify the state, make sure to create a copy of the state before mutating it and returning it. You can use RedokuClone() to easily create a copy of the state before modifying it.

If the state changes, m.global.state will be updated. Any components can set up an observer on that field and update their UI as appropriate.

For Redux Javascript Developers

If you are familiar with Redux in Javascript, most of the concepts have an analog version in Redoku.

store & createStore()

You initialize your 'store' by calling RedokuSetInitialState() and RedokuInitialize(). The equivalent of store.dispatch() is RedokuDispatch(). State is stored in the global context, so the equivalent of store.getState() is to access m.global.state. You can set up an observer on m.global.state to be notified when it changes.

reducers

Redoku reducers are pure functions of the type state => (state, action) just like in Redux. There is no combineReducers() function, but instead you register each reducer independently using RedokuRegisterReducer().

actions & action creators

Actions and action creators are exactly the same as in Redux. Actions must have a type property along with any other additional data.

async actions & thunk

There is no need for thunk or middleware in Redoku to handle async actions. Asynchronous logic is handled by Scene Graph Tasks. There are two ways to trigger async actions using Tasks:

  1. In the actual Task itself, dispatch your actions directly (when the task is complete or at any point during its execution).
  2. In your components, spin up the Task and watch for its completion using observeField and when it is complete, dispatch your actions from your component.

In both cases, the actions are just normal synchronous actions fired during/after any asynchronous activity.

The full source code is available here: Redoku

(NOTE: If you like Redux, you probably like React as well. Creating a React analog for Roku is quite a bit more complex, but stay tuned for a future blog post.)

 

@briandunnington


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