Why haven't I been using Type Script?

by Anthony 24. May 2014 10:13

In this line of work things come and go.  I like the change, but sometimes it can be a pain in the rear (who remembers Silverlight RIA services?).  So I usually let things bake for a bit before I start working with them.  Recently we have been exploring LESS and TypeScript as a way to make our CSS and JavaScript more manageable in my group.  I think LESS is awesome, but I haven't done a deep dive into it as of yet.  However, TypeScript is what JavaScript has been missing in my opinion.  A while back I wrote the article Please stop pushing JavaScript down my throat several of the items mentioned in that article are addressed by TypeScript:

  • Polymorphism
  • Encapsulation
  • Interfaces
  • Inheritance

Is all expanded upon in TypeScript.  While it is true several of these concepts do exist in JavaScript they are a bit obfuscated.  Type script brings them to the forefront. For example Interfaces do not exist in JavaScript (you can say they can be achieved but they still don't exist.) Interfaces are a simple matter in TypeScript with the  "implements" keyword classA implements InterfaceA.

Polymorphism does exist in JavaScript, I would say otherwise, but again it's implementation is not {classX implements classY}.  TypeScript handles this exactly nicely with the "extends" keyword  {classX extends classY}.

I could continue to site language references but I prefer to show rather than pontificate. So to start learning type script I set out to recreate the fractal Koch's Snowflake.  The project is using MVC, but I also created a plain vanilla HTML page that performs the same functionality as the MVC View. So the first core item of a 2D vector graphics is the point:

In java script it could be implemented like this:

var Point = (function () {
	function Point(x, y) {
		this.x = x;
		this.y = y;
	}
	Point.prototype.draw = function (htmlcanvas) {
		var drawcontext = htmlcanvas.getContext("2d");
		drawcontext.strokeStyle = lineColor;
		drawcontext.fillRect(this.x, this.y, 10, 10);

		drawcontext.stroke();
	};
	return Point;
})();

But with TypeScript we have much more type control:

interface IPoint {
	x: number;
	y: number;
	draw(htmlcanvas: HTMLCanvasElement);
}

class Point implements IPoint {
	constructor(public x, public y) {
	}
	draw(htmlcanvas: HTMLCanvasElement) {
		var drawcontext:CanvasRenderingContext2D = htmlcanvas.getContext("2d");
		drawcontext.strokeStyle = lineColor;
		drawcontext.fillRect(this.x, this.y, 10, 10);
	   
		drawcontext.stroke();
	}
}

Two points to make:

  1. I didn't save a ton of typing (in some cases it is more)
  2. I did however increase the maintainability of this code.

All of my variables are typed and I created a loosely coupled Point object.  If I need to create a special point that does something else down the line I can.  An example of this is Line to Curve.  Now this is a pretty lame example, because it isn't really something you would do in the real world.  BUT THIS ISN'T THE REAL WORLD THIS IS MY WORLD KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!!  Ok Sorry about that back to our program already in progress.  So lets take a look at the implementation of line and curve:

interface ILine {
	start: IPoint;
	end: IPoint;
	draw(htmlcanvas: HTMLCanvasElement);
}

class Line implements ILine {
	constructor(public start: Point, public end: Point) { }
	draw(htmlcanvas: HTMLCanvasElement) {
		var drawcontext: CanvasRenderingContext2D = htmlcanvas.getContext("2d");
		this.drawByContext(drawcontext);
		drawcontext.stroke();
	}

	drawByContext(drawcontext: CanvasRenderingContext2D) {
		drawcontext.moveTo(this.start.x, this.start.y);
		drawcontext.lineTo(this.end.x, this.end.y);

		drawcontext.strokeStyle = lineColor;
		
	}

	drawpoints(htmlcanvas: HTMLCanvasElement) {
		this.start.draw(htmlcanvas);
		this.end.draw(htmlcanvas);
	}
}

class Curve extends Line {
	draw(htmlcanvas: HTMLCanvasElement) {
		var drawcontext: CanvasRenderingContext2D = htmlcanvas.getContext("2d");
		drawcontext.beginPath();  
		drawcontext.moveTo(this.start.x+10, this.start.y+10);
		drawcontext.arcTo(this.start.x+100, this.start.y+10, this.end.x, this.end.y+400,60);

		drawcontext.strokeStyle = lineColor;
		drawcontext.stroke();
	}
}

Pretty straight forward.  Now lets look at the JavaScript version:

var __extends = this.__extends || function (d, b) {
    for (var p in b) if (b.hasOwnProperty(p)) d[p] = b[p];
    function __() { this.constructor = d; }
    __.prototype = b.prototype;
    d.prototype = new __();
};
var Line = (function () {
	function Line(start, end) {
		this.start = start;
		this.end = end;
	}
	Line.prototype.draw = function (htmlcanvas) {
		var drawcontext = htmlcanvas.getContext("2d");
		this.drawByContext(drawcontext);
		drawcontext.stroke();
	};

	Line.prototype.drawByContext = function (drawcontext) {
		drawcontext.moveTo(this.start.x, this.start.y);
		drawcontext.lineTo(this.end.x, this.end.y);

		drawcontext.strokeStyle = lineColor;
	};

	Line.prototype.drawpoints = function (htmlcanvas) {
		this.start.draw(htmlcanvas);
		this.end.draw(htmlcanvas);
	};
	return Line;
})();

var Curve = (function (_super) {
	__extends(Curve, _super);
	function Curve() {
		_super.apply(this, arguments);
	}
	Curve.prototype.draw = function (htmlcanvas) {
		var drawcontext = htmlcanvas.getContext("2d");
		drawcontext.beginPath();
		drawcontext.moveTo(this.start.x + 10, this.start.y + 10);
		drawcontext.arcTo(this.start.x + 100, this.start.y + 10, this.end.x, this.end.y + 400, 60);

		drawcontext.strokeStyle = lineColor;
		drawcontext.stroke();
	};
	return Curve;
})(Line);

Again not a ton of typing saved, but the TypeScript method is much easier to follow.

Finally what I wanted to accomplish was a fractal called Koch's Snowflake with the canvas object.  Putting Point, and Line together I was able to accomplish this fairly easily with some internet help on the algorithm.  Thank you Nathan Bronecke for your Java Applet code.  The result looks like this and was created completely with TypeScript.

 

You can download the full project here: KochSnowflake GitHub

You can read more about TypeScript here

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