Adopting TypeScript in a large SPA project

We launched a SPA lately that has been both the most complex project and the largest team that I’ve worked on to date and we’ve had a really terrific time with some new tooling that I’d like to share. All of these tooling changes are fairly easy to adopt in any new SPA and have greatly eased some of the pains associated with the development of a typical SPA.

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Building an efficient subscription for knockout computed observables

Subscribing to a ko.computed isn’t the same thing as subscribing to a ko.observable. Ryan Niemeyer has written on the topic and I’ll admit, it took me a while to wrap my head around it. I’ll go over the problem and how we bypass it, but the end result is really handy and reusable: a new ‘efficientlySubscribe’ method that is a part of all ko.computed’s.

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Extending Ryan Niemeyer’s protectedComputed

Ryan Niemeyer has a great article on the protectedComputed that he came up with, but I needed a little more functionality out of it. I ended up adding a few things and wanted to get it online for public consumption if anyone found the new functionality useful, so here it is!

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There’s no reason to NOT use css sprites anymore

Sprites have always been great for web development but it was a significant undertaking to actually implement them – Not anymore though!

Most developers I know didn’t bother implementing them because of the pain associated with maintaining your sprite and the css classes. Sure you could use an online generator but that was a pain because it wasn’t a super simple process to add / remove images. You’d have to go to a site like css-sprit.es or csssprites.com and upload all your images and then update the project with the updated sprite and css. Bleh, that’s a huge pain. Don’t get me wrong, those sites were extremely useful for those that had to use them, but all this stuff should be done for us nowadays.

I love the idea of sprites but this was too much work, thankfully Microsoft came up with an awesome NuGet package that will probably be a part of MVC4!

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Changing an observableArray in 1 notification

I was just reading Ryan Niemeyer’s 2nd post about performance in knockout.js and I saw arrayPushAll. We ended up needing to use it for reasons other than performance, but performance does benefit greatly from its use.

We just had a problem (4/6/2012) where we were adding an array of items, one at a time in a loop, to an observable array. We wanted that notification of the array changing to trigger an ajax request, but we couldn’t because we were getting {n} notifications and we only wanted one request.

Initially I had to wire up the event in an odd way and that approach didn’t feel right since it seemed that we should be able to use the arrays changed notification. I should have thought to look up if ko had a slice or an equivalent, but I didn’t at the time. Now we just use arrayPushAll and this gives us a single notification because its a single change to the array. This is a much better solution and the added performance is great too!

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