You can check it out at github right now (http://github.com/pete/hoshi), or
you can wait for the official release, but Hoshi is here, and it’s incredible.
It’s everything you’ve ever wanted and more. It’s…well, actually it’s just
a first-class view library.
Hoshi fills a gap in Ruby MVC applications, namely the
V part. Templates don’t count as first-class views, don’t allow you to take
advantage of Ruby’s fancy object system (Inheritance is back again!) and
mixing languages is annoying and makes validation/syntax checking harder.
With HAML and ERB, you
mention that the templating engine has its own syntactical rules. On top of
that, with HAML you don’t know if you have valid HTML until you hit the page
that loads that file, and with ERB you don’t know until you run the file, and
even then it might be valid with some values and invalid with others. Ouch.
Hoshi solves this problem in a way similar to the way the very clever and
very cool Markaby does: by
making HTML tags Ruby methods. The main difference between Hoshi and Markaby
is that Hoshi::View sub-classes are view objects. You instantiate
them, call methods on them, and eventually toss the output of one of these
methods over to a browser (or whatever). Hoshi::View isn’t a module, there’s
no funny instance_eval or parsetree business going on behind the scenes, and
method_missing isn’t used unless you set the permissive flag in your view.
And because it guarantees valid HTML/XHTML/XML if you give it valid Ruby,
you’ll know if it’s wrong when your code loads, and you can make sure it’s
valid with ruby -c.
And there is one more cool piece of functionality provided with Hoshi:
html2hoshi. This is a little program (really, a command-line front-end to
lib/html2hoshi.rb) that takes a big, scary, poorly-indented ball of HTML and
generates a nice, clean, readable, manageable Ruby file that uses Hoshi to
generate equivalent HTML. Want to read some obfuscated or compressed HTML?
curl http://www.google.com/ | html2hoshi - | less
Or maybe you have a web designer that emails you HTML files, and whatever
WYSIWYG HTML editor he/she uses generates awful, unreadable code. Maybe the
disigner where you work generates the unreadable code
himself/herself*. Either way, your job of cutting up the
pieces for use in your web app can be a pain. Well, try this out:
html2hoshi index.html index.rb
I bet that when you do that, you’ll feel great. Now the code is readable,
and you move chunks around and cut it into pieces like you would any other
Ruby code. Wow.
Anyway, to summarize, Hoshi: The Web Can Be Awesome.
*Web designers reading this: most of you are cool, please
don’t take this personally, and I’m sure you know the ones I’m talking about.
But I don’t feel that way about you. You’re, like, my BFF. I’ve always
looked up to you and admired your work. The cleanliness of your purely
semantic markup, when married to your elegant CSS has often brought tears to
my eyes. I’m not talking about your code. I’m talking about the
muddled markup manufactured by that guy two cubes down from you. You know who
I mean. The one who has worn down the keys he uses to copy and paste, and who
always smells oddly like sawdust.
Not that it’s a bad smell, just that it’s very odd, especially considering
that he doesn’t do any woodworking. He’s got a studio apartment on the third
floor of that apartment building just down the street from the office, he
can’t possibly own a table saw. Where would he put it? But that smell is
distinctly sawdust. I mean, I’d ask him about it myself, but honestly, how do
you bring it up? And my mind always goes blank when I talk to the guy, you
know? All I can think of is sawdust, and it’s such a strong scent. I’ve
never smelled actual sawdust that smelled that much like sawdust.
Anyway, web designers, to summarize: We cool?
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