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Shared State · Vaadin
Vaadin Framework - Client-Server Integration - Shared State
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Shared State

The basic communication from a server-side component to its the client-side widget counterpart is handled using a shared state. The shared state is serialized transparently. It should be considered read-only on the client-side, as it is not serialized back to the server-side.

A shared state object simply needs to extend the AbstractComponentState. The member variables should normally be declared as public.

public class MyComponentState extends AbstractComponentState {
    public String text;
}

A shared state should never contain any logic. If the members have private visibility for some reason, you can also use public setters and getters, in which case the property must not be public.

Location of Shared-State Classes

The shared-state classes are used by both server- and client-side classes, but widget set compilation requires that they must be located in a client-side source package. The default location is under a client package under the package of the .gwt.xml descriptor. If you wish to organize the shared classes separately from other client-side code, you can define separate client-side source packages for pure client-side classes and any shared classes. In addition to shared state classes, shared classes could include enumerations and other classes needed by shared-state or RPC communication.

For example, you could have the following definitions in the .gwt.xml descriptor:

    <source path="client" />
    <source path="shared" />

The paths are relative to the package containing the descriptor.

Accessing Shared State on Server-Side

A server-side component can access the shared state with the getState() method. It is required that you override the base implementation with one that returns the shared state object cast to the proper type, as follows:

@Override
public MyComponentState getState() {
    return (MyComponentState) super.getState();
}

You can then use the getState() to access the shared state object with the proper type.

public MyComponent() {
    getState().setText("This is the initial state");
    ....
}

Handling Shared State in a Connector

A connector can access a shared state with the getState() method. The access should be read-only. It is required that you override the base implementation with one that returns the proper shared state type, as follows:

@Override
public MyComponentState getState() {
    return (MyComponentState) super.getState();
}

State changes made on the server-side are communicated transparently to the client-side. When a state change occurs, the onStateChanged() method in the connector is called. You should always call the superclass method before anything else to handle changes to common component properties.

@Override
public void onStateChanged(StateChangeEvent stateChangeEvent) {
    super.onStateChanged(stateChangeEvent);

    // Copy the state properties to the widget properties
    final String text = getState().getText();
    getWidget().setText(text);
}

The crude onStateChanged() method is called when any of the state properties is changed, allowing you to have even complex logic in how you manipulate the widget according to the state changes. In most cases, however, you can handle the property changes more easily and also more efficiently by using instead the @OnStateChange annotation on the handler methods for each property, as described next in Handling Property State Changes with @OnStateChange, or by delegating the property value directly to the widget, as described in Delegating State Properties to Widget.

The processing phases of state changes are described in more detail in Client-Side Processing Phases.

Handling Property State Changes with @OnStateChange

The @OnStateChange annotation can be used to mark a connector method that handles state change on a particular property, given as parameter for the annotation. In addition to higher clarity, this avoids handling all property changes if a state change occurs in only one or some of them. However, if a state change can occur in multiple properties, you can only use this technique if the properties do not have interaction that prevents handling them separately in arbitrary order.

We can replace the onStateChange() method in the earlier connector example with the following:

@OnStateChange("text")
void updateText() {
    getWidget().setText(getState().text);
}

If the shared state property and the widget property have same name and do not require any type conversion, as is the case in the above example, you could simplify this even further by using the @DelegateToWidget annotation for the shared state property, as described in Delegating State Properties to Widget.

Delegating State Properties to Widget

The @DelegateToWidget annotation for a shared state property defines automatic delegation of the property value to the corresponding widget property of the same name and type, by calling the respective setter for the property in the widget.

public class MyComponentState extends AbstractComponentState {
    @DelegateToWidget
    public String text;
}

This is equivalent to handling the state change in the connector, as done in the example in Handling Property State Changes with @OnStateChange.

If you want to delegate a shared state property to a widget property of another name, you can give the property name as a string parameter for the annotation.

public class MyComponentState extends AbstractComponentState {
    @DelegateToWidget("description")
    public String text;
}

Referring to Components in Shared State

While you can pass any regular Java objects through a shared state, referring to another component requires special handling because on the server-side you can only refer to a server-side component, while on the client-side you only have widgets. References to components can be made by referring to their connectors (all server-side components implement the Connector interface).

public class MyComponentState extends AbstractComponentState {
    public Connector otherComponent;
}

You could then access the component on the server-side as follows:

public class MyComponent {
    public void MyComponent(Component otherComponent) {
        getState().otherComponent = otherComponent;
    }

    public Component getOtherComponent() {
        return (Component)getState().otherComponent;
    }

    // And the cast method
    @Override
    public MyComponentState getState() {
        return (MyComponentState) super.getState();
    }
}

On the client-side, you should cast it in a similar fashion to a ComponentConnector, or possibly to the specific connector type if it is known.

Sharing Resources

Resources, which commonly are references to icons or other images, are another case of objects that require special handling. A Resource object exists only on the server-side and on the client-side you have an URL to the resource. You need to use the setResource() and getResource() on the server-side to access a resource, which is serialized to the client-side separately.

Let us begin with the server-side API:

public class MyComponent extends AbstractComponent {
    ...

    public void setMyIcon(Resource myIcon) {
        setResource("myIcon", myIcon);
    }

    public Resource getMyIcon() {
        return getResource("myIcon");
    }
}

On the client-side, you can then get the URL of the resource with getResourceUrl().

@Override
public void onStateChanged(StateChangeEvent stateChangeEvent) {
    super.onStateChanged(stateChangeEvent);
    ...

    // Get the resource URL for the icon
    getWidget().setMyIcon(getResourceUrl("myIcon"));
}

The widget could then use the URL, for example, as follows:

public class MyWidget extends Label {
    ...

    Element imgElement = null;

    public void setMyIcon(String url) {
        if (imgElement == null) {
            imgElement = DOM.createImg();
            getElement().appendChild(imgElement);
        }

        DOM.setElementAttribute(imgElement, "src", url);
    }
}