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Mozilla Brick: A Polyfill Library for Web Components

| by Dio Synodinos Follow 2 Followers on Aug 28, 2013. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Web Components is a W3C specification that aims to enable Web developers to define widgets with a high level of visual richness and interactivity, together with ease of composition. Until proper browser support is here, developers can be using the Brick library that provides new custom HTML tags to abstract away common user interface patterns.

Brick is based on Mozilla’s X-Tag polyfill library,  so in order to run code relying on any of Brick's tags, you’ll need  to wait until the x-tags library's "DOMComponentsLoaded" event instead of just window.onload:

document.addEventListener('DOMComponentsLoaded', function(){   
	// run code here... 
});

At the time of writing, Brick consists of thirteen different tags (“bricks”), most of which are completely independent of one another, and can even be downloaded separately instead of a single bundle:

  1. Appbar
  2. Calendar
  3. Datepicker
  4. Deck
  5. Flipbox
  6. Iconbutton
  7. Layout
  8. Slidebox
  9. Slider
  10. Tabbar
  11. Toggle
  12. Togglegroup
  13. Tooltip

Here’s how the calendar brick looks like:

<x-calendar></x-calendar>

Google who is putting a lot of trust in Web Components, is also working on a Web Components polyfill called Polymer, that using existing browser infrastructure tries to leverage future technologies like Shadow DOM, Custom Elements and Model Driven Views.

It is worth mentioning that although Web Components seem to have a lot of momentum during the last year, the specification is moving fast and there are still areas of uncertainty. A few weeks ago Google’s Dimitri Glazkov proposed in a W3C mailing list to remove the <element> element from the specification. The consensus on this thread was that the proposed <element> syntax wasn’t good enough and it should by left up to libraries to explore this field before standardization comes, as Brian Kardell from Apollo Group mentions:

Give projects like x-tags and polymer and even projects like Ember and Angular some room to help lead the charge on asking those questions and helping to offer potentially competing answers -- there need be no rush to standardize at the high level at this point IMO. 

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