With N2O you don’t need to use HTML at all. Instead you define your page in the form of Erlang records so that the page is type checked at the compile time. This is a classic CGI approach for compiled pages and it gives us all the benefits of compile time error checking and provides DSL for client and server-side rendering.

Nitrogen elements, by their nature, are UI control primitives that can be used to construct Nitrogen pages with Erlang internal DSL. They are compiled into HTML and JavaScript. Behavior of all elements is controlled on server-side and all the communication between browser and server-side is performed over WebSocket channels. Hence there is no need to use POST requests or HTML forms.

Static Elements: HTML

The core set of HTML elements includes br, headings, links, tables, lists and image tags. Static elements are transformed into HTML during rendering.

Static elements could also be used as placeholders for other HTML elements. Usually “static” means elements that don’t use postback parameter:

#textbox { id=userName, body= <<"Anonymous">> }, #panel { id=chatHistory, class=chat_history }

This will produce the following HTML code:

<input value="Anonymous" id="userName" type="text"/> <div id="chatHistory" class="chat_history"></div>

Active Elements: HTML and JavaScript

There are form elements that provide information for the server and gather user input: button, radio and check buttons, text box area and password box. Form elements usually allow to assign an Erlang postback handler to specify action behavior. These elements are compiled into HTML and JavaScript. For example, during rendering, some Actions are converted to JavaScript and sent to be executed in the browser. Element definition specifies the list of source elements that provide data for event’s callback.

{ok,Pid} = wf:async(fun() -> chat_loop() end), #button { id=sendButton, body= <<"Send">>, postback={chat,Pid}, source=[userName,message] }.

This will produce the following HTML:

<input value="Chat" id="sendButton" type="button"/>

and JavaScript code:

$('#sendButton').bind('click',function anonymous(event) { ws.send(Bert.encodebuf({ source: Bert.binary('sendButton'), pickle: Bert.binary('g1AAAINQAAAAdX...'), linked: [ Bert.tuple(Bert.atom('userName'), utf8.toByteArray($('#userName').val())), Bert.tuple(Bert.atom('message'), utf8.toByteArray($('#message').val()))] })); });

If postback action is specified then the page module must include a callback to handle postback info:

event({chat,Pid}) -> wf:info(?MODULE, "User ~p Msg ~p", [wf:q(userName),wf:q(message)]).

Base Element

Each HTML element in N2O DSL has record compatibility with the base element.

#element { ancestor=element, module, id, actions, class=[], style=[], source=[], data_fields=[], aria_states=[], body, role, tabindex, show_if=true, html_tag=Tag, title }.

Here module is an Erlang module that contains a render function. Data and Aria HTML custom fields are common attributes for all elements. In case element name doesn’t correspond to HTML tag, html_tag field provided. body field is used as element contents for all elements.

Most HTML elements are defined as basic elements. You can even choose element’s name different from its original HTML tag name:

-record(h6, ?DEFAULT_BASE). -record(tbody, ?DEFAULT_BASE). -record(panel, ?DEFAULT_BASE_TAG(<<"div">>)). -record('div', ?DEFAULT_BASE_TAG(<<"div">>)).

DTL Template #dtl

DTL stands for Django Template Language. A DTL element lets to construct HTML snippet from template with given placeholders for further substitution. Fields contain substitution bindings proplist, filename and templates folder.

-record(dtl, {?ELEMENT_BASE(element_dtl), file="index", bindings=[], app=web, folder="priv/templates", ext="html", bind_script=true }).

Consider we have prod.dtl file in priv/templates folder with two placeholders {{title}}, {{body}} and default placeholder for JavaScript {{script}}. All placeholders except {{script}} should be specified in #dtl element. Here is an example of how to use it:

body() -> "HTML Body". main() -> [ #dtl { file="prod", ext="dtl", bindings=[{title,<<"Title">>},{body,body()}]} ].

You can use templates not only for pages, but for controls as well. Let’s say we want to use DTL iterators for constructing list elements:

Listing 1: table.html

{% for i in items %} <a href="{{i.url}}">{{i.name}}</a><br> {% empty %} <span>No items available :-(</span> {% endfor %}

Here is an example of how to pass variables to the DTL template we’ve just defined:

#dtl{file="table", bind_script=false, bindings=[{items, [ {[{name, "Apple"}, {url, "http://apple.com"}]}, {[{name, "Google"}, {url, "http://google.com"}]}, {[{name, "Microsoft"}, {url, "http://microsoft.com"}]} ]}]}.

bind_script should be set to true for page templates. When control elements are rendered from DTL, bind_script should be set to false.

Button #button

-record(button, {?ELEMENT_BASE(element_button), type= <<"button">>, name, value, postback, delegate, disabled}).


#button { id=sendButton, body= <<"Send">>, postback={chat,Pid}, source=[userName,message] }.

Link #dropdown

-record(dropdown, {?ELEMENT_BASE(element_dropdown), options, postback, delegate, value, multiple=false, disabled=false, name}). -record(option, {?ELEMENT_BASE(element_select), label, value, selected=false, disabled}).


#dropdown { id=drop, value="2", postback=combo, source=[drop], options=[ #option { label= <<"Microsoft">>, value= <<"Windows">> }, #option { label= <<"Google">>, value= <<"Android">> }, #option { label= <<"Apple">>, value= <<"Mac">> } ]},

Link #link

-record(link, {?ELEMENT_BASE(element_link), target, url="javascript:void(0);", postback, delegate, name}).

Text Editor #textarea

-record(textarea, {?ELEMENT_BASE(element_textarea), placeholder, name, cols, rows, value}).


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