Skip to content

Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

Forked from lygaret/index.js
Last active May 6, 2022 17:02
  • Star 1 You must be signed in to star a gist
  • Fork 0 You must be signed in to fork a gist
Star You must be signed in to star a gist
Save staltz/607f8832bc6ef4f2338c to your computer and use it in GitHub Desktop.
ES6 Quasi-Literal for JSX

JSX Quasi-Literal

I've been struggling to get the JSX transpiler playing nicely with the traceur compiler, specifically the flags hidden behind --experimental.

The problem is that the since both the JSX transpiler and the traceur compiler are actually parsing the full javascript AST, they would have to mutually agree on the syntax extensions you use: traceur can't parse the faux-xml syntax JSX adds, and JSX can't parse the async or await keywords, for example, or generator functions.

This proof-of-concept is a potential solution: instead of using an external JSX transpiler, we'll parse the faux-xml ourselves, using an ES6 feature called quasi-literals.


define(function(require) {

    var React   = require('react');
    var jsx     = require('lib/jsxquasi');

    var EchoComponent = React.createClass({
        getInitialState: function() {
            return { value: '' };

        handleChange: function() {
            this.setState({ value: this.refs.input.getDOMNode().value });

        render: function() {
            return jsx`
                        defaultValue='${this.state.value}' />

    return function() {
        var comp = jsx`<${EchoComponent} />`;
        React.renderComponent(comp, document.body);

A couple of things to notice:

  1. This is valid javascript! Or harmony or es6 or whatever, but importantly, it's not happening outside the js environment. This also allows us to use our standard tooling: the traceur compiler knows how to turn jsx`<div>Hello</div>`; into the equivalent browser compatible es3, and hence we can use anything the traceur compile accepts!

  2. This is not exactly the same as JSX according to the spec: it includes quotes around the attributes, etc. This is because this parser is based on DOMParser, and hence needs to be valid XML. It would be straighforward though to change it so it matched exactly, or to remove the browser dependency (so it could run on the server, eg.)

define(function(require) {
var React = require('react');
var paramRegex = /__(\d)+/;
var parser = new DOMParser();
var errorDoc = parser.parseFromString('INVALID', 'text/xml');
var errorNs = errorDoc.getElementsByTagName("parsererror")[0].namespaceURI;
// turns the array of string parts into a DOM
// throws if the result is an invalid XML document.
function quasiToDom(parts) {
// turn ["<div class='", "'>Hi</div>"]
// into "<div class='__0'>Hi</div>"
var xmlstr = parts.reduce((xmlstr, part, i) => {
xmlstr += part;
if (i != parts.length - 1) { // the last part has no ending param
xmlstr += `__${i}`;
return xmlstr;
}, "");
// parse into DOM, check for a parse error
// browser's DOMParser is neat, but error handling is awful
var doc = parser.parseFromString(xmlstr, 'text/xml');
var errors = doc.getElementsByTagNameNS(errorNs, 'parsererror');
var error = '';
if (errors.length > 0) {
error = errors[0].textContent.split('\n')[0];
throw `invalid jsx: ${error}\n${xmlstr}`;
return doc;
// turn a document into a tree of react components
// replaces tags, attribute values and text nodes that look like the param
// placeholder we add above, with the values from the parameters array.
function domToReact(node, params) {
var match;
// text node, comment, etc
if (node.nodeValue) {
var value = node.nodeValue.trim();
if (value.length === 0) {
return undefined;
match = value.match(paramRegex);
return match ? params[parseInt(match[1])] : value;
// node to get react for
// if the node name is a placeholder, assume the param is a component class
var reactNode;
match = node.localName.match(paramRegex)
reactNode = match ? params[parseInt(match[1])] : React.DOM[node.localName];
// if we don't have a component, give a better error message
if (reactNode === undefined) {
throw `Unknown React component: ${node.localName}, bailing.`;
// attributes of the node
var reactAttrs = {};
for (var i = node.attributes.length - 1; i >= 0; i--) {
var attr = node.attributes[i];
reactAttrs[] = attr.value;
match = attr.value.match(paramRegex);
if (match) {
reactAttrs[] = params[parseInt(match[1])];
// recursively turn children into react components
var reactChildren = [];
for (var i = 0; i < node.childNodes.length; i++) {
var child = node.childNodes[i];
var reactChild = domToReact(child, params);
if (reactChild) {
return reactNode(reactAttrs, reactChildren);
return function jsx(parts, ...params) {
var doc = quasiToDom(parts);
var react = domToReact(doc.firstChild, params);
return react;
Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment