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Rikulo's todoMVC

What's todoMVC

todoMVC is a collection of a sample "Todo" web application implemented by different MVC frameworks, for helping interested users to compare and inspect them. It includes many popular frameworks, like Backbone.js, KnockoutJS, AngularJS, and other interesting constructions, like GWT, Dart (Vanilla), etc.

Rikulo's implementation

Here is the demo of Rikulo's implementation.

Elements in MVC

We are going to explore the crutial elements in an MVC framework.

Data Flow

An MVC framework usually need to take care of two kinds of data flow: rendering flow and update flow.

  • Rendering Flow: Page Request -> ... -> Model -> ... -> UI Rendering
  • Update Flow: UI Event -> ... -> Model -> ... -> UI Update

Rendering flow is about how DOM elements are initially loaded, and mostly involves view representation. We will explore this part in the next section.

Update flow is about how model and view communicate through controller (or, view model/binder/presenter/etc.), which pretty much determines the paradigm (MVC/MVVM/MVB/MVP/etc.) of the entire framework. We are not going to introduce each possibility in details, but you can surf the source code of the following implementations to get a quick understanding of each paradigm.

  • Backbone.js: MVC, with data event
  • AngularJS: MVVM
  • GWT implementation of todoMVC: MVP
  • Dart Web UI: model driven view (MDV)

Most MVC/MVVM frameworks encourage user to separate view, model, and controller, so user can focus on views and models individually, and then think about putting them together with controllers.

In Rikulo, model, view, and controller are kept as separate files. Views are represented by XML, models can be arbitrary classes, and controllers are classes extended from a base class. As shown in the code snippet below, view files concern purely views, containing no mixture of business logic.


Rikulo does not have any restriction on the type of model -- it can be any plain Dart object. For example, in our todoMVC implementation, the model is as simple as:

class Todo {
    String title;
    bool completed;

    Todo(this.title, [this.completed = false]);

    // JSON, for local storage persistence //
    Todo.fromJson(Map m) : this(m["title"], m["completed"]);
    Map toJson() => { "title": title, "completed": completed };

However, if you prefer using data event like in Backbone.js, Rikulo also supports it via DataModel. You can register callbacks to listen to data events, which is fired when model is updated. For details, please refer to our documentation.


To render UI from a page request, some component-based frameworks introduce their own ways of specifying UI layout, to relief user from bizzare Swing-like component construction.

Rikulo uses UXL, an XML language, to help you specifying widget layout. Rikulo UXL compiler will then compile the xml file to a human-readable dart class which builds up the corresponding component tree for you.

UXL contains some neat features to make UI declaration friendly:

  • Expression Language (EL), to access variables from template caller
  • Flow control unit, such as for loop and conditional operator
  • Template declaration

Here is a snippet of UXL in todoMVC implementation:

<View tag="ul" id="todo-list" layout="type: linear; orient: vertical; spacing: 0">
    <Apply forEach="t in app.todos">
        <View tag="li" class="${t.completed ? 'completed' : ''}" 
        control="new TodoItemControl(app, t)">
            <View class="show">
                <CheckBox class="toggle" value="${t.completed}" 
                on.change="toggleCompleted" />
                <TextView class="title" text="${t.title}" on.dblclick="editTitle" />
                <Button class="destroy" on.click="destroy" />
            <TextBox class="edit" profile="width: ignore; height: ignore" 
            value="${t.title}" on.blur="submitTitle" on.keyUp="enterTitle" />

You can also read the full source code.

Due to the need of rendering a collection of items, view modularization is a necessity in a MVC framework. Component-based frameworks have a natural layer for packing DOM elements into a view unit. However, frameworks with DOM-based view (i.e. pure HTML) may also introduce a thin layer of view unit to provide the right granularity of views.

When combined with the need of view representation, this part is often assisted by template definition utilities. For instance,

  • Backbone.js: uses Underscore.js to define HTML template
  • Dart Web UI: has a template infrastructure that implements Web Components standard

In Rikulo, a view file will be compiled into a dart class, as an reusable template object. Thus it naturally covers the demand of template definition.


In Rikulo, controller connects view to model, and handles the business logic between them. The controller listens to DOM event, manipulates model directly, and then update DOM elements. For example,

class TodoItemControl extends Control {

    final TodoAppControl _appc;
    final Todo _todo;

    TextBox get input => view.query("TextBox.edit");
    TextView get label => view.query("TextView.title");

    TodoItemControl(this._appc, this._todo);

    // event handlers, which listen to DOM events (specified in view file) //
    void toggleCompleted(ChangeEvent<bool> event) {
        _appc.increaseCompleted(_todo.completed = event.value);
    void editTitle(ViewEvent event) {
    void enterTitle(DomEvent event) {
        if (event.keyCode == ENTER_KEY)
    void submitTitle(ViewEvent event) {
        final String title = input.value.trim();
        if (!title.isEmpty) {
            label.text = _todo.title = title;
        } else 
    void destroy([ViewEvent event]) => _appc.destroy(_todo);

Having controller taking care of business logic, view and model can be kept clean to a maximal extent.


Rikulo, as an MVC framework, provides model data events, UXL view representation, and controller skeleton for an easy and scalable development experience. Explore our website and join our community on Google+!

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