Web UI

Nuxeo Elements Quality Assurance

Updated: May 27, 2021

When developing web applications with Nuxeo Elements there are several strategies and tools that can provide means for code quality, performance and security. Using our experience, here we share some best practices and our views on these different quality assurance topics.

Formatting and Linting

A linter is a code quality tool that scans your code and flags bugs, unoptimized code and other suspicious constructs. Linting is important because it keeps the code clean and enforces a predefined set of rules and good practices. Because JavaScript is a loosely-typed language, it is very easy to introduce bugs in the code. Therefore, a JavaScript linter becomes a crucial tool to help developers identify problems in the code without having to execute it. Our linter of choice is ESLint, and you can use our Nuxeo Web UI config file as a sample.

You can find a quick guide on how to run and setup ESLint in their online documentation.

You can use ESLint in two ways:

  1. run it via command line (e.g. eslint file.js)
  2. use it in an IDE or text editor and let it run as you type. The latter is usually more convenient.

There is ESLint support for several of the most popular IDEs, including:

Stepping up a notch, Polymer IDE provides linting, autocomplete and many more features to support development with Polymer. You can install it for Atom and Visual Studio Code.

Performance Strategies

Nuxeo elements are the best tools for building a custom UI application on top of Nuxeo server. Below are guidelines to make the UI experience faster and to reduce server performance cost.

Browser Cache

By default, the Nuxeo server deactivates the browser cache by setting the response header Cache-Control to no-cache, so no resource is considered "new" except for returned blobs (such as images, thumbnails, binaries in general): therefore, the browser will request a validation for those blobs from the server with ETags each time it refreshes.

In order to activate the browser cache, you can create a file cache-browser-config.xml in the NUXEO_HOME/nxserver/config folder and set the recommended following content:

<component name="org.nuxeo.browser.cache.settings">
  <require>org.nuxeo.ecm.platform.web.common.requestcontroller.service.RequestControllerService.defaultContrib</require>
  <extension target="org.nuxeo.ecm.platform.web.common.requestcontroller.service.RequestControllerService"
             point="responseHeaders">
    <header name="X-UA-Compatible">IE=10; IE=11</header>
    <header name="Cache-Control">private, max-age=3600, must-revalidate</header>
    <header name="X-Content-Type-Options">nosniff</header>
    <header name="X-XSS-Protection">1; mode=block</header>
    <header name="X-Frame-Options">${nuxeo.frame.options:=SAMEORIGIN}</header>
    <!-- this is a permissive Content-Security-Policy, which should be overridden for more security -->
    <header name="Content-Security-Policy">default-src *; script-src 'unsafe-inline' 'unsafe-eval' data: *; style-src 'unsafe-inline' *; font-src data: *
    </header>
  </extension>

</component>
  • The cache will be private (i.e., you cannot cache the resources on a intermediate proxy like for instance a CDN)
  • The max-age cache time is set to 1 hour (within the hour, the browser won't request a validation to the server of the blobs like thumbnails)
  • Once the cache expires, the browser will request a validation of the blobs from the server if they have been updated

Here is a schema which summarises browser caching strategies.

Polymer

Vulcanizing the Polymer Elements

Vulcanize is a build tool that lets you concatenate a set of elements and their HTML imported dependencies into a single file. It will reduce network requests for a performant app experience. You can check out this video for a complete bootstrap.

Custom Polymer Elements - Anti-Patterns

When building a custom element, developers can achieve great things with Polymer by encapsulating logic that can be re-used multiple times. But be careful with how you build them:

  • Optimize data loading by passing data between elements:

Try to use an element only once then pass the result through/between all elements to avoid unnecessary calls.

Response Payloads

There are two ways to filter data from the server in order to avoid unnecessary quantity information in response:

Schemas

When building views, listings and pages in general you need to determine which document information you want to display to your users.

For instance a listing could only require the dublincore schema of the documents and their summary links. The metadata displayed in each row would be:

  • dc:title
  • dc:description
  • dc:created date
  • and the navigation link to their summary

A document can contain several schemas with a dozen of metadata so the JSON payload in response could be unnecessarily too big. Building a listing of several documents can make the client side navigation slower: we need to filter schemas.

Special header is reserved for this purpose and can be used easily with the Nuxeo resource elements: nuxeo-resource and nuxeo-operation.

Example:

<nuxeo-operation auto
    op="Document.Query"
    params="{'query': 'select from Document'}"
    schemas="dublincore"
    on-response="{{handleResponse}}">
    </nuxeo-operation>

This will fetch document definitions with only their dublincore metadata.

But we still need a permanent URL of the document for the navigation from this listing. To get it, let's call an enricher.

Enrichers

The Nuxeo enrichers are means to get additional computed documents information by simply setting a special header. And if you cannot fullfil your need with the Nuxeo default headers, you can easily build your own.

For example, to get the permanent URL of a document with the Nuxeo resource elements (nuxeo-resource and nuxeo-operation), set the enrichers property:

<nuxeo-operation auto
    op="Document.Query"
    params="{'query': 'select from Document'}"
    schemas="dublincore"
    on-response="{{handleResponse}}"
    enrichers="documentURL">
    </nuxeo-operation>

You will finally have all the information needed for your listing with a small amount of information in your response payload.

Elasticsearch

With Nuxeo platform, you have two ways of fetching data from the server for building listings and searching:

Depending on your environment, you perform searches with Nuxeo Server on top of your database (PostgreSQL, MongoDB) or on top of your ElasticSearch (recommended).

For Elasticsearch (ES), use pageproviders which can be activated for ES via the nuxeo.conf file and the following Nuxeo elements with related properties:

Test Strategies

Testing your custom elements is paramount if you want to have reliable and easy to maintain components. We are Karma. It is a handy library that allows you to unit test your elements. Along with Karma, we are using Mocha as the test framework, Chai for the assertions and Sinon to mock server responses.

However, testing how your custom elements work together and whether they actually play the role they are supposed to play becomes crucial as your application grows. That's what functional and integration testing are for! In the Web UI, we use Cucumber and WebdriverIO for Behavior-Driven Testing (or BDD for short), and to test the UI as a whole.

Quick Guide

All the elements to be tested, or to support testing directly, should be passed as an argument to the fixture function. Imagine we want to unit test the nuxeo-collections element. We must declare the test fixture as follows:

const nuxeoConnection = await fixture(
  html`
    <nuxeo-connection></nuxeo-connection>
  `,
);

Most of our custom elements need to communicate with an instance of Nuxeo server, and that is true for nuxeo-collections as well. We must then declare a nuxeo-connection as a test-fixture beforehand, so that the Nuxeo JavaScript Client is properly initialized and nuxeo-collections can issue requests to the server:

const nuxeoConnection = await fixture(
  html`
    <nuxeo-connection url="/dummy"></nuxeo-connection>
  `,
);

When defining your main test suite, you must setup a fake server using sinon, which will provide fake responses to your element's requests, and also initialize the nuxeo-connection element by logging in:

suite('nuxeo-workflow-data', () => {
  let server;

  setup(async () => {
    server = await login();
  });
});

Test Helpers
Here, the login method is part of our test helpers, which also includes several other support methods. Feel free to import them on your own test suites.

Oftentimes you'll want to perform more than one bundle of tests inside the same test file. In this case you can define inner test suites, i.e., test suites inside your main test suite. Inside these you should setup the responses that the fake server should issue to your custom elements.

So, imagine we want to test how our collections element behaves when there are collections to display. We can create a dedicated suite and setup a fake response with only a single entry:

setup(() => {
  server.respondWith(
    'GET',
    '/dummy/api/v1/query/user_collections?currentPageIndex=0&pageSize=40&sortBy=dc%3Amodified&sortOrder=desc&searchTerm=%25&user=%24currentUser',
    [
      200,
      {'Content-Type': 'application/json'},
      JSON.stringify(
        {
          "entity-type": "documents",
          "entries": [{
            "entity-type":"document",
             "uid":"1",
             "type":"Collection",
             "title":"My Collection"
           }]
        }
      )
    ]
  );
});

Sinon Documentation
For more information about how to setup fake responses, please check the official Sinon Documentation for the matching version.

We now want to create a test case that verifies that our element actually displays the collection and that its DOM reflects this. We can do it by adding a test inside our test suite:

test('it should display collections', () => {
    const  nuxeoConnection = await fixture(
      html`
        <nuxeo-connection url="/dummy"></nuxeo-connection>
      `,
    );
    const table = nuxeoError.shadowRoot.querySelector('nuxeo-data-list');
    // let's wait for the nuxeo-page-loaded event to be fired once before testing
    // only then will we have the data from the server
    await waitForEvent(table, 'nuxeo-page-loaded', 1);
    await flush();

    const collections = table.shadowRoot.querySelectorAll('.collection-box');
    expect(collections.length).to.be.equal(1); // there should be only one item
    expect(collections[0].querySelector('.collection-name').textContent).to.be.equal('My Collection'); // and its collection name should be "My Collection
  });
});

Test Helpers
Again, the waitForEvent method is part of our test helpers. This method waits for an event to be fired a specific amount of times before returning a promise. Similarly, you can use waitChanged to wait for a particular property to change on an element, provided that it's set to notify: true. Please, check the Polymer documentation on data-binding for more information on this subject.

Chai API
For more information about how perform test asserts, please check the official Chai documentation, which provides both BDD and TDD oriented APIs.

You can then run your tests using npm run test. This will run Karma and, in the case of the nuxeo-elements repository, it will check our three folders: Core, UI, and Dataviz.

If you want to test your own element, you can always pass some handy arguments into your terminal:

    $ npm run test:watch -- --browsers Chrome --grep nuxeo-connection.test.js --package ui

Here we are using the watch parameter which will give you the possibility to see the test running on a browser. Using the flag --browsers let us specify in which browser do we want to run our test. We are also using the flag --grep to search our file. Since, in this example, nuxeo-connection-test.js is part of our UI folder, we need to also specify the --package.

For more examples on testing custom elements, please check our repositories:

Cucumber

Our integration testing is done using Cucumber.js and WebdriverIO. While the latter serves the purpose of providing a means to interact with the browser and run tests on it, similar to what is done in WCT, the former provides a way to run automated tests written in plain language. There are two key concepts of Cucumber tests: features and step definitions.

Features are implementation-independent, defined in .feature files, and they contain executable specifications written in a language called Gherkin. They specify scenarios where each line represents an step written in natural language, usually starting with Given, When and Then.

Background:
    Given I login as "Administrator"

Scenario: Admin center
    When I click the "administration" button
    Then I can see the administration menu

Step definitions bridge the gap between features and the system being tested. They translate plain text into interactions with the system. Step definitions are platform-dependent, and they use a regular expression the match the steps defined in the feature files, and implement the code required to execute the step.

Given('I login as {string}', function(username) {
  this.username = username;
});

When('I click the {word} button', function(button) {
  this.ui.drawer.open(button);
});

Then('I can see the administration menu', function() {
  this.ui.drawer.administration.isVisible().should.be.true;
});

Cucumber allows for BDD using human-readable specifications. The advantages are two-fold: first, it allows specifications to be implemented by developers, but written in natural language by someone else, such as QA or business analyst; second, it makes error identification simpler for developers and non-developers alike, by showing clearly in plain language what steps failed. Please check Cucumber and Cucumber.js documentation for more details.

For a more in-depth explanation on functional tests, please check the Web UI functional testing page!

Security Strategies

Search: GET method URL

With Nuxeo platform, you have two ways to fetch data from the server for building listings and searching:

If your network environment (proxies, firewalls) doesn't allow queries inside URL for GET Method for security purpose, you have to avoid the nuxeo-resource usage with the endpoint query if you want to execute a search via 'direct' queries:

See this GET Method URL example:

http://NUXEO_SERVER/nuxeo/api/v1/query?currentPageIndex=0&pageSize=10&query=SELECT%20%2A%20FROM%20Document%20where%20ecm%3AprimaryType%20in%20%28%27UserProfile%27%29%20%20

We recommend that you:

  • use page providers in general (see above in Performance Strategies > Search)
  • use Repository.Query operation with nuxeo-operation element if you still want to search via 'direct' queries.

We'd love to hear your thoughts!

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