ebisu 0.7.9
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Dart 2 incompatible

A library that supports code generation of the structure Dart (and potentially other languages like D) using a fairly declarative aproach.

Ebisu #

Build Status

A library supporting code generation of Dart pub packages and many constituent assets.

Purpose #

There are two potentially distinct purposes for this package. First, for those wanting to keep consistency across Dart assets being developed, a declarative approach to the specification of them as well as their subsequent generation is provided for. This is soothing to people with extreme need for consistency and can be helpful for those wanting strict structure for projects expected to grow large.

A second purpose is for large scale data driven development efforts that are highly structured/standardized. This library can be used to bootstrap their development.


  • Model driven development. For example, suppose Json Schema were used to define data models. This library could be used as a base to generate GUI supporting code.

How It Works #

This library does not attempt to allow for the generation of all aspects of Dart code. Rather the focus is on generation of the structure of items along with user ability to augment. These items or code assets include, but are not limited to:

  • Libraries
  • Parts
  • Scripts
  • Classes
  • Enumerations
  • Members
  • Variables

The idea is come up with a reasonable/good enough single approach that works in defining the assets. Then provide enough flexibility to allow developers to do what is needed (i.e. not be too restrictive). As more common patterns develop support for them may be added. The hope is the benefit of consistency will outweigh the need for creativity along the dimensions chosen for generation. Ideally there will be little loss on the creativity front since the concepts generated are pretty standardized already (e.g. location of library files, where parts go and how they are laied out, where pubspec goes and its contents, the layout of a class, ...etc)

For a small taste:

 ..doc = 'Represents one node in the schema diagram'
 ..members = [
   ..doc = 'Referenced schema this node portrays'
   ..type = 'Schema',
   ..doc = 'List of links (resulting in graph edge) from this node to another'
   ..type = 'List<String>'

That declaration snippet will define a class called SchemNode with two members schema of type Schema and links of type List. The doc attribute is a common way of providing descriptions for { classes, members, variables, pubSpec } and appear as document comments.

There are areas where the code generation gets a bit opinionated. For example, members are either public or private and the naming convention is enforced - so you do not need to name variables with an underscore prefix; that will be taken care of. By default members are public, so to make them private just set isPublic = false. But then, what about accessors. These are very boilerplate, so the approach taken is to add a designation called access for each member which is one of:

  • ReadWrite (AccessType.RW): In this case the field is public and no accessors are provided

  • ReadOnly (AccessType.RO): In this case the field is private and the typical get accessor is provided

  • Inaccessible (Accessor.IA): In this case the field is private and no accessors are provided

The default access is ReadWrite.

A Note on Naming #

All assets are named, because they all end up in code with some form of file or identifier associated with them. All identifer names are provided to declarations in snake_case form. This is a hard rule, as the code generation chooses the appropriate casing in the generated assets based on context. For instance, the name schema_node is a class and therefore will be generated as SchemaNode. Similarly, schema_node as a variable name would be generated as schemaNode.

Customization #

Since the shell/structure is what is generated, there needs to be a way to add user supplied code and have it mixin with what is generated. This is accomplished with code protection blocks. Pretty much all text that appears between blocks are protected.

    // custom <TAG>
       ... Custom text here ...
    // end <TAG>

All other code will be rewritten on code generation. Keep in mind that the protection blocks are predefined in the libraries and templates, so the user never attempts to create a custom block directly in generated code.

Regeneration #

When code is regenerated, this library creates the text to be written to the file and matches up all protection blocks with those existing in the target file on disk. It first does the merge of generated and custom text in memory and then compares that to the full contents on disk. If there is no change in the contents of the file, a message like the following will be output:

    No change: .../library/foo.dart

If the regeneration results in a change, due to new code assets having been added to the definition or less frequently due to changes in the ebisu library/templates, a message like the following will be output:

    Wrote: .../library/foo.dart

Json Support #

One of the benefits of code generation is it allows for easy addition of boilerplate code. One such example is json serialization support. Of course, there already exists a serialization library, which may be a good solotion. However, that does have dependencies on mirrors and is a rather heavy weight solution.

So, adding hasJsonSupport = true in the following ebisu declaration:

 ..hasJsonSupport = true
 ..members = [
   member('x')..classInit = 0.0,
   member('y')..classInit = 0.0,      

will generate these additional methods for the Point class:

 Map toJson() {
   return {
   "x": ebisu.toJson(x),
   "y": ebisu.toJson(y),

 static Point fromJson(String json) {
   Map jsonMap = convert.JSON.decode(json);
   Point result = new Point();
   return result;

 static Point fromJsonMap(Map jsonMap) {
   Point result = new Point();
   return result;

 void _fromJsonMapImpl(Map jsonMap) {
   x = jsonMap["x"];
   y = jsonMap["y"];

Special Environment Variables #

The following environment variables have special meaning:

| variable           | meaning                                               |
| EBISU_AUTHOR       | If set, generated pubspecs will use this for author   |
| EBISU_HOMEPAGE     | If set, generated pubspecs will use this for homepage |
| EBISU_PUB_VERSIONS | Specifies a config file for overriding versions       |

The EBISU_PUB_VERSIONS is a way to leverage the code generation support which already generates pubspecs to overcome one of the current shortcomings of pub. Sometimes it is desirable to set a specific package to a local path for development. As the web of dependencies grows the difficulty of keeping it straight also grows. In order to set a package to a local path, that path must be set to the same source in all pubspecs encountered in the transitive closure. If it happens to be a package you are working on, it would be nice to be able to change the pubspec entry in one place, regenerate, and have all pubspecs updated to point to the same place.

The format of this file is a json instance with a "versions" key outlining the versions to override. Each property in the versions object must be the name of a package to override, and the value must be an object with an entry that is either a "path" or "version" specification. An example override file is:

   "versions" : {
     "id" : { "path" : "/Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/id" },
     "ebisu" : { "path" : "/Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/ebisu" },
     "ebisu_web_ui" : { "path" : "/Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/ebisu_web_ui" },
     "json_schema" : { "version" : ">=0.0.2" },
     "hop" : { "version" : ">=0.24.4" },
     "logging" : { "version" : ">=0.7.1" },
     "args" : { "version": ">=0.7.1" },
     "unittest" : { "version": ">=0.7.1" },
     "path" : { "version" : ">=0.7.1" }

If this file exists as ~/.ebisu_pub_versions.json or in a file referenced by environment variable EBISU_PUB_VERSIONS then those overrides will take effect and any generated puspecs will have those versions if present.

Examples #

A Toy Example #

my_pub_package #

In the example folder of this project there is a folder called my_pub_package which shows one way to generate code. A typical approach is:

  • Select a snake case name for the package (e.g. my_pub_package)
  • Create a folder of that name where you want that package to exist
  • Create a folder in there called codegen
  • Create a dart script to generate the code you want. A reasonable convention for naming the file is package_name.ebisu.dart. So the ebisu script for this example is: my_pub_package.ebisu.dart
  • Run that file to generate the package code and other assets

After code generation, pub publish -n looks like the following:

|-- README.md
|-- codegen
|   '-- my_pub_package.ebisu.dart
|-- lib
|   |-- multi_part.dart
|   |-- self_contained.dart
|   '-- src
|       '-- multi_part
|           |-- first_part.dart
|           '-- second_part.dart
|-- pubspec.yaml
|-- test
|   |-- runner.dart
|   |-- test_it.dart
|   '-- utils.dart
'-- tool
    '-- hop_runner.dart

All files can be edited - take care to only change code in custom blocks. Regernating the code after editing within custom blocks will have no effect. Regenerating after modifying the my_pub_package.ebisu.dart should cause the desired updates.

A Real Example (Json Schema) #

An example use of ebisu to generate code structure can be found at Json Schema Codegen Bootstrap

When this script is run it produces:

    Running: dart --checked --package-root=/Users/dbdavidson/dev/dart_packages/packages/ /Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/json_schema/codegen/json_schema.ebisu.dart
    No change: /Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/json_schema/bin/schemadot.dart
    No change: /Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/json_schema/lib/schema_dot.dart
    No change: /Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/json_schema/lib/json_schema.dart
    No change: /Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/json_schema/lib/src/json_schema/schema.dart
    No change: /Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/json_schema/lib/src/json_schema/validator.dart
    No change: /Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/json_schema/test/test_invalid_schemas.dart
    No change: /Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/json_schema/test/test_validation.dart
    No change: /Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/json_schema/pubspec.yaml
    No change: /Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/json_schema/.gitignore
    No change: /Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/json_schema/tool/hop_runner.dart
    No change: /Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/json_schema/test/utils.dart
    No change: /Users/dbdavidson/dev/open_source/json_schema/test/runner.dart

This script generates the following assets:

  • pubspec.yaml: The script specifies homepage, version, doc, and any dependencies
  • json_schema.dart: The main library, broken into parts => {schema.dart, validation.dart}
  • classes: Schema and Validator with all constituent members
  • hop_support: tool/hop_runner.dart, test/utils.dart, test/runner.dart
  • .gitignore: Basic gititnore file
  • two tests: test_invalid_schemas.dart and test_validation.dart
  • schema_dott.dart: library used to generate Graphviz content for displaying image
  • schemadot.dart: Script used to generate dot file from input json schema

In all these files it is the structure with as much of the content as possible that is generated. But with code generation we will always need to add additional custom code. Each of the files supports adding additional content in the form of custom blocks wrapped in the appropriate comment type for the file.

For example the pubspec.yaml looks something like:

name: json_schema
version: 0.0.2
author: Daniel Davidson
homepage: https://github.com/patefacio/json_schema
description: >
  Provide support for validating instances against json schema
  path: ">=0.7.1"

  logging: ">=0.7.1"

# custom <json_schema dependencies>

# end <json_schema dependencies>

  unittest: ">=0.7.1"

  hop: ">=0.24.4"

# custom <json_schema dev dependencies>

# end <json_schema dev dependencies>
pub points

A library that supports code generation of the structure Dart (and potentially other languages like D) using a fairly declarative aproach.

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args, collection, dart_style, drudge, id, logging, path, quiver, stack_trace, yaml


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