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Qualification

16th March 2021 at 8:28pm

When we write templates that rely on maintaining state (that is, values stored in fields somewhere that control the display of the template), we may run into a problem: if the template is displayed in multiple locations at once, the state can collide and cause changes in one location to apply to the other locations as well.

This will become more clear with an example. Put the following on a template called SelectiveTemplate in your example wiki:

<$vars stateTiddlerName="$:/temp/IsOpen">
    <$reveal state=<<stateTiddlerName>> type="match" text="yes">
            <$button set=<<stateTiddlerName>> setTo="no">Close</$button>

            Here is some information that can be selectively hidden and shown: This tiddler's name is {{!!title}}.
    </$reveal>

    <$reveal state=<<stateTiddlerName>> type="nomatch" text="yes">
            <$button set=<<stateTiddlerName>> setTo="yes">Open</$button>
    </$reveal>
</$vars>

Leaving the template tiddler open, add a template transclusion {{||SelectiveTemplate}} to some other tiddler. Now, click the Open button on one of the tiddlers. You'll see that the other tiddler's expandable section opens as well.

This makes sense, given that both $reveal widgets are bound to the same tiddler field. In a few cases, this might even be what we want. But in most cases, we'd probably like them to expand and contract separately.

One solution is to place the state in a field on the tiddler itself, using something like set="!!isopen". Sometimes, this is quite appropriate, but other times, editing the tiddler that is using a template is messy, or even doesn't work at all. The qualify macro provides a more robust method. Given a tiddler title, it adds a number to the end of that title that is guaranteed to be unique for each location the invocation of the qualify macro might be displayed within the story river (it even takes into account the fact that one tiddler might be recursively transcluded into multiple other tiddlers).

We can fix our example above using the qualify macro as follows:

<$vars stateTiddlerName=<<qualify "$:/temp/IsOpen">>>
    <$reveal state=<<stateTiddlerName>> type="match" text="yes">
            <$button set=<<stateTiddlerName>> setTo="no">Close</$button>

            Here is some information that can be selectively hidden and shown: This tiddler's name is {{!!title}}.
    </$reveal>

    <$reveal state=<<stateTiddlerName>> type="nomatch" text="yes">
            <$button set=<<stateTiddlerName>> setTo="yes">Open</$button>
    </$reveal>
</$vars>

If you go look in $:/temp after clicking on each of the buttons, you'll see several unique tiddlers that look like IsOpen-148223948 or IsOpen--723342025, each of which contains a unique value describing whether the expandable section is open.

Exercises

Exercise: (s) [Ex:QualifyMultipleCalls]

What happens if you remove the $vars widget and the stateTiddlerName variable from the above example and call qualify once every time that the name of the tiddler is needed?

go to answer

Exercise: (m) [Ex:ContactRadioButtonQualification]

Return to the radio buttons we added to the ContactInformationTemplate in Ex:FamilyRadioButton to display the contact information of a family member of the contact. As written in the answer of that exercise, it is in need of a qualify macro so that if multiple contacts are open, they can have different family members selected at once. Add this macro call. (If you wrote your version in a way that doesn't require qualification to work correctly with multiple contacts open, first modify it to store the selected contact in a temp tiddler like the book's version does.)

go to answer

Takeaways

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