Customizing Chat

Chat is a complex widget created with Webix Jet, the MV* framework for Webix Library. It is a ready-to-use application with minimum configuration settings but has API for redefining the logic of inner modules.

You will need to study the source code to customize views and models.

Jet App Nature and Class Map

Chat is built as a Jet App and wrapped into a Webix view, so you can initialize it in either of the ways.

Views

The interface of Chat is split into parts (views). Each view is a class that extends the JetView class and has own handlers for setting the configuration and logic.

The sources for interface parts (Jet Views) are located in the sources/views folder.

views
  chat.js
  list.js
  messages
    toolbar.js
  ...

Go to the Class Map page to see the list of all Jet views in Chat and where they are in the interface.

Models/Services

Chat models contain the logic for loading and storing data, uploading avatars, working with templates etc. They are defined as Jet Services.

The sources for models (Jet Services) are located in the sources/models folder.

models
  Backend.js
  Helpers.js
  Local.js
  Operations.js
  Upload.js

Service methods are called by the UI and can be called by a programmer as:

$$("myChat").getService("helpers").listAvatar(user, cssClass);

Customizing Views

  • you can override the config() method for changes in the UI
  • you can override the init() for changes in the UI and behavior
  • you can override any existing method but with a caution
  • you can add and call your own methods

Firstly, create you own view class and inherit it from one of the default views or from chat.views.JetView:

class CustomToolbar extends chat.views["messages/toolbar"] {
  config(){
    //get JSON object with configuration
    const ui = super.config();
    //exact changes depend on a particular view
    ui.height = 60;
    return ui;
  }
  init() {
    // call default logic
    super.init();
    // custom logic below
    this.doSomething();
  }
  doSomething(){
    // do something on init
  }
}

Secondly, replace the default view via the override map:

webix.ui({
  view: "chat",
  url:"https://docs.webix.com/chat-backend/",
  override: new Map([
    [chat.views["messages/toolbar"], CustomToolbar]
  ])
});

Custom toolbar content

To add custom content to the toolbar take the following steps:

  • create a new class and inherit it from the default chat.views["messages/toolbar"] one;
  • redefine the TitleTemplate method so that it returns the desired content.
class CustomToolbar extends chat.views["messages/toolbar"] {
  TitleTemplate(chat) {
    var helpers = this.app.getService("helpers"); 
    // getting avatar
    var result = helpers.listAvatar(chat, "webix_chat_toolbar_avatar");
    return (
      result +
      `
      <div class='webix_chat_title'>
          <div class="webix_chat_messages_groupchat_name">${chat.name}</div>
          <div class="webix_chat_messages_groupchat_members">
            Custom content here
          </div>
      </div>`
    );
  }
}

Then, replace the default class with a custom one via the override map:

webix.ui({
  view: "chat",
  override: new Map([
    [chat.views["messages/toolbar"], CustomToolbar],
  ]),
  // other properties
});

Related sample:  Chat: Custom Toolbar Content

You can find more use cases in the How-tos article.

Notes

1. We do not recommend to remove any component from the interface as the inner logic might still try accessing it. Instead, hide the components.

class CustomToolbar extends chat.views.sidebar {
  init(view) {
    // preserving default logic
    super.init();
    // removing components can cause errors
    // hiding components is safe
    this.$$("search").hide();
  }
}

2. You can access component instances within a Jet view by:

  • using the $$(id) method of JetView.

It works for an inner component that is assigned the localId setting.

init(view) {
  // preserving default logic
  super.init();
  // removing components can cause errors
  // hiding components is safe
  this.$$("search").hide();
}
init(view) {
    // default logic
    super.init();
    // get instance of the search input
    view.queryView("chat-search").hide();
}

3. You can find out whether the app is currently compact from any view or service method as:

const compact = this.getParam("compact", true);

4. You can get state properties from any view or service method as:

const state = this.app.getState();
// or 
const state = this.getParam("state");

Customizing Jet Services

  • you can add and call your own methods
  • you can override any existing method but with a caution

Firstly, create you own service class and inherit it from one of the default services:

class MyBackend extends chat.services.backend {
  chats(){
    // client-side data 
    return webix.promise.resolve(chats);
  }
}

Secondly, replace the default service via the override map:

{
  view: "chat",
  url:"https://docs.webix.com/chat-backend/",
  override: new Map([
    [chat.services.Backend, MyBackend]
  ])
}

Related sample:  Chat: Local Data

You can find more information about Chat Backend service in the Working with Server article.

Backward Compatibility

Chat is extremely flexible when it comes to customizations: you can change almost anything in it. However, keep in mind the following:

  • The inner logic of Chat modules may change in future releases.
  • We will try to maintain method signatures, but breaking changes might happen if they are necessary for further development of the widget.

Code for IE11 and Edge must be with different syntax.

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