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Binding behaviors

Binding behaviors are a category of view resources, just like value converters, custom attributes and custom elements. Binding behaviors are most like value converters in that you use them declaratively in binding expressions to affect the binding.
The primary difference between a binding behavior and a value converter is binding behaviors have full access to the binding instance, throughout its lifecycle. Contrast this with a value converter, which can only intercept values passing from the model to the view and visa versa.
The additional "access" afforded to binding behaviors gives them the ability to change the behaviour of the binding, enabling a lot of interesting scenarios, which you'll see below.

Throttle

Aurelia ships with a handful of behaviors out of the box to enable common scenarios. The first is the throttle binding behavior which limits the rate at which the view-model is updated in two-way bindings or the rate at which the view is updated in to-view binding scenarios.
By default, throttle will only allow updates every 200ms. You can customize the rate, of course. Here are a few examples.
Updating a property, at most, every 200ms
HTML
<input type="text" value.bind="query & throttle">
The first thing you probably noticed in the example above is the & symbol, used to declare binding behavior expressions. Binding behavior expressions use the same syntax pattern as value converter expressions:
  • Binding behaviors can accept arguments: firstName & myBehavior:arg1:arg2:arg3
  • A binding expression can contain multiple binding behaviors: firstName & behavior1 & behavior2:arg1.
  • Binding expressions can also include a combination of value converters and binding behaviors: ${foo | upperCase | truncate:3 & throttle & anotherBehavior:arg1:arg2}.
Here's another example using throttle, demonstrating the ability to pass arguments to the binding behavior:
Updating a property, at most, every 850ms
<input type="text" value.bind="query & throttle:850">
The throttle behavior is particularly useful when binding events to methods on your view-model. Here's an example with the mousemove event:
Handling an event, at most, every 200ms
<div mousemove.delegate="mouseMove($event) & throttle"></div>

Flush pending throttled calls

Sometimes, it's desirable to forcefully run the throttled update so that the application syncs the latest values. This can happen in a form when a user previously was typing into a throttled form field and hit the tab key to go to the next field, as an example. The throttle binding behavior supports this scenario via signal. These signals can be added via the 2nd parameter, like the following example:
my-app.html
1
<input value.bind="value & throttle :200 :`finishTyping`" blur.trigger="signaler.dispatchSignal('finishTyping')">
2
<!-- or it can be a list of signals -->
3
<input value.bind="value & throttle :200 :[`finishTyping`, `newUpdate`]">

Debounce

The debounce binding behavior is another rate-limiting binding behavior. Debounce prevents the binding from being updated until a specified interval has passed without any changes.
A common use case is a search input that triggers searching automatically. You wouldn't want to make a search API on every change (every keystroke). It's more efficient to wait until the user has paused typing to invoke the search logic.
Update after typing stopped for 200ms
<input type="text" value.bind="query & debounce">
Update after typing stopped for 850ms
<input type="text" value.bind="query & debounce:850">
Like throttle, the debounce binding behavior shines in event binding.
Here's another example with the mousemove event:
Call mouseMove after the mouse stops moving for 500ms
<div mousemove.delegate="mouseMove($event) & debounce:500"></div>

Flush pending debounced calls

Sometimes, it's desirable to forcefully run the throttled update so that the application syncs the latest values. This can happen in a form when a user previously was typing into a throttled form field and hit the tab key to go to the next field, as an example. Similar to the throttle binding behavior, The debounce binding behavior supports this scenario via signal. These signals can be added via the 2nd parameter, like the following example:
my-app.html
1
<input value.bind="value & debounce :200 :`finishTyping`" blur.trigger="signaler.dispatchSignal('finishTyping')">
2
<!-- or it can be a list of signals -->
3
<input value.bind="value & debounce :200 :[`finishTyping`, `newUpdate`]">

UpdateTrigger

The update trigger allows you to override the input events that cause the element's value to be written to the view model. The default events are change and input.
Here's how you would tell the binding to only update the model on blur:
Update on blur
<input value.bind="firstName & updateTrigger:'blur'>
Multiple events are supported:
Update with multiple events
<input value.bind="firstName & updateTrigger:'blur':'paste'>

Signal

The signal binding behavior enables you to "signal" the binding to refresh. This is especially useful when a binding result is impacted by global changes outside **** the observation path.
For example, if you have a "translate" value converter that converts a key to a localized string- e.g. ${'greeting-key' | translate} and your site allows users to change the current language, how would you refresh the bindings when that happens?
Another example is a value converter that uses the current time to convert a record's datetime to a "time ago" value: posted ${postDateTime | timeAgo}. When this binding expression is evaluated, it will correctly result in posted a minute ago. As time passes, it will eventually become inaccurate. How can we refresh this binding periodically to correctly display 5 minutes ago, then 15 minutes ago, an hour ago, etc?
Here's how you would accomplish this using the signal binding behaviour:
Using a Signal
posted ${postDateTime | timeAgo & signal:'my-signal'}
In the binding expression above, we're using the signal binding behavior to assign the binding a "signal name" of my-signal. Signal names are arbitrary. You can give multiple bindings the same signal name if you want to signal multiple bindings simultaneously.
Here's how we can use the ISignaler to signal the bindings periodically:
Signaling Bindings
import { ISignaler } from 'aurelia';
export class MyApp {
constructor(@ISignaler readonly signaler: ISignaler) {
setInterval(() => signaler.signal('my-signal'), 5000);
}
}

oneTime

With the oneTime binding behavior you can specify that string interpolated bindings should happen once. Simply write:
One-time String Interpolation
<span>${foo & oneTime}</span>
This is an important feature to expose. One-time bindings are the most efficient type of binding because they don't incur any property observation overhead.
There are also binding behaviors for toView and twoWay which you could use like this:
To-view and two-way binding behaviours
<input value.bind="foo & toView">
<input value.to-view="foo">
<input value.bind="foo & twoWay">
<input value.two-way="foo">
The casing for binding modes differs depending on whether they appear as a binding command or as a binding behavior. Because HTML is case-insensitive, binding commands cannot use capitals. Thus, when specified in this place, the binding modes use lowercase, dashed names. However, when used within a binding expression as a binding behavior, they must not use a dash because that is not a valid symbol for variable names in JavaScript. So, in this case, camel casing is used.

Self

With the self binding behavior, you can specify that the event handler will only respond to the target to which the listener was attached, not its descendants.
For example, in the following markup
Self-binding behavior
<panel>
<header mousedown.delegate='onMouseDown($event)' ref='header'>
<button>Settings</button>
<button>Close</button>
</header>
</panel>
onMouseDown is your event handler, and it will be called not only when user mousedown on header element, but also all elements inside it, which in this case are the buttons settings and close. However, this is not always the desired behaviour. Sometimes, you want the component only to react when the user clicks on the header itself, not the buttons. To achieve this, onMouseDown method needs some modification:
Handler without self-binding behavior
// inside component's view model class
onMouseDown(event) {
// if mousedown on the header's descendants. Do nothing
if (event.target !== header) return;
// mousedown on header, start listening for mousemove to drag the panel
// ...
}
This works, but business/ component logic is now mixed up with DOM event handling, which is unnecessary. Using self binding behaviour can help you achieve the same goal without filling up your methods with unnecessary code:
Using self-binding behavior
<panel>
<header mousedown.delegate='onMouseDown($event) & self'>
<button class='settings'></button>
<button class='close'></button>
</header>
</panel>
Using self-binding behavior
// inside component's view model class
onMouseDown(event) {
// No need to perform check, as the binding behavior will ensure check
// if (event.target !== header) return;
// mousedown on header, start listening for mousemove to drag the panel
// ...
}

Custom binding behaviors

You can build custom binding behaviors just like you can build value converters. Instead of toView and fromView methods, you'll create bind(binding, scope, [...args]) and unbind(binding, scope) methods. In the bind method, you'll add your behavior to the binding, and in the unbind method, you should clean up whatever you did in the bind method to restore the binding instance to its original state.
The binding argument is the binding instance whose behavior you want to change. It's an implementation of the Binding interface. The scope argument is the binding's data context. It provides access to the model the binding will be bound to via its bindingContext and overrideContext properties.
Here's a custom binding behavior that calls a method on your view model each time the binding's updateSource / updateTarget and callSource methods are invoked.
const interceptMethods = ['updateTarget', 'updateSource', 'callSource'];
export class InterceptBindingBehavior {
bind(scope, binding) {
let i = interceptMethods.length;
while (i--) {
let methodName = interceptMethods[i];
let method = binding[method];
if (!method) {
continue;
}
binding[`intercepted-${methodName}`] = method;
binding[methodName] = method.bind(binding);
}
}
unbind(scope, binding) {
let i = interceptMethods.length;
while (i--) {
let methodName = interceptMethods[i];
if (!binding[methodName]) {
continue;
}
binding[methodName] = binding[`intercepted-${methodName}`];
binding[`intercepted-${methodName}`] = null;
}
}
}
<import from="./intercept-binding-behavior"></import>
<div mousemove.delegate="mouseMove($event) & intercept:myFunc"></div>
<input value.bind="foo & intercept:myFunc">

Log Binding Behavior

Logs the current binding context to the console whenever the binding updates. This is useful for understanding the data context of a particular binding at runtime.
import { bindingBehavior } from '@aurelia/runtime-HTML';
import { type IBinding, type Scope } from '@aurelia/runtime';
export class LogBindingContextBehavior {
public bind(scope: Scope, binding: IBinding) {
const originalUpdateTarget = binding.updateTarget;
binding.updateTarget = (value) => {
console.log('Binding context:', scope.bindingContext);
originalUpdateTarget(value);
};
}
}
bindingBehavior('logBindingContext')(LogBindingContextBehavior);
<import from="./log-binding-behavior"></import>
<input value.bind="name & logBindingContext"></div>

Tooltip Binding Behavior

Temporarily adds a tooltip to the element, showing the current value of the binding. This can be a quick way to inspect binding values without console logging.
import { bindingBehavior } from '@aurelia/runtime-HTML';
import { type IBinding, type Scope } from '@aurelia/runtime';
export class InspectBindingBehavior {
public bind(scope: Scope, binding: IBinding) {
const originalUpdateTarget = binding.updateTarget;
binding.updateTarget = (value) => {
originalUpdateTarget(value);
binding.target.title = `Current value: ${value}`;
};
}
}
bindingBehavior('inspect')(InspectBindingBehavior);
<import from="./inspect-binding-behavior"></import>
<input value.bind="name & inspect"></div>

Highlight Updates Binding Behavior

This binding behavior will highlight an element by changing its background color temporarily whenever the binding's target value changes. This visual cue can help developers quickly identify which UI parts react to data changes.
import { bindingBehavior } from '@aurelia/runtime-html';
import { type IBinding, type Scope } from '@aurelia/runtime';
export class HighlightUpdatesBindingBehavior {
public bind(scope: Scope, binding: IBinding, highlightColor: string = 'yellow', duration: number = 500) {
const originalUpdateTarget = binding.updateTarget;
binding.updateTarget = (value) => {
originalUpdateTarget.call(binding, value);
const originalBg = binding.target.style.backgroundColor;
binding.target.style.backgroundColor = highlightColor;
setTimeout(() => {
binding.target.style.backgroundColor = originalBg;
}, duration);
};
}
}
bindingBehavior('highlightUpdates')(HighlightUpdatesBindingBehavior);
<import from="./highlight-updates-binding-behavior"></import>
<div textContent.bind="user.message & highlightUpdates:'lightblue':'1000'"></div>