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2.0.1 • Public • Published


Depository is a small state management / coordination module for javascript based applications.

Depository is designed to provide a simple mechanism for storing and retrieving information. It provides a very straightforward API for monitoring state changes, as well as adjusting / filtering and or preventing state changes.

Depository works on node and in the browser.


let Depository = require('depository');

// create a new empty depo
let depo = new Depository({});

// attach a watcher to the entire depo
// this will be called whenever ANY part
// of the depo is changed.
depo.watch('.', function(notification) {

    console.log('data was modified:');

    // new values from the perspective of the watcher
    console.log('from this watchers perspective:');


// Subelements are created automatically if they
// do not already exist.
depo.set('foo.bar', { baz: 8 });

// will print:
// { foo: { bar: { baz: 8 } } }


In modern applications you often need a reliable place to store your state. A standard javascript object is easiest, but requires you to do all your state management manually.

The depository module is designed to be almost as simple as interacting with a normal javascript object, but provide the mechanism for observing changes to your state and reacting / responding to them.

At the most basic level, you can create watchers on specific portions of your state object which will be called when that portion of your state changes. Then, any time that portion of the state changes, your watcher will be called and can react to that change. This could be used to trigger a save whenever your user's profile information changes, for example, or to trigger a UI update if a new message is added to a message list.

Depository doesn't limit you to merely observing changes. Depository's filter mechanism allows you to react before data is changed, allowing you to intercede and modify data or even reject a change.

Creating a Depository

Creating a depository, or depo, is simple. Simply load the module (via require in node, or via script src= in the browser, then create a depo object:

let depo = new Depository({});

This will create a new depo and will initialize it with an empty object. You can pass any object to the depository and it will become the root object. Note that the initial object provided is directly modified during the course of interacting with the depo object.

Setting and Getting data

Interacting with the depo is a straightforward process. You set data by calling depo.set(key, data) where the key is a dot-separated string indicating what you wish to change, and data is the data you wish to place at that key. For example, calling the following with an empty depo:

depo.set('person.name', 'Jennifer');

would result in the depo containing a person object, which contains a name attribute. We can see this by getting that data using the same person.name key:

let name = depo.get('person.name');

console.log(name);  // outputs 'Jennifer'

Likewise, you get get the entire person object using the key person:

let person = depo.get('person');

console.log(person); // outputs: { "name": "Jennifer" }

When depo.set() is called, the data is replaced at the key provided. Meaning this:

depo.set('person.phone', '867-5309');

Would add phone to the person object we created before:

let person = depo.get('person');

// outputs:
// {
//     "name": "Jennifer",
//     "phone": "867-5309"
// }

If you want to retrieve the entire depo data, you can use the special key . (that is a solitary period):

let all_data = depo.get('.');

// outputs:
// {
//     "person": {
//         "name": "Jennifer",
//         "phone": "867-5309"
//     }
// }


When data is set on a depo - all intermediate objects are created automatically if possible. As we saw above, setting person.name automatically created a person object, and set a value inside it.

The Deposistory will do its best to create the correct structure based on the keys you provide. For example, if you did this:

depo.set('people.0.name', "Jenny");

Depo would create an array called people and create an object in the first position, and set the name in that object to 'Jenny':

let all_data = depo.get('.');

// outputs:
// {
//     "people": [
//         {
//             "name": "Jenny"
//         }
//     ]
// }

This can, in rare cases, not do what you expect. For example, if people already existed in the repo as an object, then the same set as above would instead just add to the existing object:

let all_data = depo.get('.');

// outputs:
// {
//     "people": {
//         0: {
//             "name": "Jennifer",
//         }
//     }
// }

Get-ting returns a copy

It's important to be aware that depo.get() returns a copy of the data in the repo. This means that while you are free to change an object returned by depo.get(), those changes are not applied to the depo until you call depo.set() to place them there. A good practice to get into when using the depo is to depo.get() the data you want to modify, modify the returned object, and then depo.set() that back into the depo:

let person = depo.get('people.0');
person.phone = "202-867-5309";
person.address = "pending confirmaton";
depo.set('people.0', person);

There are several reasons for this, the primary one being that depo will trigger only one set of filters / notifications for the change, rather than sending several, one for each attribute changed.

Watching for data changes

The primary purpose of Depository is to allow for monitoring of data changes. As such, this is made exceedingly simple. To monitor a portion of your depo for changes, you simply call depo.watch passing the key that you want to monitor:

let Depository = require('./Depository.js');

// create a new empty depo
let depo = new Depository({ people: [] });

// attach a watcher to the people list
depo.watch('people', function(notification) {
    // when a people element is changed, save it:

    console.log('people was modified:');
    // people was modified:
    // { provided_key: 'people.0',
    //   provided_value: { name: 'Jenny' },
    //   key: 'people',
    //   key_suffix: '0',
    //   value: [ { name: 'Jenny' } ] }


depo.set('people.0', { "name": "Jenny" });

The function provided to watch will receive a notification object whenever the portion of the depo it is watching is changed.

The notification includes all the information about the change that was made. The key attribute contains the key that was being watched. The key_suffix will be the key path to the changed object, and value will be the new value. This information is provided from the perspective of the watcher.

In addition to the attributes above, the provided_key and provided_value provides the key and value actually passed to the depo.set() method.

As you might notice, this means that watchers are aware of changes anywhere beneath the key you are watching. In other words, if you were to change the phone attribute of a single element in your people array, your watcher would be informed of this change.


npm i depository

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