Building A Real-Time Chat Application With Vue.js and Firebase - Part 2 - YouTube

In the first part of the _Building A Real-Time Chat Application With Vue.js and Firebase_tutorial series we’ve set up the Vue.js project, installed needed dependencies like the Bootstrap framework, established the connection to Firebase and started with the implementation.

In this second part we’re going to further complete the implementation of the Vue application and we’re going to implement the Chat and CreateMessage component.

Implementing The Template

Let’s create a new file src/views/Chat.vue and start inserting the following template code first:

<template>
    <div class="chat container">
        <h2 class="text-primary text-center">Real-Time Chat</h2>
        <h5 class="text-secondary text-center">Powered by Vue.js & Firebase</h5>
        <div class="card">
            <div class="card-body">
                <p class="nomessages text-secondary" v-if="messages.length == 0">
                    [No messages yet!]
                </p>
                <div class="messages" v-chat-scroll="{always: false, smooth: true}">
                    <div v-for="message in messages" :key="message.id">
                        <span class="text-info">[{{ message.name }}]: </span>
                        <span>{{message.message}}</span>
                        <span class="text-secondary time">{{message.timestamp}}</span>
                    </div>
                </div>
            </div>
            <div class="card-action">
                <CreateMessage :name="name"/>
            </div>
        </div>
    </div>
</template>

This codes makes use of Bootstrap’s CSS classes. The output is depending on whether the messages array is filled with messages or not.

If no messages are available the text_ [No messages yet!]_ is presented to the user. If messages are available the chat messages are printed out by iterating over the _messages _array using the _v-for _directive. For each message the user name, the message text and the message timestamp are printed out.

To ensure that the user can always see the latest message we’re using the v-chat-scroll plugin for the div chat div container. To make this plugin available add the package by executing the following command within the project directory:

$ npm install vue-chat-scroll

and make sure that the plugin is activated for our application by adding the following two lines of code in main.js:

import VueChatScroll from 'vue-chat-scroll'

Vue.use(VueChatScroll)

Adding The Component’s JavaScript Code

To further complete the implementation of Chat.vue add the JavaScript code embedded in a <script>-element next:

<script>
    import CreateMessage from '@/components/CreateMessage';
    import fb from '@/firebase/init';
    import moment from 'moment';

    export default {
        name: 'Chat',
        props: ['name'],
        components: {
            CreateMessage
        },
        data() {
            return{
                messages: []
            }
        },
        created() {
            let ref = fb.collection('messages').orderBy('timestamp');

            ref.onSnapshot(snapshot => {
                snapshot.docChanges().forEach(change => {
                    if (change.type == 'added') {
                        let doc = change.doc;
                        this.messages.push({
                            id: doc.id,
                            name: doc.data().name,
                            message: doc.data().message,
                            timestamp: moment(doc.data().timestamp).format('LTS')
                        });
                    }
                });
            });
        }
    }
</script>

A few things to note here: First of all three import statement have been added.

  • The _CreateMessage _component (which is not implemented yet) is already imported because Chat component is using _CreateMessage _as a child component.
  • The _messages _array is declared as a data property of the component.
  • The created() method is a lifecycle hook and called after a component is created but before the component output is added to the DOM. In our case the created hook is used to access the Firestore _messages _collection, read out the data and make sure that all available messages are inserted into the component’s _messages _property, so that it can be accessed in the template code.

To access Firestore we’re making sure that we’re adding the following import statement on top:

import fb from '@/firebase/init';

As we’re exporting the Firestore reference in init.js we’re able to access Firestore via _fb _in Login component. A reference to the collection is created inside the _created _method by using:

let ref = fb.collection('messages').orderBy('timestamp');

To retrieve the data of that collection we need to use the _onSnapshot _method. By using that method you can listen to a document with the onSnapshot() method. An initial call using the callback you provide creates a document snapshot immediately with the current contents of the single document. Then, each time the contents change, another call updates the document snapshot.

Inside the callback function we’re checking for updated documents inside the messages collection by using snapshot.docChanges(). Iterating through the list of changed documents is done by using method forEach. Here we need to pass in another callback function which is invoked for every document inside that list of changed document.

Inside that second callback function we’re checking if the value of change.type is added. This is needed because the following logic should only be executed for new messages being added to the collection in Firestore. If this is the case we’re added this new message document to the component’s _messages _array, so that it is displayed to the user instantly.

Adding Styles

Finally, let’s add the styles section to Chat.vue:

<style>
.chat h2{
    font-size: 2.6em;
    margin-bottom: 0px;
}

.chat h5{
    margin-top: 0px;
    margin-bottom: 40px;
}

.chat span{
    font-size: 1.2em;
}

.chat .time{
    display: block;
    font-size: 0.7em;
}

.messages{
    max-height: 300px;
    overflow: auto;
}
</style>
Implementing CreateMessage Component

In the template code of _Chat _component we’ve already included the _CreateMessage _component by using the following line of code:

<CreateMessage :name="name"/>

Herewith we’re making sure that the value of the _Chat _component’s _name _property (which is received from Login Component) is passed to _CreateMessage _component (again as _name _property) and that the output of CreateMessage component is embedded in the output of _Chat _component.

To make that code work we need to add the implementation of _CreateMessage _component to the Vue.js project next.

Implementing The Template

Let’s add a new file src/components/CreateMessage.vue to the project and insert the following template code first:

<template>
    <div class="container" style="margin-bottom: 30px">
        <form @submit.prevent="createMessage">
            <div class="form-group">
                <input type="text" name="message" class="form-control" placeholder="Enter message ..." v-model="newMessage">
                <p class="text-danger" v-if="errorText">{{ errorText }}</p>
            </div>

            <button class="btn btn-primary" type="submit" name="action">Submit</button>
        </form>
    </div>
</template>

This template is containing the HTML code which is needed to output a simple form consisting of one input field. This field is of type text and bound to the _newMessage _property of the component. The submit event of this form is bound to the _createMessage _event handler method which we’re going to implement in the next step.

Let’s now add the following JavaScript code (embedded in a -tag) in CreateMessage.vue:

	<script>
    import fb from '@/firebase/init';

    export default {
        name: 'CreateMessage',
        props: ['name'],
        data(){
            return {
                newMessage: null,
                errorText: null
            }
        },
        methods: {
            createMessage () {
                if (this.newMessage) {
                    fb.collection('messages').add({
                        message: this.newMessage,
                        name: this.name,
                        timestamp: Date.now()
                    }).catch(err => {
                        console.log(err);
                    });
                    this.newMessage = null;
                    this.errorText = null;
                } else {
                    this.errorText = "A message must be entered!"
                }
            }
        }
    }
</script>

First of all we’re making sure that we have access to the Firestore reference by including the following import statement on top:

import fb from '@/firebase/init';

Two data properties are defined (newMessage and errorText) by using the data function. Furthermore adding the name property to the array which is assigned to the component’s props property. This is needed to be able to receive name as an input property.

Inside the methods object the createMessage method is implemented. Inside this method we’re checking first if a message has been entered (if this.newMessage has a value). If this is the case the new message object is inserted into the Firestore messages collection by calling fb.collection(‘messages’).add.

If no message value is available we’re setting errorText to the value “A message must be entered!”, so that this error message is displayed to the user.

Completing The Router Configuration

Finally we need to complete the router configuration in src/router.js:

	import Vue from 'vue'
import Router from 'vue-router'
import Login from './views/Login.vue'
import Chat from '@/views/Chat.vue'

Vue.use(Router)

export default new Router({
  mode: 'history',
  base: process.env.BASE_URL,
  routes: [
    {
      path: '/',
      name: 'Login',
      component: Login
    },
    {
      path: '/chat',
      name: 'Chat',
      component: Chat,
      props: true,
      beforeEnter: (to, from, next) => {
        if (to.params.name) {
          next();
        } else {
          next({name: 'Login'});
        }
      }
    }
  ]
})

The configuration for the /chat path is added and connected to the newly created _Chat_component. In this route configuration the props property is set to true. This is needed because we want to pass the name as a router property.

Furthermore we’re attaching a route guard function to the beforeEnter property. This function is executed before the route is accessed. The function is used to first check if the user has already performed the login process (a login name is available via to.params.name. If this is the case the next() function is called to conclude the routing process to /chat. In any other case the next method is used to route back to Login component.

What’s Next

In this second part of the _Building A Real-Time Chat Application With Vue.js and Firebase_tutorial series we’ve further completed the implementation of the Vue.js front-end application.

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VueJS V1 Introduction to VueJS JavaScript Framework

Getting started with Vuejs for development

Vuejs 2 + Vuex + Firebase + Cloud Firestore

Building Applications with VueJs, Vuex, VueRouter, and Nuxt

What are the differences between the various JavaScript frameworks? E.g. Vue.js, Angular.js, React.js

What are the differences? Do they each have specific use contexts?

What are the differences? Do they each have specific use contexts?

Ember.js vs Vue.js - Which is JavaScript Framework Works Better for You

Ember.js vs Vue.js - Which is JavaScript Framework Works Better for You

In this article we will discuss full details and comparison of both Ember.js and Vue.js

JavaScript was initially created to work for web applications. But today they have become the favorite of mobile app developers. Most of the developers prefer to work with frameworks based on JavaScript. It simplifies coding. You can use JavaScript with almost any framework.

The use of a particular framework will decide how easy and fast it is to create the app. So, you must choose the best one suited for the app that you are planning to build. You must make a wise choice so that you benefit in the end. Among the crowded market, two of the frameworks stand out. We will make a comparison between Ember.js and Vue.js.

Why Do You Select A Particular Framework?

Before we start comparing the two frameworks, we should understand the factors that lead to the choice of a framework. Each developer chooses a framework before he or she goes to work on an app. Let us see the reasons for the selection.

● The codes must be easy to understand and transparent.

● The framework should give the maximum power with the least amount of coding.

● The framework should provide a well laid out structure to work on.

● Does the framework support an in-built router or an external plug-in router?

● The framework should be able to transfer more data on a full page-load so that it becomes a single-page app. A single-page app is more beneficial for the application.

● In single page architectures if there is a need for users to share links to sub-screens within the interface, then the framework should have the capacity to route based on the URL.

● A tighter template option can help in enabling two-way binding.

● The framework should not conflict any third-party library.

● Testing the codes inside the framework should be easy.

● The framework should provide the HTTP client service for AJAX calls

● The documentation is essential. It should be complete and up-to-date.

● The framework should be compatible with the latest version of the browser.

● The framework has to fulfill the above conditions for easy construction of the app. You must ensure that the framework you choose meets the conditions.

Vue.js Explained

Developers are always looking at new frameworks to build their apps. The main requirements are speed and low cost. The framework should be easy to use by even new developers. You should be able to use it at low cost. Other considerations are about simple coding, proper documentation, etc.

Vue.js combines a lot of good when it comes to software language for web app development. The architecture of Vue.js is easy to put in use. The apps developed using Vue.js are easy to integrate with new apps.

Vue.js is a very lightweight framework. It makes it fast to download. It is also much faster than other frameworks. The single-file component nature of the framework is also beneficial. The size has made it very popular.

You can further decrease weight. With Vue.js you can separate the template-to-virtual DOM and compiler. You can only deploy the minified and zipped interpreter which is only 12 KB. You can compile the templates in your machine.

Another significant advantage of Vue.js is that it can integrate easily with existing applications created with JavaScript. It will make it easy for using this framework to make changes to applications already present.

Vue.js also integrates easily with other front-end libraries. You can plug in another library and make up for any deficiency in this framework. This feature makes this tool a versatile one.

Vue.js uses the method of rendering on the streaming-side server. You can render your component and get a readable stream. You can then send this to the HTTP server. It makes the server highly responsive. Your users will get the rendered content very quickly.

Vue.js is very SEO friendly. As the framework supports server-side rendering, the views are rendered directly on the server. The search engines list these.

But the most important thing for you is the ease with which you can learn Vue.js. The structure is elementary. Even new developers will find it easy to use it to build their apps. This framework helps in developing both small and large templates. It helps to save a lot of time.

You can go back and check your errors very easily. You can travel back and inspect all the states apart from testing your components. It is another important feature as far as any developer is concerned.

Vue.js also has very detailed documentation. It helps in writing your applications very quickly. You can build a web page or app with the basic knowledge of HTML or JavaScript.

● Vue.js has pure architecture. It helps in integration with other apps

● Vue.js is lightweight and fast. It can be made lighter by deploying only the interpreter

● You can separate the compiler and the template-to-virtual DOM.

● Due to smooth integration, you can use this to make changes to existing apps

● To make up for any shortfall, you can plug-in any library and makeup.

● As Vue.js uses streaming-side server rendering, your users can get quick responses.

● The server-side rendering also helps in being ranked higher by search engines.

● It has a simple structure. Easy to use for any new developer

● You can go back and check and correct your errors.

● You can check all the existing states.

● Detail documentation also helps build the web page or application very quickly.

Ember.js Decoded

Ember.js is an MVVM model framework. It is open-source software. This platform is mostly used for creating complex multi-page applications. It maintains up-to-date features without discarding any of the old features.

With this framework, you have to follow the architecture of the framework strictly. The JS framework is very tightly organized. It reduces the flexibility that other frameworks might offer.

There is a very refined and developed control system for its platforms and tools. You can integrate it with the new version with the tools provided. There is strict guidance about avoiding outdated APIs.

You can understand Ember’s APIs easily. They are also easy to work. You can make use of highly complex functionalities simply and straightforwardly.

The performance is better as similar jobs are processed together. It creates batches of similar bindings and DOM updates to improve the performance. It means that the browser needs to process them in one go. It will avoid recomputing for each task, wasting a lot of time.

You can write the codes in a simple manner and modules. You can use any of Ember’s APIs. It is possible due to the presence of Promises everywhere.

Ember comes with a well-written guide. The API is recorded in a useful manner. It is a front-end framework that is loaded. Ember has a router, pipeline, services, etc. of its own.

The basis for views, controllers, models, and framework is the Ember Object Model. All components come from the same objects. The framework is firm and steady. The reason is that all elements have similar jobs and characteristics.

Ember has made the general application, organization, and structure clear so that you don’t make any mistakes. You will have no chance to complicate the application unnecessarily. If you have to go out of the defined limits, you will have to force your way out.

The language used for templating in Embers is Handlebars. This language helps Embers to keep its logic out of view. The clean syntax of Handlebars makes it easy for you to read and understand the templates. Handlebar templates are faster to load.

Another advantage you gain from Handlebar is that you don’t have to update your template every time you add or remove data from the page. It will be done automatically by the language itself.

A community that is continually improving the framework supports Ember. They are updating the framework with the latest technology. They also make sure that backward compatibility is possible.

● Ember.js is an open-source MVVM model framework suitable for complex multiple-page applications.

● It offers both the latest and old features.

● It has a very tightly structured framework which doesn’t offer much flexibility

● A very refined control system helps you to integrate with new versions without any problem.

● There is strict guidance about avoiding outdated API versions.

● Ember’s APIs help you to use complex functionalities in a simple manner

● There is no recomputing for each task as the framework allows the browser to do similar functions together.

● Promises allow you to write modular and straightforward code using any API of Ember.js.

● Ember.js is a fully loaded, front-end framework.

● The framework is stable because all components have the same functionalities and properties.

● It has well-defined limitations which will prevent your complicating your application

● Handlebars, the language used by Ember.js allows you to read and understand templates easily. It also helps to load the templates faster.

● Handlebars will ensure to update the template every time you add or remove data.

● Ember.js has an active community that updates the framework regularly and facilitates backward compatibility.

A Comparison Between Ember.js And Vue.js

This article intends to compare the features of both frameworks. Let us see how the characteristics of these frameworks compare. It will help you to make use of the right framework for your web application.

When you need a modern engine for an old application, it is Vue.js which will help you. It combines the best properties of other frameworks. Vue.js is a developing framework. A ready-to-use library of interface elements does not exist. However, many third-party libraries can help you.

Ember.js offers you a well-organized and trustworthy framework. When the development team is big, this is the framework that suits best. It allows everyone to understand the written code and contribute to a common project. The technology will be up-to-date, and the platform will be stable.

Vue.js can help you use the syntax of different kinds. It helps in writing the codes with ease. It is also an SEO friendly framework. Ember is a fully loaded front-end framework and can help you develop the applications very fast. But it is not suitable for developing small projects.

It is not easy to say this is better than that. It will depend on what kind of project you have undertaken. Both have their pluses and minuses. The below table will help in a better comparison.

Final Thoughts

It is not easy to conclude as to which is better. It all depends on the application that you want to develop. Both frameworks are developing. Both are getting updates. Both the communities are working on the frameworks.

While Vue.js is more comfortable for writing codes, Ember is a full-stack framework allowing the development of apps very fast. It is suitable for big projects. It is too complicated to be used for smaller projects.

We hope you had a great time reading this article. If you’ve any questions or suggestions related to this blog, then feel free to ask them in the comment section. Thank You.!