The post belongs to NectarCommerce and Extension Framework Awareness Series

  1. NectarCommerce Vision
  2. Extension Framework Game Plan
  3. Introduction to Metaprogramming
  4. Ecto Model Schema Extension
  5. Ecto Model Support Functions Extension
  6. Phoenix Router Extension
  7. Phoenix View Extension
  8. Running Multiple Elixir Apps Together
  9. Extension Approach Explained
  10. Learning from failures: First Experiment at NectarCommerce Extension Approach
  11. Developing NectarCommerce Extensions
  12. Building an exrm release including NectarCommerce

What will be NectarCommerce

Off-the-shelf Opensource E-commerce application for building an online store.

Provides an Extension Framework to support features not included in core as extensions.

Strives for unobtrusive parallel development of NectarCommerce and Extensions

NectarCommerce is committed to providing a ready-to-use e-commerce solution but the definition of 100% is different under different business domains. It aims to solve common use-cases as part of the project and relying on extension framework to tap the rest.

Extension Framework Game Plan

Let’s validate and list the capabilities needed in Extension Framework through an extension which provides feature to mark a product as user’s favorite.

Favorite Product Extension Requirements:

  • Ability to mark and unmark a Product as favorite
    • a View probably showing all products with Ability to mark/unmark product as favorite
    • a controller action preparing the view
    • a route exposing the controller / view through Web
    • a controller action handling mark product as favorite
    • a route exposing the controller / view through Web
    • a controller action removing product from the list of favorites
    • a route exposing the controller / view through Web
    • a model interfacing with database to store product favorited by user
    • a migration to create join table in database
    • a join table storing product_id and user_id
  • Showing All Products favorited by a User
    • association in User to get favorite products
    • a View showing list of Favorite Products
    • a controller preparing the view
    • a route exposing the controller / view through Web
  • Showing Users who favorited a particular Product
    • association in Product to get users who favorited
    • a View showing list of Users who favorited
    • a controller preparing the view
    • a Route exposing the controller / view through Web
  • Ability to test the integration of above mentioned requirements

Let’s break the above requirements into two groups

  • Model layer changes
  • Request layer changes

Model Layer Changes

  • Ability to mark and unmark a Product as favorite
    • a model interfacing with database to store product favorited by user
    • a migration to create join table in database
    • a join table storing product_id and user_id
  • Showing All Products favorited by a User
    • association in User to get favorite products
  • Showing Users who favorited a particular Product
    • association in Product to get users who favorited

translates to

  • Ability to mark and unmark a Product as favorite
    • New Ecto Model with user_id and product_id fields
    • Ecto migration to create join table storing product_id and user_id
  • Showing All Products favorited by a User
    • extending User schema to have associations as needed
    • support functions in User Model to retrieve all products favorited by a user
  • Showing Users who favorited a particular Product
    • extending Product schema to have associations as needed
    • support functions in Product Model too retrieve all users who favorited a product

Request Layer Changes

  • Ability to mark and unmark a Product as favorite
    • a View probably showing all products with ability to mark/unmark product as favorite
    • a controller action preparing the view
    • a route exposing the controller / view through Web
    • a controller action handling mark product as favorite
    • a route exposing the controller / view through Web
    • a controller action removing product from the list of favorites
    • a route exposing the controllerontroller / view through Web
  • Showing All Products favorited by a User
    • a View showing list of Products
    • a controller preparing the view
    • already route exposing the controller / view through Web
  • Showing Users who favorited a particular Product
    • a View showing list of Users
    • a controller preparing the view
    • a route exposing the controller / view through Web

translates to

  • Ability to mark and unmark a Product as favorite
    • a View probably showing all products with ability to mark/unmark product as favorite
    • a controller with index / create / delete action
    • a route exposingposing index / create / delete action
  • Showing All Products favorited by a User
    • a View showing list of Products
    • a controller preparing the viewew
    • a route exposing the controller / view through Web
  • Showing Users who favorited a particular Product
    • a View showing list of Users
    • a controller preparing the view
    • a route exposing throughe controller / view through Web

What we need

  • way to extend schema definitions for existing models
  • way to add new functions in existing models
  • way to add routes
  • way to add controller / views for newly added routes
  • way to extend views
  • way to reuse layouts
  • way to reuse already available routes

How we attempt to solve

  • Elixir Metaprogramming
  • Elixir umbrella app dependencies to share and reuse code among Nectar & Extensions using ExtensionManager
  • Extensions as Phoenix project leveraging NectarCommerce

Bridging the Gap

Next Posts would refer the Favorite Product Extension to help co-relate and reveal the challenges & solutions implemented to propose an Extension framework.

Our aim with these posts is to start a dialog with the Elixir community on validity and technical soundness of our approach. We would really appreciate your feedback and reviews, and any ideas/suggestions/pull requests for improvements to our current implementation or entirely different and better way to do things to achieve the goals we have set out for NectarCommerce.

We look forward for your support and feedback on twitter and github

Enjoy the Elixir potion !!

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