Using Javascript and Vue

At this point, you should know enough to have created a simple blade frontend and a corresponding API (although the business logic is still to come). However, to take your module to the next level we recommend using the Vue.js framework to provide an interactive, responsive frontend. We don’t enforce the use of Vue, but the template module has the scaffolding to use Vue out the box.

Javascript Architecture

Your JavaScript entry point is the module.js file in /resources/js. This file should import your global dependencies and create a new Vue instance mounted to the base component defined in 'resources/views/layout/app.blade.php'. This file is then loaded in the same blade file.

Example module.js file

import Vue from 'vue';
import BootstrapVue from 'bootstrap-vue';
import http from 'http-client';
import AWN from "awesome-notifications";

import ExampleComponent from './components/ExampleComponent';

Vue.prototype.$http = http;
Vue.prototype.$notify = new AWN({position: 'top-right'});

let vue = new Vue({
    el: '#static-page-root',

    components: {
This is set up for you if you’re using the template module!

The above is an example of a module.js file, taken from the template. We import Vue and BootstrapVue (a set of Vue components built around Bootstrap). We also import a http-client and notifications, as well as a component.

We’re still in the process of deciding which frontend framework to use, and are considering Vuetify.

We can initialise BootstrapVue by calling Vue.use(BootstrapVue), which will let us use any of the components anywhere we want. We then create a new Vue instance, attached to the root element by ID. In the 'components' section, we can load any custom components we create and want to use in the blade template. We often create a single base component per page and import it here.

HTTP Client

The http client can be installed by adding "http-client": "github:bristol-su/http-client" to your dependencies in package.json. You may be asking why we use this instead of something called axios. This http client is a basic wrapper around axios, and understands the SDK authentication and authorization schema for an API call. It sets up the base url, CSRF token and the user/group/role/activity instance IDs. This reduces consuming an API from your frontend to just calling http-client.get('/file'). This will send an API request to the correct URL, let the SDK know who the user is and still let you use the normal .then() .catch() .then() promises.

To simplify this further, we assign the client to the Vue prototype. This means that, in your Vue components, you can simply use

export default {
    name: "MyComponent",

    data() {
        return {
            files: []

    methods: {
        loadFiles() {
                .then(response => this.files =
                .catch(error => this.$notify.alert('Could not load files: ' + error.message);

This will load all files and save them to the 'files' data attribute, or show an error if something went wrong. Notice we can use 'this.$http', which is the custom http client we provide. This means we only need to define how to make an API request in one place.

To further add to the usefullness of the http client, it will automatically detect whether to use the admin or participant API so you don’t need to specify!


You may have seen we also used this.$notify. This is so that the notification framework can easily be changed at any point. Again, this is assigned to the Vue prototype in the module.js file.

Window variables

The portal doesn’t stop there, however. It also provides an object, accessible through 'window.portal', which holds information about the current environment. This is used by the http client to work out who the user is, as well as information about the current module etc.

On a side note, we don’t just take the user referenced here as the truth because anyone could change this information. Therefore, it shouldn’t be relied on. The portal uses passport to securely log a user into the API and provide a JWT token for authentication on each request. This securely retrieves the database user, at which stage we can check the control user/group/role passed by the http-client from the window.portal object is owned and accessible by the given database user. In short, only load information from the back-end! If you need to access a third party, do it through the back-end rather than directly from the frontend.

You can also add your own information to this object. For example, you may need to access the client ID of a third party on the frontend. This then allows you to use the Laravel config and .env file to define your configuration, and then dynamically pass it to the frontend. You have one of two options, depending on the visibility of the parameter.

You can either define it in the service provider or in middleware, which is then attached to your routes. If you define it in the service provider, it will be defined on every page of the portal, not just your modules. If you define it in middleware, it will only be defined when a route with the correct middleware is loaded.

To define a variable, we use the Laracasts JS Package. You can follow their documentation, but generally you will just need to put the following in your middleware or service provider boot function:

  'key' => 'value',
  'typeform_client_id' => config('typeform-alias.client_id')

These will now be accessible through 'window.portal.key' or 'window.portal.typeform_client_id'.

The variables that the portal defines itself are (all with a base of window.portal.):

  • APP_URL: Url of the portal. This is not defined by the SDK, so must be defined by the sdk implementation, i.e. the portal or playground. The portal defines it with a View composer, and the playground defines it in the service provider boot function.

  • API_URL: URL of the API, generally the APP_URL with /api at the end. As above, this is defined by the portal not the SDK.

  • ALIAS: Alias of the module instance. Will be removed in a future update.

  • ACTIVITY_SLUG: Slug of the activity instance.

  • MODULE_INSTANCE_SLUG: Slug of the module instance

  • A_OR_P: 'a' if the page is an admin page, 'p' if it is a participant page

  • user: The control user and data user currently logged in, or null if no user logged in

  • group: The control group and data group currently logged in, or null if no group logged in

  • role: The control role and data role currently logged in, or null if no role logged in

  • activityinstance: The activity instance being used

  • moduleinstance: The module instance being used

  • data_user: The data user. Will be removed in a future update.

Using these along with the Vue framework and API calls should allow you to build your module exactly how you want, whilst keeping it integrated with the SDK and in turn the portal and playground.