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CHAPTER 9 CRE ATIN G YOUR FIRS T BLOC K WITH VISUA L WEB DEVELOPER
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The rest of the code combines several string variables (apikey, callingAPI, apiKey) in the variable reqUrl to form the URL required by the search operation (i.e., http:// api.technorati.com/search key=[your_apikey]&query=[search_variable]).
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Listing 9-2. Calling the Technorati API var apikey = " key="; var callingAPI = "http://api.technorati.com/search"; var apiKey = "[YOUR API KEY]"; //"{{Key:key;http://api.technorati.com/}}"; var reqUrl = callingAPI; reqUrl += apikey + apiKey; reqUrl += "&query=" + search; // can be link or weblog reqUrl += "&format=rss"; // set the returning xml to rss format
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var resultXML = environment.getXml(reqUrl, "technorati");
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We are using an optional parameter called format that indicates that we would like to receive the results of the search in RSS format. RSS format is not only common on the Internet but in many blocks within Popfly. This choice will give us some flexibility, because more blocks that can interact with our block. The Popfly helper object environment s getXml function is called with built reqUrl variable being passed to it. The results returned are XML in RSS format and are assigned to a variable called resultXML. The remaining code of the block should look very familiar. Most of the code was grabbed directly from the RSS block in 7. This is one of the important principles you need to learn when creating your blocks: reusing code will speed your development, because that code works and has been tested. Nothing is wrong with creating your own code from scratch, but you can save a lot of headaches by leveraging the work of others. The RSS XML is parsed, and an array of RSSItem objects is created and returned as the result of the function. Now, any block that consumes an object of type RSSItem can consume the results of our Technorati block.
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Testing Your Block
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Now that we have the block code ready, it s time to test the code to make sure it works. To test it, we need to get it working in the SDK s test harness. In 8, we got the test harness up and running, and you learned how it works. You know that, for code to be loaded into the test harness, it has to be in the Blocks folder. And now that we have completed writing the code, we can move the TechnoratiBlock.js file into the Blocks folder (see Figure 9-12).
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Figure 9-12. Moving the TechnoratiBlock.js
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Remember that the lines at the top of the code will load the block class using the componentManager add operation. Select Debug Start Debugging. A browser window will open with the test harness running. You should see Loaded Block:TechnoratiClass. displayed at the bottom of the harness window. Delete any code that is in the test harness code text box, and type the following (see Figure 9-13):
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t= new TechnoratiClass() t.getSearchResults("Silverlight")
CHAPTER 9 CRE ATIN G YOUR FIRS T BLOC K WITH VISUA L WEB DEVELOPER
Figure 9-13. Testing TechnoratiClass
Click the Run button to see the results shown in Figure 9-14. After the call is made to the search operation of the Technorati API, the results are stored in an array of RSSItems. In 8, you also learned that the RSSItem has an operation called toString that is used to express the contents of the RSSItem as HTML. So after the XML from the search operation is returned, it is parsed into an array of RSSItems. Each one of the RSSItem s toString functions is called by the test harness to display the results in HTML.
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Figure 9-14. Results of calling getSearchResults
Debugging Your Code with Visual Web Developer
You just ran your code in the test harness successfully the first time! Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen all the time. Nobody is perfect, so you need to know how to fix problems with your code. Fortunately, VWD has powerful debugging capabilities that you can use. The test harness doesn t have this capability. Errors can be displayed, but they won t help you much. Apparently, the Popfly team didn t spend a lot of time building a robust error reporting functionality. Errors like Object unidentified or Object not found don t help you track down where the problem is. To display errors in the test harness anyway, check the Show errors here check box. The first thing you need to do to debug your code using VWD is to enable debugging in Internet Explorer. You can do that by selecting Tools Internet Options. Click the Advanced
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