Tutorial: Navigation


Navigation is an important role in a single page app as it needs to not only handle showing/hiding but also the context and history.

All Views have an id property. Knowing the id enables you to get a references to that View, and therefore it's show() function for navigation.

This guide assumes you have completed Argos-Template Guide. For all the exercises the id's of the views in argos-template are: account_list, account_detail and account_edit.

Navigation Options

Navigation Options, or sometimes called View Options, is the object passed into the show() call that get stored into the views options property. Many Views have custom navigation options that they respond to and they will be covered under their respective help pages, for now let's try out passing key to a Detail View.

1. Go back to the Home Screen, via refresh or pressing the Home button.

2. Back in the javascript console type: App.getView('account_detail').show({key: 'AGHEA0002677'}) and press enter.

3. You are shown the Template Inc Detail entry. Press Back or Home.

4. Now type in: App.getView('account_detail').show({key: 'AA2EK0013031'}) and press enter.

5. You are shown the Boilerplate Co Detail entry.

This is just one example of using navigation options to change the behavior of the new view being shown. In this case Detail Views look for the key property and make a data request for that key and shows the results in the Detail View.

Inspecting Home Navigation

We've used the commands in the console window, but let's take a peek at the existing logic in Home.js and MainToolbar.js for their uses of the same command.

1. Open products\argos-template\src\Views\Home.js in a text editor and find the createLayout function, ignore the top half and look for the for loop and the line where it's adding an object:

visible.children.push({ ... });

2. This line is adding each row and it's definition is very similar to tool items mentioned in the previous section. This structure will be a common recurring theme.

3. Note that the action property is set to navigateToView and view is set to the Views id property (see where this is going?) - scroll up to the navigateToView function.

4. NavigateToView is being passed params which has the view property pointing back to the views id. The rest of the code is the exact same command used in Exercise 1.

You may have used the Home button to return back to the main page, let's look at that next.

1. Open MailToolbar.js and find where it is defining the tools variable in the showTools function:

tools = (tools || []).concat([ ... ]);

2. This line is appending the back and home tool items to every view

3. Look at the home tool item definition at the fn property it's set directly to navigateToHomeView

4. NavigateToHome View is defined near the bottom and it uses a shortcut App.navigateToHomeView(), which if you follow it to the definition it reads:

navigateToHomeView: function() {
    var view = this.getView('home');
    if (view)

5. Which is the same code as before (as this is App).

Navigation within the app uses the same logic and commands that work from the console.

Navigation History

One of the main usability issues with HTML5 based apps is the lack of history context, always taking you to the base page or using funny URLs to work around the problem. Argos-SDK has a complete solution into storing, loading and using the navigation history to the fullest extent.

1. Open the app and click Accounts to be taken to the List View, then select an entry to be taken to the Detail View.

2. Now go to your javascript console and type: ReUI.context.history and press return.

3. Inspect the three objects within the array - it saves a lot of data about each page into the navigation history for context retrieval and navigation restoration.

4. Back in the app, click the Home button.

5. Run the same command in the console.

6. Note that the history has been "cleaned" to only show the Home View. The management system keeps the history trimmed to only the relevant tree path to recreate the navigation state.

If you think of breadcrumbs (World > Politics > 2012 > Article#1) on a news site for example the same theory is applied to the navigation history, in order to get to Article#1 it needs the context information from each step to get back there. If you were to click World then it doesn't need to step all the way down then back up so all the history in between gets removed.