JavaScript utilities

This directory contains pure JavaScript utilities for data munging, datetime manipulation, and data display formatting. This document describes our coding standards for these utilities.

auto-generating API docs

We enforce the use of JSDoc comments within the src/utils/ directory with the require-jsdoc ESLint rule. To generate or update the Markdown file of auto-generated API documentation using jsdoc2md, run the following:

npm run apidocs src/utils/utilsfile.js > src/utils/apidocs/

For example:

npm run apidocs src/utils/datetime.js > src/utils/apidocs/

use of ES6 import and export

  • export each function individually:
    export function getTimezoneFromTimePrefs() {
  • unless you need to use a lot of the utilities from a module, it's also nice to import just what you need with de-structuring: import { getTimezoneFromTimePrefs } from './datetime';
  • do not use the export default

use of the moment API for datetime manipulation

We use moment-timezone when we need to do datetime manipulation involving an arbitrary timezone since neither JavaScript Date or D3 provide this functionality. We also try to only use moment where necessary, preferring JavaScript Date or D3 where one or the other is sufficient.

We are trying to move towards a standard in this repository of dealing with datetimes as hammertimes (milliseconds since January 1, 1970) as much as possible, rather than as ISO 8601-formatted Zulu timestamps in String format, as we've done in the past.

When you need to apply an arbitrary timezone to format a datetime for display, the initial construction of the moment object should look like this:

const d = moment.utc(hammertime);

See moment's documentation on 'UTC' mode for further details.

In particular, try to avoid moment(hammertime).utc(), as this will first create a representation of the hammertime in the browser's timezone/locale, then convert it back to offset-less UTC, an unnecessary step.

Also be sure to avoid moment().utc(hammertime) as this creates a new "moment" object representing the time of execution, then ignores the hammertime parameter to the utc() method!

We are also enforcing use of moment.utc() and disallowing moment().utc() with the help of an ESLint plugin.

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