Getting and Showing Text in Elm

In this post, we’ll implement text input. Users will enter a text and we’ll show the same text back to them in a separate pane. Later, this pane will be used to show proofread suggestions.

The source code for this post is available in the 03-entering-and-showing-text folder in the elm-proofreading repository.

Entering Text

We’ll start by updating the model. I added text of type String, that will store the input text.

type alias Model =
    { text : String

Also let’s add a message that will occur when a user hits a keyboard.

type Msg
    = SetText String

Now for the view part. Instead of "Hello, World!" text, I’ll add textarea control. The signature of this function is the same with other basic HTML controls. This is a function that gets two parameters: a list of attributes and a list of children controls.

For textarea I specify two attributes:

  • onInput attribute specifies which message should occur when user types in a text;
  • value attribute gets the value to show in the control.

The view function now looks like this:

view : Model -> Html.Html Msg
view model =
    div []
        [ textarea [ onInput SetText, value model.text ] []

The last step is to process the message in the update function. The function will be called when a user types in text. We need to process the message and return a new model. We’ve got only one message and it will contain the new text value, which we use to update the text field in our model. Here’s the new update function:

update : Msg -> Model -> Model
update msg model =
    case msg of
        SetText text ->
            { model | text = text }

Now if we’ll run elm-reactor and navigate to our page, we’ll see the input area where we can type in text. textarea

Nothing fancy, but we’re making progress!

Showing Text

The last thing for today is to show typed in text in a separate pane. Let’s update our view function for that. I’ll add a div which will have text as a child:

view : Model -> Html.Html Msg
view model =
    div []
        [ textarea [ onInput SetText, value model.text ] []
        , div
            [ text model.text ]

It works, but there’s one problem—lines won’t break in the div by default: textarea and div

Fear not, as CSS is to the rescue in the next post.

Basic Elm App Structure
Embedding Elm App in Page