Updating Catalog to React

Surveyor
5 7 1,045

Hey everyone,

The front end of Catalog was constructed mostly in a JavaScript (JS) framework called Ember that was popular around the time Catalog was originally being built. Ember has some inherent downsides that can make it difficult for our engineers to work with, and we would like to eventually move Catalog over to a more modern framework called React. This will happen over time.

This is potentially impactful for Catalog users who are using custom JS in the admin portion of Catalog. If you’re not using custom JS, the changes will go largely unnoticed. To help those who are using custom JS, I want to outline our strategy for making this change.

Going forward, any feature work that we do on a particular page in Catalog will begin with us rebuilding that page in React. For example, we are planning on adding a date range filter to the reports page, as well as make individual Catalog reports exportable. Before these features will be added, we’ll be rewriting that page in React.

Rewriting Catalog in React will pay big dividends going forward. It allows us to much more easily add new features down the road as well as use assets from Canvas, thereby improving consistency between the two platforms and further speeding up development.

I’ll post in the community whenever a page rewrite is coming. For regions where a beta is available, the rewrite will be on beta for 3 weeks before going to production. The first of these changes is going to beta as part of the March 11th release, which will be a rewrite for the revenue report pages.

Again, for most customers this as well as future rewrites will happen transparently.

7 Comments
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Thanks, jfenton@instructure.com‌ for the update. Will we still be able to use our customizations at all on the frontend?

Surveyor

Great question! Yes customization will still be allowed. And nothing will change for customizations that are on the main, customer facing catalog pages. Only the administrative pages are being rewritten. 

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Great! So, just to clarify...he storefront front facing page will not be touched just the admin pages and the student dashboard where some people covered the drop button will be worked on?

Surveyor

Correct, the store front portion will not be touched, nor will the student dashboard page. Just the admin pages. 

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Thank you for clarifying. 

Explorer III
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

jfenton@instructure.com‌ - Will there be an update sent about this once the work is complete?

About the Author
I worked at an Ed-Tech startup before joining Instructure and am now part of the Canvas product team. When not spending time with my family I can be found reading or playing board games.