335: Code’s a Drag

There are lots of types of dragging that can happen on websites. While they are all click (or tap), hold down, move, and let go, they are all quite a bit different. For instance:

Drag files/folders onto the browser window and drop them. The likely use case there is uploading.
Drag an element on the screen to another (valid) area of the screen. The likely use case is dragging cards from one column to another
Drag the position of an element. The likely use case is dividers between different areas.

There are native APIs for dragging stuff on the web, and it’s nice to use them when you can as that means not relying on potentially hefty JavaScript libraries. And yet, the native APIS are fairly limited, and the JavaScript libraries that exist for this stuff are pretty darn nice.

We use Filestack for file uploading. There are lots of incentives there, like them staying on top of the latest and greatest in browser tech around this stuff rather than us having to. Back when we switched to this, we got mobile uploading support overnight, for example. For drag-elements-to-other-areas we use react-beautiful-dnd, which is a pretty darn nice library for that, especially since we’re using React anyway. Interestingly, as robust as react-beautiful-dnd is, it doesn’t really support position-dragging at all. Just not what it’s built for. So for that, we’ve gone back to the trenches to write our own componentry, which is a delicate balance of JavaScript event-powered and CSS behind it that supports the changes.

Time Jumps

00:26 Dragging (on) CodePen

01:04 How the browser works with drag and drop

05:52 iFrame bugs with drag and drop

08:29 Sponsor: WordPress.com

09:02 Kanban style drag and drop in the browser

15:49 Triggering a drag event

23:56 Lack of support for dragging

28:12 Dealing with Grid

Sponsor: WordPress.com

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