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Syntax and meaning
The syntax of a service is best explained by means of examples. However, if you want to understand the syntax in detail, this section is what you are looking for.
A service specification has the following structure. It is identical for user interfaces (INTERFACE) and application programming interfaces (API).
INTERFACE <name> <forRoles>? : <term> <crud>? <view>? <subinterface>?
API <name> <forRoles>? : <term> <crud>? <view>? <subinterface>?
The name of a service must be unique within the context. The term defines the atoms to which the interface can be applied. The (optional) crud annotation constrains the possible interactions a user can do. The (optional) views determine what the service will look like. If no view is specified, the service will look like the screenshot above. Finally the sub-interface contains all the contents, i.e. the fields, field names and the constraints on them.
The hierarchy of boxes in a service comes from the following (recursive) syntax of <subinterface>.
A sub-interface may be defined on the spot (by <boxKey> <box>) or it may link to another service to reuse its structure:
<subinterface> ::= <boxKey> <box>
| LINKTO ( INTERFACE | API ) <name>
The boxKey is meant to tell the front-end application what the service looks like. The compiler uses templates to adapt an interface to specific needs regarding its HTML structure. Please read the documentation of templates for details.
<boxKey> ::= BOX '<' <htmlname> '>'
| BOX
If no htmlname is specified, Ampersand uses BOX <FORM> by default.
A box is simply a list of service items (ifcItem) separated by commas. Each service item specifies a field in the service or a sub-interface.
<box> ::= '[' <ifcItem> ( ',' <ifcItem> )* ']'
Each service item has a label that must be unique within the box. After the colon there is either a term or a text. The term specifies which data is related to the field it specifies if it has no sub-interface. If it does, it specifies the atoms on which the box is applied.
<ifcItem> ::= <label> ':' <term> <crud>? <view>? <subinterface>?
| <label> ':' <text>
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