6.4. XBlock Children

An XBlock can have child XBlocks.

6.4.1. XBlock Tree Structure

An XBlock does not refer directly to its children. Instead, the structure of a tree of XBlocks is maintained by the runtime application, and is made available to the XBlock through a runtime service. For more information, see XBlock Runtimes.

This allows the runtime to store, access, and modify the structure of a course without incurring the overhead of the XBlock code itself.

XBlock children are not implicitly available to their parents. The runtime provides the parent XBlock with a list of child XBlock IDs. The child XBlock can then be loaded with the get_child() function. Therefore the runtime can defer loading child XBlocks until they are actually required.

6.4.2. Accessing Children (Server-Side)

To access XBlock children through the server, use the following methods.

  • To iterate over the XBlock’s children, use self.get_children which returns the IDs for each child XBlock.

  • Then, to access a child XBlock, use self.get_child(usage_id) for your desired ID. You can then modify the child XBlock using its .save() method.

  • To render a given child XBlock, use self.runtime.render_child(usage_id).

  • To render all children for a given XBlock, use self.runtime.render_children().

  • To ensure the XBlock children are rendered correctly, add the fragment.content into the parent XBlock’s HTML file, then use fragment.add_frag_resources() (or .add_frags_resources(), to render all children). This ensures that the JavaScript and CSS of child elements are included.

6.4.3. Accessing Children (Client-Side)

To access XBlock children through the client, with JavaScript, use the following methods.

  • Use runtime.children(element), where element is the DOM node that contains the HTML representation of your XBlock’s server-side view. (runtime is automatically provided by the XBlock runtime.)

  • Similarly, you can use runtime.childMap(element, name) to get a child element that has a specific name.