Ember.js is an MVC framework for rich client side applications. It evolved out of SproutCore 2.0.

Let's dive in

Create a new rails app

rails new ember_tutorial --skip-bundle 

I'm telling rails to --skip-bundle because I'm going to be updating the Gemfile in the next step and then running bundle install

Update the Gemfile

I'm getting access to Ember.js with the ember-rails gem. Add the following to your Gemfile:

gem 'ember-rails', '~> 0.9.2'

Run bundle install which will pull down the dependancies from RubyGems. Then add the following line to app/assets/javascripts/application.js

//= require ember

Ember-rails will correctly use the production or development build of ember.js depending on what environment you're in.

Generate the directory structure

ember.js doesn't require a certain directory structure but there seems to be a convention forming around the following:


If you're coming from rails that might look familiar. Within the app directory rails has (amongst others):


Yehuda Katz is a member of both the rails core and ember.js core teams. I'm not sure if this convention stems directly from that relationship or not but it's certainly not the only simularity between the two frameworks that I've spotted.

ember-rails comes with a handy generator that allows us to bootstrap the desired directory stucture in app/assets/javascripts. Run rails g ember:bootstrap

What did that get us?

That command did a few things. First it updated app/assets/javascripts/application.js to include to include the following

//= require ember-data
//= require appName
AppName = Ember.Application.create();

Second it created app/assets/javascripts/appName.js which includes the following lines:

//= require ./store
//= require_tree ./models
//= require_tree ./controllers
//= require_tree ./views
//= require_tree ./helpers
//= require_tree ./templates
//= require ./router
//= require_tree ./routes
//= require_self

This basically encapsulates all the ember.js javascript files within this appName.js file.

Third it created two more files in app/assets/javascripts/:


And what is in all those files?

Let's inspect each one to find out.

Quick tangent #1 - .extend()

Ember.js allows extending/subclassing Objects in an attempt to bring sanity to javascript's prototypal nature. When you see .extend({}) that's what's happening.

Now back to what's in the files.


appName.ApplicationController = Ember.Controller.extend({});


appName.ApplicationRoute = Ember.Route.extend({});


<p>Your content here.</p>


appName.ApplicationView = Ember.View.extend({});


appName.Router.map(function() {});


appName.Store = DS.Store.extend({
    revision: 11

Quick tangent #2 - Router

Ember.js adds a new element to the traditional MVC makeup. They call this a Router.

The idea is that human visible/editable URLs are a strength of webapps that native apps do not enjoy. Users are able to share URLs to friends which basically let's them share the state of their app.

Using a Router you map every single state of your app to a URL which allows the sharing of deep state.

What does it all mean?

The main take away is that we're getting a controller, route and view which extend come core ember.js objects. We're also getting stub handlebars template, router, and store.

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08 February 2013