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DoneJS is comprised of many projects that are documented separately. This page contains overviews of each project and links to their official APIs.

Application Infrastructure

The blue boxes in the following architecture diagram represent modules provided by DoneJS.


DoneJS provides many aspects of JavaScript application tooling, shown in the diagram below.

Application flow overview

Lets talk about how the typical behavior of a DoneJS application works. We'll use the chat application as an example in development. We'll cover what happens when:

  • A user navigates their browser from a different domain to https://chat.donejs.com/
  • A user navigates from https://chat.donejs.com/ to another https://chat.donejs.com/chat.

First page load

  1. An http request for https://chat.donejs.com/ is sent to a node server. The node server is configured, in this case with express, to use done-ssr-middleware to render a DoneJS application:

    var ssr = require('done-ssr-middleware');
    app.use('/', ssr());
  2. done-ssr uses steal to load the application's main module which results in loading the entire application. Loading the application only happens once for all page requests.

    A DoneJS's main module is specified where all configuration of a DoneJS application happens, its package.json. The main module is usually a can-stache template processed with the done-autorender plugin. The module name is specified like: index.stache!done-autorender. index.stache might look like:

      <title>My Site</title>
      <can-import from="styles.less"/>
      <can-import from="donejs-chat/app" export-as="viewModel" />
      <script src="node_modules/steal/steal.js" main="index.stache!done-autorender"></script>

    The done-autorender plugin, in NodeJS, exports this template so it can be rendered.

  3. Once done-ssr has the done-autorender's template and viewModel export it:

    1. Creates a new instance of the viewModel, setting properties on it using can-route's routing rules.
    2. Creates a new virtual DOM instance.
    3. Renders the template with the viewModel into the virtual DOM instance.
    4. done-autorender templates waits for all promises to complete before providing a final result. Once the template is finished rendering, done-ssr converts it to a string and sends it back to the browser.
    5. The browser downloads the page's HTML, which includes a <script> tag that points to steal.
    <script src="node_modules/steal/steal.js" main></script>

    In development, this loads steal.js which then loads index.stache and processes it with the done-autorender.

  4. In the browser, done-autorender:

    1. Creates a new instance of the viewModel, setting properties on it using can-route's routing rules.
    2. Renders the template with the viewModel into a document fragment.
    3. Once all asynchronous activity has completed, it replaces the document with the rendered result.

Pushstate change

  1. A pushstate is triggered by user action, usually by clicking a link. can-route's routing rules determines the properties set on the application viewModel.

    route.register('{page}', { page: 'home' });
  2. done-autorender previously bound the AppViewModel to can-route which causes any change in the route to be reflected in the ViewModel instance.

  3. Live binding causes the initial template to reflect in the change in route. If the new route is /chat it will cause the page to be chat:

      <title>My Site</title>
      <can-import from="styles.less"/>
      <can-import from="donejs-chat/app" export-as="viewModel" />
      <script src="node_modules/steal/steal.js" main></script>

CLI and Generators

After installing DoneJS globally with npm install donejs -g you will have the donejs command available on the command line. It lets you initialize a new application and - when navigating within a DoneJS project - run scripts provided locally by your application. Within your application folder the donejs command is a convenience wrapper for the functionality described below and you can also get a list of all commands by running

donejs help

npm scripts

npm scripts are defined in the scripts section of your applications package.json. There are some standard scripts that every Node application uses (like npm start or npm test - both of which are already set up for you) and you can add your own which is what DoneJS does with commands like npm run develop or npm run build. The donejs command makes running those commands easier by allowing you to run them like donejs start, donejs develop or donejs build


donejs add lets you run the Yeoman generators provided by generator-donejs. Currently the following generators are available:

  • donejs add app [folder] which will initialize a new application (optionally within the given folder)
  • donejs add component <modulename> <tagname> to create a new can-component
  • donejs add supermodel <modulename> to generate a new model
  • donejs add plugin [folder] which will initialize a new plugin project
  • donejs add generator [folder] which will initialize a new generator project

Third-party generators

If donejs add can’t find a built-in generator, e.g. when running donejs add mygenerator, DoneJS will try to install the donejs-mygenerator package from npm and run the Yeoman generators it provides. This is how we can enable a desktop application build of the application by simply running:

donejs add electron

Which will install the donejs-electron package and then run its generator, which initializes everything you need. This also works for adding a mobile application build using donejs-cordova like this:

donejs add cordova

This way you can use DoneJS’s growing list of plugins and generators without having to add anything to your application that you don't use.


The base of any good JavaScript application is its dependency management system.
DoneJS uses StealJS which itself is split into two sub-projects:

  • steal - loads CommonJS, ES6, and AMD modules. It can also load styles, templates and more.
  • steal-tools - builds your application's modules for production and also provides hot-module-swapping.


To use steal, simply add a script tag to steal.js in an HTML page or in a done-autorender template and point the main attribute to a module to load like:

<script src="../../node_modules/steal/steal.js" main="my-app/my-module"></script>

Using the default DoneJS system.directories.lib configuration, this will load my-app/src/my-module.js. From there, use CommonJS, ES6, or AMD to load your modules:

// my-app/src/my-module.js
import $ from "jquery";
import "./styles.css";


If an import, require or define module reference ends with "/", is a shorthand for importing a module in the modlet format. The moduleName imported is the same as the module reference, but with the last folder name added again.

Some examples:

// in components/person module.
import "can-component"; //imports "can-component";
import "./edit/"; // imports "components/person/edit/edit";

Configure steal's behavior in your package.json in the steal object like:

// package.json
  "main": "index.stache!done-autorender",
  "steal": {
    "meta": {
      "ui/core": {
        "deps": [


In DoneJS applications, steal-tools is primarily used to:

It can also be used to export your modules to different formats.

DoneJS comes with a build.js script that call's steal-tools' build:

var stealTools = require("steal-tools");

var buildPromise = stealTools.build({
  config: __dirname + "/package.json!npm"
}, {
  bundleAssets: true

This is already configured to run with:

> donejs build

But you could also run it with:

> node build.js

Hot module swapping is done with live-reload which is bundled within steal-tools.

By default donejs develop starts the live-reload server. However, you could start one yourself with:

> steal-tools live-reload


CanJS provides:

Observables act as the ViewModel and part of the Model.

One-way and two-way binding templates act as the View.

can-component is used to combine View and ViewModel into easy to instantiate and assemble custom elements.

Checkout the following quick examples of their use:


// Observable objects:
var person = new DefineMap({first: "Justin", last: "Meyer"});

// Observable arrays:
var hobbies =  new DefineList(["basketball", "hip-hop dancing"]);

// Observable single values:
var age = compute(33);

// Observable computed values:
var info = compute(function(){
  return person.first + " " + person.last + " is " +
    age() + " and likes " + hobbies.join(",") + ".";

// Get the compute's value
info() //-> Justin Meyer is 33 and likes\
       //   basketball, hip-hop dancing.

// Listen to changes in the compute
info.bind("change", function(ev, newValue){
  newValue //-> Justin Meyer is 33 and likes\
           //   basketball, hip-hop dancing.

hobbies.pop(); // causes `change` event above

one and two-way binding templates:

// Programmatically create a template
// `value:bind` cross binds the input's value
// to `first` in the scope.
var template = stache("<h1>{{first}}</h1>"+
    "<input value:bind='first'/>");

// Create observable data for the template
var person = new DefineMap({first: "Payal"});

// Render the template with data
var frag = template(person);

// Add the result to the document

// Document shows rendered result
document.body //-> <h1>Payal</h1><input value='Payal'/>

// ... User changes the input's value to "Ramiya" ...

// Document is updated with changes
document.body //-> <h1>Ramiya</h1><input value='Ramiya'/>

custom elements:

// Create a custom `can-define/map/map` constructor function
// with a helper function.
var PersonEditViewModel = DefineMap.extend({
  first: "string",
  last: "string",
  fullName: function(){
    return this.first + " " + this.last;

// Create a template that will be rendered within
// `<person-edit>` elements.
var template = stache(`
  Update {{fullName}}:
    <input value:bind='first'>
    <input value:bind='last'>

// Create the `<person-edit>` element with the specified
// viewModel and template (view).
  tag: "person-edit",
  ViewModel: PersonEditViewModel,
  view: view

// Use that custom element within another template.
// `first.bind` cross binds `<person-edit>`'s
// `first` property to `firstName` in the scope.
var parentTemplate = stache(`
  <h1>{{firstName}} {{lastName}}</h1>
  <person-edit first:bind='firstName' last:bind='lastName'>

// Render the parent template with some data:
var frag = parentTemplate(new DefineMap({
  firstName: "Brian",
  lastName: "Moschel"



can-define is used to create observable JavaScript Object-like objects. Create an instance of the base can-define/map/map like:

var person = new DefineMap({first: "Justin", last: "Meyer"});

Read or write a map's properties:

person.first //-> Justin

person.first = "Ramiya";
person.get() //-> {first: "Ramiya", last: "Meyer"}

person.first = "Brian";
person.last = "Moschel";
person.get() //-> {first: "Brian", last: "Moschel"}

Bind to changes in a person's properties with .on:

person.on("first", function(ev, newValue, oldValue){
  newValue //-> "Laura"
  oldvalue //-> "Brian"

// changing `first` causes the function
// call above.
person.first = "Laura";

Extend a DefineMap to create a new constructor function. This is very useful for creating Models and View Models:

// pass extend an object of prototype values
var Person = DefineMap.extend({
  first: "string",
  last: "string",
  fullName: function(){
    person.first + " " + person.last;

var me = new Person({first: "Kathrine", last: "Iannuzzi"});
me.fullName() //-> "Kathrine Iannuzzi"

The can-define allows you to control the behavior of attributes. You can define default values, getters, setters, and type converters.

var Todo = DefineMap.extend({
  percentComplete: {
    default: 0.1,
    type: "number",
    get: function(value){
      return ""+value+"%"
    set: function(newValue){
      return newValue*100;

var todo = new Todo();
todo.percentComplete //-> 10%

You can even describe asynchronous behavior which is critical for working with service data:

var Todo = DefineMap.extend({
  ownerId: "number",
  owner: {
    get: function(lastSetValue, resolve){
      User.get({id: this.ownerId}).then(resolve);

todo = new Todo({ownerId: 5});

// async values only become valid when bound
// this isn't a problem because templates usually bind for you
todo.on("owner", function(ev, owner){
  owner //-> a User instance


can-define/list/list is used to create observable JavaScript Array-like objects. Create an instance of the base DefineList like:

var hobbies = new DefineList(["basketball","dancing"]);

Read and write items from the list or to read the length:

for(var i = 0, len = hobbies.length; i < len; i++){
  var hobby = hobbies.get(i);
hobbies.set(1, "hip hop dancing");
hobbies.get() //-> ["basketball", "dancing"]

Use array methods like .push, .pop, and .splice to modify the array:


hobbies.generated() //-> ["basketball"];


hobbies //-> DefineList["basketball","football"]

Use .forEach, .map, or .filter to loop through the array. All these methods return a DefineList

var intramurals = hobbies.map(function(hobby){
  return "intramural "+hobby;
intramurals //-> DefineList["intramural basketball",
                          "intramural football"]

Listen to when a list changes by binding on add or remove or length events.

hobbies.on("add", function(ev, newHobbies, index){
    console.log("added", newHobbies,"at", index);
  .on("remove", function(ev, removedHobbies, index){
    console.log("removed", newHobbies,"at", index);
  .on("length", function(ev, newVal, oldVal){
    console.log("length is", newVal);

hobbies.splice(1,1,"pumpkin carving","gardening");
  // console.logs:
  //     removed [football] 1
  //     added ["pumpkin carving","gardening"] 1
  //     length is 3

By default, if you initialize a list with plain JavaScript objects, those objects are converted to a DefineMap:

var people = new DefineList([
  {first: "Justin", last: "Meyer", age: 72},
  {first: "David", last: "Luecke", age: 20},
  {first: "Matthew", last: "Phillips", age: 30}

people.get(0).first //-> Justin

You can create your own custom DefineList constructor functions by extending DefineList:

var People = DefineList.extend({
  seniors: function(){
    return this.filter(function(person){
      return person.age >= 65

var people = new People([
  {first: "Justin", last: "Meyer", age: 72},
  {first: "David", last: "Luecke", age: 20},
  {first: "Matthew", last: "Phillips", age: 30}

people.seniors() //-> People[{Justin}]

When extending DefineList you can specify the default Map type that's created when plain JS objects are added to the list:

var Person = can.Map.extend({
  fullName: function(){
    person.first + " " + person.last;

var People = DefineList.extend({
  "#": Person
  seniors: function(){
    return this.filter(function(person){
      return person.age >= 65

var people = new People([
  {first: "Justin", last: "Meyer", age: 72},
  {first: "David", last: "Luecke", age: 20},
  {first: "Matthew", last: "Phillips", age: 30}

people.get(0).fullName() //-> "Justin Meyer"


can-compute isn't used directly much anymore. However, it's used heavily in can-define getters and live binding so it's worth understanding the basics.

can-compute allows you to define single observable values like:

var age = compute(33);

or derived values like:

var person = new DefineMap({first: "Justin", last: "Meyer"}),
    hobbies =  new DefineList(["basketball", "hip-hop dancing"]);

var info = compute(function(){
  return person.first + " " + person.last + " is " +
    age() + " and likes " + hobbies.join(",") + ".";

Read a compute by calling it like a function:

info() //-> "Justin Meyer is 33 and likes\
       //    basketball, hip-hop dancing."

Listen to a compute by binding on its change event:

info.on("change", function(ev, newVal, oldVal){
  console.log("IS:\n",newVal,"\nWAS:\n", oldVal);

Internally, on runs the compute function, identifying what observable values it reads, and listening to them. It caches the return result so that reading the compute again like info() just returns the cached result.

When any of the read observables change, it updates the cached value, and calls back any event handlers:

person.first = "Brian";
person.last = "Moschel";

//  console.logs:
//  IS:
//  Brian Moschel is 33 and likes basketball, hip-hop dancing.
//  WAS:
//  Justin Meyer is 33 and likes basketball, hip-hop dancing.


can-stache is a Handlebars and Mustache compliant live-binding templating language.

Create a template programmatically with can-stache like:

var template = stache("<h1>{{first}} {{last}}</h1>");

template is a renderer function that, when called with observable data, returns a DocumentFragment that is updated when the observable data changes.

Add those fragments to the page to see the result:

var person = new DefineMap({first: "Brian", last: "Moschel"})

var frag = template(person);


document.body //-> <h1>Brian Moschel</h1>

person.first = "Ramiya";
person.last = "Meyer";

document.body //-> <h1>Ramiya Meyer</h1>

In a DoneJS application, templates are used primarily as part of a can-component or as the done-autorendered main template.

When used in a can-component, the templates are often put in their own file. For example, a person_edit.js component file might have a person_edit.stache file like:

// person_edit.stache
Update {{fullName}}:
<input value:bind='first'/>
<input value:bind='last'/>

This template's renderer function is imported in person_edit.js like:

// person_edit.js
import template from "./person_edit.stache";
import Component from "can-component";

  tag: "person-edit",
  template: template

can-stache template behavior is controlled by what's within magic tags like {{ }}. There are different tag types, lots of helper functions, and different ways to call methods and functions.

There's too much to cover so we will highlight the important APIs.

The different tag types:

  • {{key}} - inserts an escaped value.

    stache("{{key}}")({key: "<b>Foo</b>"}) //-> `&lt;b&gt;Foo&lt;/b&gt;`
  • {{{key}}} - inserts an unescaped value.

    stache("{{key}}")({key: "<b>Foo</b>"}) //-> `<b>Foo</b>`
  • {{#key}} ... {{/key}} - renders a subsection depending on the value of the key.

    // boolean values render the subsection or its inverse
    stache("{{#key}}A{{/key}}")({key: true}) //-> `A`
    stache("{{#key}}A{{/key}}")({key: false}) //-> ``
    stache("{{#key}}A{{else}}B{{/key}}")({key: false}) //-> `B`
    // iterative values render the subsection for each value
    stache("{{#key}}A{{/key}}")({key: [null,0]}) //-> `AA`
    stache("{{#key}}A{{/key}}")({key: []}) //-> ``

    The subsection is rendered with the key value as the top of the scope:

    stache("{{#key}}{{child}}{{/key}}")({key: {child:"C"}}) //->`C`
  • {{^key}} ... {{/key}} - opposite of {{#key}}.

    stache("{{^key}}A{{/key}}")({key: true}) //-> ``
    stache("{{^key}}A{{/key}}")({key: false}) //-> `A`
    stache("{{^key}}A{{/key}}")({key: [null,0]}) //-> ``
    stache("{{^key}}A{{else}}B{{/key}}")({key: false}) //-> `B`

The following are stache's most commonly used helpers:

  • {{#if expr}} .. {{/if}} - renders the subsection if the expr is truthy.

    stache("{{#if key}}A{{/if}}")({key: true}) //-> `A`
    stache("{{#if key}}A{{/if}}")({key: false}) //-> ``
    stache("{{#if key}}A{{else}}B{{/if}}")({key: false}) //-> `B`
  • {{#is expr1 expr2}} ... {{/is}} - compares two expressions and renders a subsection depending on the result.

    stache("{{#is page 'A'}}A{{/is}}")({page: 'A'}) //-> `A`
    stache("{{#is page 'A'}}A{{/is}}")({page: 'B'}) //-> ``
    stache("{{#is page 'A'}}A{{else}}C{{/is}}")({page: 'C'}) //-> `B`
  • {{#each key}} ... {{/each}} - renders a subsection for each item in a key's value.

    stache('{{#each hobbies}}<p>{{.}}</p>{{/each}}')(['Hockey', 'Hiking']) //-> `<p>Hockey</p><p>Hiking</p>`

    If the value of a key is a DefineList only the minimum amount of DOM updates occur when the list changes.

  • {{routeUrl hashes}} - generates a url using can-route for the provided hashes.

    stache("<a href="{{routeUrl page='details' id='23'}}">{{name}}</a>")({name: 'Item 23'}) //-> `<a href="#!&page=details&id=23">Item 23</a>`

Call methods in your scope like: {{method(value)}}

stache('<p>10 {{pluralize("Baloon" 10)}}</p>')({
  pluralize: function(subject, howMany) {
    if(howMany > 1) {
      subject += 's';
    return subject;
}); //-> "<p>10 Baloons</p>"


can-stache-bindings allows you to bind to viewModel or DOM events and create one-way or two-way bindings on element's properties/attributes, can-component viewModels and can-stache's scope.

Create a one-way binding from the parent scope to a child's properties/attributes or viewModel:

  • childProp:from="value" - One-way bind name in the scope to userName property on the viewModel or the value attribute on the input element.
  <my-component userName:from="name"></my-component>

  <input value:from="name" type="text">

Create a one-way binding from the child's properties/attributes or viewModel to the parent scope:

  • childProp:to="name" - One-way bind the value of userName property on the viewModel or the value attribute on the input element to the name property in the parent scope.

    <my-component userName:to="name"></my-component>
    <input value:to="name" type="text">

Create two-way bindings between the parent scope and the child's viewModel or property/attributes:

  • propName:bind="value" - Two-way bind the value of userName property in the viewModel or value attribute on the input element to the name in the parent scope.

    <my-component userName:bind="name"></my-component>
    <input value:bind="name" type="text">

Create bindings to viewModel or DOM events:

  • on:EVENT="handler()" - Listen to the DOM event or viewModel EVENT and use handler as the event handler.

Listen to the click event emitted by a DOM element:

<div on:click="updateThing()"></my-component>

Listen to the show event emitted by the viewModel, vm:

<my-component on:show="showTheThing()"></my-component>


can-component lets you create widgets with well-defined View Models and are instantiated with custom elements.

Define a can-component by extending one with a tag name, can-define viewModel and can-stache template like:

// Define the view model
var HelloViewModel = DefineMap.extend({
  excitedMessage: function(){
    return this.attr("message")+"!"

  tag: "hello-world",
  ViewModel: HelloViewModel,
  view: stache("<h1>{{excitedMessage}}</h1>")

To instantiate this component so it says Hello World!, add a <hello-world> element to the page like:

<hello-world message="Hello World"/>

Use can-stache-bindings to send a value from the can-stache scope like:

// a `DefineMap` that will be available in the scope
var appViewModel = new DefineMap({
  greeting: "Howdy Planet"

var template = stache('<hello-world message:from="greeting"/>');

var frag = template(appViewModel);

frag //-> <hello-world message:from="greeting">
     //      <h1>Howdy Planet!</h1>
     //   </hello-world>

can-components are usually built as modlets, meaning their template and styles are another file and imported:

// hello-world.js
import Component from 'can-component';
import Map from 'can-define/map/map';
import './hello-world.less';
import view from './hello-world.stache';

export const ViewModel = Define.extend({
  message: "string",
  excitedMessage: function(){
    return this.message+"!"

export default Component.extend({
  tag: "hello-world",
  ViewModel: ViewModel,

Some components are so small, they they don't require three separate files. For these, you can use a .component file:

<!-- hello-world.component -->
<can-component tag="<%= tag %>">
  <style type="less">
    display: block;
    import DefineMap from 'can-define/map/map';

    export default DefineMap.extend({
      message: "string",
      excitedMessage: function(){
        return this.message+"!"


can-route provides powerful 2-way, nested, routing to your application, supporting both hash and pushstate.

Configure routing rules to define property values on your application's View Model when a url is matched.

The following sets the application ViewModel's page property to "chat" when the url looks like /chat:


You can define defaults that get set when {page} is empty. The following sets the default page property to "home".

route.register("{page}", { page: "home" });

You can specify multiple properties to set for a given url:


Update the url by changing can-route:

route.attr("page", "restaurants");
// location.href -> "/restaurants"

Or change route by modifying the url:

history.pushState(null, null, "/");
// route.attr("page"); // -> "home"

In a DoneJS application can.route is bound to the application View Model, but you can connect can-route to other maps:

var DefineMap = require("can-define/map/map");

var AppViewModel = DefineMap.extend({

var viewModel = new AppViewModel();

route.data = viewModel;

Which will cause any changes in the route to reflect in the View Model instance, and any changes in the View Model instance to reflect in the route.

Data Layer APIs


can-realtime-rest-model is used to connect typed data to backend services. In a DoneJS application, that typed data is a can-define/map/map and can-define/list/list type.

To make a simple connection to a restful interface:

// First, create custom Map and List type
var Todo = DefineMap.extend({
  ownerId: "number",
  canComplete: function(ownerId) {
    return this.ownerId === ownerId;

var TodoList = DefineList.extend({
  "*": Todo
  incomplete: function(){
    return this.filter(function(todo){
      return !todo.complete;

// Then, make a connection with the right behaviors and options.
var todoConnection = realtimeRestModel({
  Map: Todo,
  List: TodoList,
  url: "/services/todos"

This adds a getList, .get, .save and .destroy methods to Todo allowing you to CRUD Todos and TodoLists from the service layer like:

// Get a list of todos
Todo.getList({due: "today"}).then(function(todos){ ... });

// Get a single todo
Todo.get({id: 5}).then(function(todo){ ... });

// Create a todo
var todo = new Todo({name: "dishes"})

// Create it on the server

  // Update its properties
  todo.name = "Do the dishes";
  // Update the service layer with changes

    // Delete the todo on  the service layer

can-connect comes with a wide variety of behaviors that can be mixed into a connection. Examples include:

To make the process of creating can.Map based connections easier, DoneJS comes with a supermodel generator creates a super-map.

A realtime rest model is just a connection with a bunch of the mostly commonly used behaviors. Create one with the superMap function like:

export const messageConnection = realtimeRestModel({
  url: "/services/todos",
  Map: Todo,
  List: TodoList,
  name: 'todo'


can-query-logic is used to define the rules of an API service, in order to compare queries that are represented by the parameters commonly passed to service requests.

For example, if you want all todos for user 5 that are complete, you might call:

Todo.getList({ filter: { userId: 5, complete: true } })

{userId: 5, complete: true} represents a set. Using can-query-logic we can compare it to other sets. The following returns true because {userId: 5, complete: true} represents a subset of {userId: 5}.

queryLogic.isSubset({filter:{userId: 5, complete: true}}, {userId: 5}); // -> true

Behind the scenes can-query-logic uses can-set which can perform more complex logic with custom set Algebras.

The following creates a set-algebra that is able to combine ranges:

// Create a set Algebra
var algebra = new set.Algebra(

// use it
algebra.union({start: 1, end: 10},
              {start: 11, end: 20}) //-> {start: 1, end: 20}

In a DoneJS application, you create custom query logics to pass to realtime rest model connections. The connection's behaviors use that querylogic to their optimizations.

Testing APIs


QUnit is DoneJS's default JavaScript unit testing framework. It is provided for DoneJS by the steal-qunit project. A basic unit test for a can.Component view-model looks like this:

import QUnit from 'steal-qunit';
import { ViewModel } from 'my/component/';

// ViewModel unit tests

QUnit.test('Has message', function(){
  var vm = new ViewModel();
  QUnit.equal(vm.message, 'This is the my-component component');

While the generators create QUnit tests by default you can switch your own tests easily to Jasmine or Mocha. To use Mocha instead for the previous view-model example we just need to install the wrapper with

npm install steal-mocha --save-dev
npm install assert --save-dev

And then change the test file to:

import mocha from 'steal-mocha';
import assert from 'assert';
import { ViewModel } from 'my/component/';


// ViewModel unit tests
describe('my/component', function() {
  it('Has a message', function() {
    var vm = new ViewModel();
    assert.equal(vm.message, 'This is the my-component component');


FuncUnit enhances QUnit, Mocha or Jasmine and enables them to simulate user actions, easily test asynchronous behavior, and support black box testing. It uses a jQuery-like syntax to write functional or unit tests. When generating an application, DoneJS already includes a basic FuncUnit smoke-test which runs alongside the other tests. It looks like this:

import F from 'funcunit';
import QUnit from 'steal-qunit';


QUnit.module('my-app functional smoke test', {
  beforeEach() {

QUnit.test('my-app main page shows up', function() {
  F('title').text('my-app', 'Title is set');

This will open the main application (development.html is the HTML file that loads our DoneJS app without server-side-rendering) and ensures that the <title> is set to the name (which is the default in a newly generated application). To learn more about the user interactions and assertions available, follow up in the FuncUnit API documentation.


Testee is a JavaScript test runner that can run your QUnit, Mocha and Jasmine tests from the command line. The command executed when running donejs test (which is the same as running npm test) is located in the package.json scripts section and already set up to run the main test suite in Firefox like this:

testee src/test.html --browsers firefox --reporter Spec

To change the browsers that our tests run on we can update the list of browsers, for example to add Safari and Google Chrome Canary by changing the test script to:

testee src/test.html --browsers firefox,canary,safari --reporter Spec

Testee supports all Mocha command line reporters. For example, running the tests in the default browser PhantomJS (DoneJS only works with PhantomJS >= 2.0) on a Jenkins CI server that uses XUnit output from a testresults.xml can be accomplished like this:

testee src/test.html --reporter XUnit > testresults.xml

For more configuration options follow up in the Testee documentation.


When working on large applications keeping updated documentation is critical. DocumentJS generates API documentation for your application supporting JSDoc syntax that can be multi-versioned.


DocumentJS is configured with a docConfig specified in a documentjs.json file within your project:

  "sites": {
    "docs": {
      "dest": "docs",
      "glob" : "**/*.{js,md}"

This specifies to look in JavaScript and Markdown files for jsdoc tags. When ran the documentation will be written to the docs folder.


DocumentJS includes most tags you need to document a web application and includes an API to create your own.

Here's how you would document a can-component View Model:

 * @add order/new
export const ViewModel = Define.extend({
   * @property {String} slug
   * The restaurants slug (short name). Will
   * be used to request the actual restaurant.
  slug: {
    type: 'string'
   * @property {place-my-order/models/order} order
   * The order that is being processed. Will
   * be an empty new order inititally.
  order: {
    Default: Order
   * @property {can.Deferred} saveStatus
   * A deferred that contains the status of the order when
   * it is being saved.
  saveStatus: {
    Default: Object
   * @property {Boolean} canPlaceOrder
   * A flag to enable / disable the "Place my order" button.
  canPlaceOrder: {
    get() {
      let items = this.order.items;
      return items.length;

   * @function placeOrder
   * Save the current order and update the status Deferred.
   * @return {boolean} false to prevent the form submission
  placeOrder() {
    let order = this.order;
    this.saveStatus = order.save();
    return false;

   * @function startNewOrder
   * Resets the order form, so a new order can be placed.
   * @return {boolean} false to prevent the form submission
  startNewOrder: function() {
    this.order = new Order();
    this.saveStatus = null;
    return false;


DoneJS preconfigures your app to be documented with:

donejs document

Or you can run the documentjs command directly with:




jQuery is the ubiquitous DOM manipulation library. While you don't often need to write jQuery directly, CanJS is built making it safe to use jQuery when needed.

For example, you can make your own custom elements that call jQuery plugins:

callbacks.tag("tooltip", function(el){
    content: el.getAttribute("content"),
    items: "tooltip"

can-stache-bindings lets you listen to jQuery special events like:

<div on:tripleclick="doSomething()">

can-component's events object also supports this:

  events: {
    "li tripleclick": function(li, ev){ ... }

CanJS adds special inserted, removed, and attributes events. This allows you to teardown any behavior when the DOM is modified:

$(el).bind("removed", function(){

CanJS's live-binding also hooks into these same events. So if you remove an element with jQuery, CanJS will also teardown its bindings. This means that if you were to call:



jQuery++ adds a bunch of special events and other DOM utilties to jQuery.

  • DOM utilities
    • animate - Overwrites jQuery.animate to use CSS3 animations if possible.
    • compare - Compare the position of two elements in the page.
    • range - Manipulate text ranges.
    • within - Get the elements within a specified area.
  • Special events
    • drag / drop - drag drop events.
    • hover - hover events.
    • key - get a string representation of the key pressed.
    • resize - listen to when an element changes size.
    • swipe - mobile swipe events.

Server Side Rendering APIs


done-ssr enables DoneJS applications to be server-side rendered. Paired with done-autorender it allows you to render the entire document from a single template.

var http = require("http");
var ssr = require("done-ssr");
var render = ssr();

var server = http.createServer(function(request, response){


The render function is called with a string url to render and returns a response object that contains the html string that was rendered. Use any Node-based http framework with done-ssr.

For convenience we have published an Express middleware:

var ssr = require("done-ssr-middleware");
var app = require("express")();

  config: __dirname + "/package.json!npm"

Additionally DoneJS has done-serve which acts as a rendering front-end for your application. It will host static content, render your application, and proxy requests to another back-end server.

done-serve --proxy http://localhost:7070 --port 8080


done-autorender is a Steal plugin that enables using a can.stache template as your application's entry point. Create a template like:

  <title>app | {{page}}</title>
  <can-import from="app/state" export-as="viewModel"/>

  <div>Hello {{name}}</div>

done-autorender will insert this template on page load. The can-import tag with the export-as="viewModel" attribute is a can-define/map/map that acts as the View Model for the application.

If you have live-reload enabled done-autorender will additionally use those APIs to re-render the application when any modules are reloaded.

done-autorender handles requests when running in Node for server-side rendering and will wait for all asynchronous events to complete.


can-simple-dom is a minimal virtual DOM implementation used for server-side and worker thread rendering. It contains enough of the DOM APIs to get basic jQuery usage to work, as well as what is typical of CanJS applications.

If you are working on an advanced plugin you might use can-simple-dom directly, in which case you would import it:

import simpleDOM from "can-simple-dom";

const document = new simpleDOM.Document();

From here document has the normal DOM apis such as document.createElement.

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