Makes Knockout and AMD modules work better together

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1.0.07 years ago9 years agoMinified + gzip package size for knockout-amd-helpers in KB



What is the point of this library?

This plugin is designed to be a lightweight and flexible solution to working with AMD modules in Knockout.js. It provides two key features:
  1. Augments the default template engine to allow it to load external templates using the AMD loader's text plugin. This lets you create your templates in individual HTML files and pull them in as needed by name (ideally in production the templates are included in your optimized file).

  1. Creates a module binding that provides a flexible way to load data from an AMD module and either bind it against an external template, an anonymous / inline template, or against a template defined within a property on the module itself.

Note: this library was originally designed to work with require.js or curl.js. However, it is possible to use it with webpack. Look at the examples/webpack directory for further details. The app.js file shows how you can override the code used to actually load modules and templates to use with other technologies.

Template Engine

When this plugin is loaded it overrides the default template engine with a version that retains all of the normal functionality, but can also load external templates by using the AMD loader's text plugin.
For example, when doing:
<ul data-bind="template: { name: 'items', foreach: items }"></ul>
The engine will first check to see if there is a script tag with the id of items and if not, it will dynamically require the template using the AMD loader's text plugin. By default, it will use templates/ as the default path and .tmpl.html as the suffix. So, in this case it would require text!templates/items.tmpl.html. Since, the path is built dynamically, if your template lives in a sub-directory, then you could specify your template like: sub/path/items.
These defaults can be overridden by setting properties on ko.amdTemplateEngine. For example:
ko.amdTemplateEngine.defaultPath = "your/path/to/templates";
ko.amdTemplateEngine.defaultSuffix = ".template.html";
ko.amdTemplateEngine.defaultRequireTextPluginName = "text";

Module Binding

This plugin also creates a module binding that provides a number of ways to bind directly against an AMD module. The binding accepts a number of options and tries to make smart choices by default.

Choosing data to bind against

Once the module binding loads an AMD module, there are three scenarios for how it determines the actual data to bind against:
  1. constructor function - If the module returns a function, then it is assumed that it is a constructor function and a new instance is used as the data.

  1. object returned - If the module returns an object directly, then the binding will look for an initializer function (called initialize by default) and:
a. if there is no initializer or the function does not return a value, then the data will be used directly.

b. if the initializer function returns a value, then it will be used as the data.
So, this allows the binding to either construct a new instance, use data directly, or call a function that returns data.

Basic example (with inline template):

<div data-bind="module: 'one'">
     <div data-bind="text: name"></div>
In this example, it will load the module one, determine what data to bind against, and use the inline template.

Basic example (named template - could be external)

<div data-bind="module: 'one'"></div>
In this example, it will load the module one, determine what data to bind against, and use one as the template, which is resolved by the template engine as described above.

Example with options

<div data-bind="module: { name: 'one', data: initialData }"></div>
In this example, it will follow the same logic as the previous example, but it will pass the initialData to the module.

Example with all options

<div data-bind="module: { name: 'one', data: initialData, template: 'oneTmpl',
                          initializer: 'createItem', disposeMethod: 'clean', afterRender: myAfterRender }"></div>
This example includes a number of options options that can be passed to the module binding. In this case, the template is overriden to use oneTmpl, a custom initializer function is used, a custom disposal method is specified, and an afterRender function is passed on to the template binding.

Dynamically binding against a module

The module binding supports binding against an observable or passing an observable for the name, template and data options. The content will be appropriately updated based on the new values. This allows you to dynamically bind an area to a module that is updated as the user interacts with your site.

$module context variable

The module binding adds a $module context variable that can be bound against. This can be useful when you want to bind against the equivalent of $root for just your module. When modules are nested inside other modules, $module will always refer to the root of the current module.

Module Binding - Inline Options


Provide the name of the module to load. The module will be loaded by combining the name with the value of ko.bindingHandlers.module.baseDir (defaults to empty). The name will also be used as the template, if the template option is not specified and the element does not have any child elements (inline template).
<div data-bind="module: { name: 'my_module' }"></div>


The data option is used to pass values into a constructor function or into the initializer function if the module returns an object directly. If an array is specified, then it will be applied as the arguments to the function (if you really want to pass an array as the first argument, then you would have to wrap it in an array like [myarray]).
<div data-bind="module: { name: 'my_module', data: ['arg1', 'arg2'] }"></div>


The template option provides the ability to override the template used for the module. In some cases, you may want to share a template across multiple modules or bind a module against multiple templates.
<div data-bind="module: { name: 'my_module', template: 'my_template' }"></div>


The templateProperty option provides the ability to specify a key that, if defined, will be used to check whether a given module has defined its own template. The result is a module that is fully self-contained (i.e. with no external templates). Take the following example:
<div data-bind="module: { name: 'my_module', templateProperty: 'template' }"></div>

define(['knockout'], function(ko) {

	return {

		'template': "<div>I have my own template.</div>"




If the module returns an object (rather than a constructor function), then the binding will attempt to call an initializer function, if it exists. By default, this function is called initialize, but you can override the name of the function to call using this option or globally by setting ko.bindingHandlers.module.initializer to the name of the function that you want to use.
<div data-bind="module: { name: 'my_module', initializer: 'initialize' }"></div>


When a module is swapped out, you can specify a custom function name to call to do any necessary clean up.
<div data-bind="module: { name: 'my_module', disposeMethod: 'dispose' }"></div>


The afterRender function is passed on to the template binding. If a string is specified, then it will be used to find a method on the module itself. Otherwise, if a function reference is passed, then it will be used directly.
<div data-bind="module: { name: 'my_module', afterRender: 'afterRender' }"></div>


The moveNodesToContext option will extract the children of the module binding and provide them as the $moduleTemplateNodes context property. This allows a module to act as a "wrapper" for the supplied nodes. The module's template would want to render the children using the template binding ( template: { nodes: $moduleTemplateNodes } ).

Module Binding - Global Options

There are a few options that can be set globally for convenience.

ko.bindingHandlers.module.baseDir (default: "")

The baseDir is used in building the path to use in the require statement. If your modules live in the modules directory, then you can specify it globally here.

ko.bindingHandlers.module.initializer (default: "initialize")

This allows the ability to globally override the function that the module binding calls after loading an AMD module that does not return a constructor.

ko.bindingHandlers.module.disposeMethod (default: "dispose")

The dispose method name can be globally overriden. This function is optionally called when a module is being removed/swapped.

ko.bindingHandlers.module.templateProperty (default: "")

The templateProperty option can be globally set. If defined, when a module is loaded - if it has a property with the key specified here (where the value is a string or function), the value of that property will be used as the template for the module. The result is a fully self-contained module (i.e. it has its own template, not an external one).


  • Knockout 2.0+


The examples directory contains a sample using require.js and using curl.js. For your convenience, you can quickly spin up an Express instance that serves these files by running:
$ node express


MIT license -