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can-connect-feathers is a set of behaviors for integrating can-connect with Feathers Client.

  • The service behavior connects to a Feathers service.
  • The session behavior connects to the feathers-authentication-client methods on a Feathers Client instance.

Important Note: Version 3.0 is not yet fully compatible with Done-SSR. If you need SSR, please install the 2.x version from npm and check the 2.x branch's for docs.

Table of Contents


npm install can-connect-feathers --save

Feathers Client Setup

Both of the included behaviors require a Feathers Client instance. Here is a basic setup:

// models/feathers.js 
import feathers from 'feathers/client';
import socketio from 'feathers-socketio/client';
import io from '';
import hooks from 'feathers-hooks';
import auth from 'feathers-authentication-client';
import socket from '';
var feathersClient = feathers()
export default feathersClient;

See the FeathersJS Documentation for more details.

Connecting to Services with the Service Behavior

The service behavior simplifies the process of connecting to a Feathers service. It maps can-connect's DataInterface methods to FeathersJS's Service Interface methods.

DataInterface method Feathers method HTTP method Example Path
.getListData() .find() GET /todos
.getData() .get() GET /todos/{id}
.createData() .create() POST /todos
.updateData() .update() PUT /todos/{id}
not yet implemented .patch() PATCH /todos/{id}
.destroyData() .remove() DELETE /todos/{id}

Service Behavior Options

The service behavior requires that a Feathers service object be passed as the feathersService option. For can-connect's real-time functionality to work with this behavior, the can-connect real-time behavior must also be included as shown in the examples.

Here's an abbreviated example. See the next section for a full example.

], {
  feathersService: feathersClient.service('/api/todos')

Service Behavior Example

Here's an example Todo Model that uses the can-connect-feathers service behavior. Comments indicating key locations have been added.

// models/todo.js 
import connect from 'can-connect';
import DefineMap from 'can-define/map/';
import DefineList from 'can-define/list/list';
import set from "can-set";
// Bring in the feathers service behavior 
import feathersServiceBehavior from 'can-connect-feathers/service';
import dataParse from 'can-connect/data/parse/';
import realtime from 'can-connect/real-time/';
import construct from 'can-connect/constructor/';
import constructStore from 'can-connect/constructor/store/';
import constructOnce from 'can-connect/constructor/callbacks-once/';
import canMap from 'can-connect/can/map/';
import canRef from 'can-connect/can/ref/';
import dataCallbacks from 'can-connect/data/callbacks/';
// Bring in the feathersClient instance. 
import feathersClient from './feathers';
// Use feathersClient.service(url) to create a service 
const todoService = feathersClient.service('/api/todos');
const Todo = DefineMap.extend('Todo', {
  _id: 'string',
  description: 'string',
  complete: 'boolean'
Todo.algebra = new set.Algebra('_id')
Todo.List = DefineList.extend({'*': Todo});
Todo.connection = connect([
  // Include the feathers service behavior in the behaviors list. 
  // Include the realtime behavior. 
], {
  idProp: '_id',
  Map: Todo,
  List: Todo.List,
  // Pass the service as the `feathersService` property. 
  feathersService: todoService,
  name: 'todos',
  algebra: Todo.algebra
export default Todo;

In the above example, both Todo and Todo.connection will have methods for handling data, as described in the can-connect basic use section.

Handling Authentication with the Session Behavior

The session behavior connects some of can-connect's DataInterface methods to the feathers-authentication-client plugin.

  • createData() attempts to authenticate with the Feathers server, which upon success returns a JSON Web Token (JWT). The JWT contains a payload with information about the current session. That payload is returned as the session object.
  • getData() validates a stored JWT and returns its payload if the token hasn't expired.
  • destroyData() unauthenticates from the server and discards the JWT token on the client.

Session Behavior Options

The session behavior requires that a FeathersClient instance be passed as the feathersClient option. For can-connect's real-time functionality to work with this behavior, the can-connect real-time behavior must also be included as shown in the examples. Also, this behavior requires that an observable Map or DefineMap is provided on the Map attribute.

], {
  feathersClient: feathersClient,
  Map: Session

Pro Tip: Remember that the term "session" here is only for familiarity, since FeathersJS uses stateless JWT and not actual sessions on the server.

Obtaining current session data

Once authentication has been established, the Map or DefineMap provided as the Map option on the can-connect Model will have a new current property defined. So, if you passed a Session object, Session.current will always hold the current session data. This greatly simplifies the session property in your application ViewModel. Here's an abbreviated example.

import Session from 'my-app/models/session';
const AppViewModel = DefineMap.extend({
  session: {
    get () {
      return Session.current;

That's it! The session property in the above example will automatically populate when the user authenticates.

Handling OAuth Logins

The feathers-session behavior is preconfigured to listen to login messages coming in over the feathers-authentication-popups authAgent. When any message is received through the authAgent, its validity is checked. If it's a valid JWT token, a Session instance will be created automatically. This will both populate Session.current and dispatch a created event on the connected Session Map.

Session Behavior Example

Here's an example Todo Model that uses the can-connect-feathers service behavior. Comments indicating key locations have been added. Also note that you'll need to setup a User Model for this example to work. It should use the service behavior.

import connect from 'can-connect';
import DefineMap from 'can-define/map/';
import feathersSessionBehavior from 'can-connect-feathers/session';
import dataParse from 'can-connect/data/parse/';
import construct from 'can-connect/constructor/';
import constructStore from 'can-connect/constructor/store/';
import constructCallbacksOnce from 'can-connect/constructor/callbacks-once/';
import canMap from 'can-connect/can/map/';
import canRef from 'can-connect/can/ref/';
import dataCallbacks from 'can-connect/data/callbacks/';
// Bring in the feathersClient instance. 
import feathersClient from './feathers';
export const Session = DefineMap.extend('Session', {
  seal: false
}, {
  exp: 'any',
  userId: 'any',
  user: {
    Type: User,
    // Automatically populate the user data when a userId is received. 
    get (lastSetVal, resolve) {
      if (lastSetVal) {
        return lastSetVal;
      if (this.userId) {
        User.get({_id: this.userId}).then(resolve);
  // Include the feathers session behavior in the behaviors list. 
  // Include the realtime behavior. 
], {
  // Pass the feathers client as the `feathersClient` property. 
  feathersClient: feathersClient,
  idProp: 'exp',
  // Pass the Session Map 
  Map: Session,
  name: 'session'
export default Session;


Making a Build

To make a build of the distributables into dist/ in the cloned repository run

npm install
npm run build

Running the tests

Run tests manually with npm run start then visit http://localhost:3333/test/test.html.

Automated tests from the command line can be run in Firefox with npm test.


  • 3.0.0
    • This is a big update with a dramatically different API.
    • Not yet compatible with Done-SSR. Keep using the 2.x.x version if you need SSR.
    • You can now directly use the official Feathers Client library.
    • Includes a service behavior for connecting to Feathers services.
    • Includes a session behavior for assisting with Feathers's JWT authentication.
      • Requires the feathers-authentication-client library to be used in the Feathers Client setup.
      • Augments the provided Map constructor with a current property. ie. Your Session Map will now have a Session.current property with the authenticated "session" data. Remember that the term "session" is just a formality here, since Feathers uses stateless JWT and not actual sessions on the server.
      • Includes feathers-authentication-popups support for automatically handling OAuth provider logins (Twitter, Facebook, GitHub)
  • 2.0.0
    • This version is exactly the same as the 1.x.x versions with a single breaking change.
    • Solved a bug where the internal version of jQuery would conflict with the version used in your app. Added jquery as a required option. You must provide the version of jquery that you plan to use in your app.
  • 1.1.7 - Feature: getToken() will always attempt to retrieve the token from cookieStorage after checking localStorage.
  • 1.1.6 - Bugfix: Adds makeUrl function to fix URLs and rest query strings.
  • 1.1.5 - Bugfix: Don't stringify empty objects in the XHR data.
  • 1.1.4 - Feature: Add a .vscode config for easier debugging with Visual Studio Code.
  • 1.1.3 - Bugfix: Make sure the,, and methods are always available, so you don't have to remove them when you set allowSocketIO to false, temporarily.
  • 1.1.2 - Added some documentation.
  • 1.1.1 - Added tests for auth over XHR/REST.
  • 1.1.0 - Feature: Can now authenticate directly with
  • 1.0.0
    • Adds full support. Going all-in on is much faster and more efficient than the hybrid rest/ real-time events setup!
    • Renamed the socketio option to allowSocketIO. Now you pass allowSocketIO: false to disable sockets.
    • Added socketio method to support as a transport for services.
    • Added integration tests with an actual Feathers server.
  • 0.6.9 - Bugfix: Allow to connect to non-origin servers. (Upgrade
  • 0.6.8 - Bugfix: Don't send data with DELETE requests. Thanks @kylegifford!
  • 0.6.7 - Feature: Allow passing of id into get as an object literal {_id: 1}, in addition to string and number ids. Thanks @obaidott!
  • 0.6.6 - Bugfix: disable JSON stringify for params, prevent params from being double stringified. Thanks @obaidott!
  • 0.6.0 - it's now possible to turn off by passing socketio = false to the options. This has been renamed as of version 1.0.0.
  • 0.5.0 - The default cookie name is now feathers-jwt to match the Feathers default.
  • 0.4.0
    • The rest methods now use a Promise instead of a Deferred.
    • Error responses are now converted to feathers-errors.
  • 0.2.0 - Added auth to the authenticate method to get authenticated real-time events.
  • 0.1.0 - Initial version