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    0.4.4 • Public • Published

    What is scaleApp?

    scaleApp is a tiny JavaScript framework for scalable and maintainable One-Page-Applications / Single-Page-Applications. The framework allows you to easily create complex web applications.

    Build Status Dependency Status NPM version Coverage Status

    You can dynamically start and stop/destroy modules that acts as small parts of your whole application.

    Architecture overview

    scaleApp is based on a decoupled, event-driven architecture that is inspired by the talk of Nicholas C. Zakas - "Scalable JavaScript Application Architecture" (Slides). There also is a little Article that describes the basic ideas.

    scaleApp architecture


    A module is a completely independent part of your application. It has absolutely no reference to another piece of the app. The only thing the module knows is your sandbox. The sandbox is used to communicate with other parts of the application.


    The main purpose of the sandbox is to use the facade pattern. In that way you can hide the features provided by the core and only show a well defined custom static long term API to your modules. This is actually one of the most important concept for creating mainainable apps. Change plugins, implementations etc. but keep your API stable for your modules. For each module a separate sandbox will be created.


    The core is responsible for starting and stopping your modules. It also handles the messages by using the Publish/Subscribe (Mediator) pattern


    Plugins can extend the core or the sandbox with additional features. For example you could extend the core with basic functionalities (like DOM manipulation) or just aliases the features of a base library (e.g. jQuery).


    • loose coupling of modules
    • small (about 300 sloc / 8,7k min / 3.3k gz)
    • no dependencies
    • modules can be tested separately
    • replacing any module without affecting other modules
    • extendable with plugins
    • browser and Node.js support
    • flow control
    • AMD & CommonJS support
    • framework-agnostic


    scaleApp itself is very small but it can be extended with plugins. There already are some plugins available:

    • mvc - simple MVC
    • i18n - multi language UIs
    • permission - take care of method access
    • state - Finite State Machine
    • submodule - cascade modules
    • dom - DOM manipulation
    • strophe - XMPP communication
    • modulestate - event emitter for init and destroy
    • util - helper methods like mixin, uniqueId etc.
    • ls - list modules, instances & plugins

    You can easily define your own plugin (see plugin section).


    Latest stable 0.4.x version

    or use the CDN:

    <script src="//" ></script>

    Old stable 0.3.x version


    There are some API changes in version 0.4.x (see Changelog). Docs for v0.3.9 can be found within the tar/zip file.

    Unstable version

    git clone git://

    Quick Start

    Link scaleApp.min.js in your HTML file:

    <script src="scaleApp.min.js"></script>

    or use the CDN:

    <script src="//" ></script>

    If you're going to use it with node:

    npm install scaleapp --save
    var sa = require("scaleapp");

    or use bower:

    bower install scaleapp

    Create your own Sandbox

    First of all create your own sandbox. By doing that you're able to guarantee a stable maintainable API for your modules.

    var MySandbox = function(core, instanceId, options, moduleId) {
      // define your API
      this.myFooProperty = "bar";
      // e.g. provide the Mediator methods 'on', 'emit', etc.
      // ... or define your custom communication methods
      this.myEmit = function(channel, data){
        core.emit(channel + '/' + instanceId, data);
      // maybe you'd like to expose the instance ID = instanceId;
      return this;
    // ... and of course you can define shared methods etc. = function() { /*...*/ };

    Create a core

    Now create a new core instance with your sandbox:

    var core = new scaleApp.Core(MySandbox);

    Register modules

    core.register( "myModuleId", function( sandbox ){
      return {
        init:    function(){ /*...*/ },
        destroy: function(){ /*...*/ }

    As you can see the module is a function that takes the sandbox as a parameter and returns an object that has two functions init and destroy (the latter is optional). Of course your module can be any usual class with those two functions.

    var MyGreatModule = function(sandbox){
      return {
        init:    function(){ alert("Hello world!"); }
        destroy: function(){ alert("Bye bye!");     }
    core.register("myGreatModule", MyGreatModule);

    The init function is called by the framework when the module is supposed to start. The destroy function is called when the module has to shut down.

    Asynchronous initialization

    You can also init or destroy you module in a asynchronous way:

    var MyAsyncModule = function(sandbox){
      return {
        init: function(options, done){
            // ...
        destroy: function(done){
    core.register("myGreatModule", MyGreatModule);
    core.start("myGreatModule", { done:function(){
      alert("now the initialization is done");

    Start modules

    After your modules are registered, start your modules:

      .start( "myModuleId" )
      .start( "anOtherModule", function(err){
        // 'anOtherModule' is running now

    Start options

    You may also want to start several instances of a module:

    core.start( "myModuleId", {instanceId: "myInstanceId" } );
    core.start( "myModuleId", {instanceId: "anOtherInstanceId" });

    All you attach to options is accessible within your module:

    core.register( "mod", function(sandbox){
      return {
        init: function(opt){
          (opt.myProperty === "myValue")  // true
        destroy: function(){ /*...*/ }
    core.start("mod", {
      instanceId: "test",
      options: { myProperty: "myValue" }

    If all your modules just needs to be instanciated once, you can simply starting them all:


    To start some special modules at once you can pass an array with the module names:


    You can also pass a callback function:

      // do something when all modules were initialized

    Moreover you can use a separate sandbox for each instance:

    var MySandbox = function(){/*...*/};
    core.start("module", { sandbox: MySandbox });


    It's obvious:

    core.stop(); // stops all running instances


    If the module needs to communicate with others, you can use the emit and on methods.


    The emit function takes three parameters whereas the last one is optional:

    • topic : the channel name you want to emit to
    • data : the data itself
    • cb : callback method

    The emit function is accessible through the sandbox (as long as you exposed the Mediator methods of course):

    sandbox.emit( "myEventTopic", myData );


    A message handler could look like this:

    var messageHandler = function( data, topic ){
      switch( topic ){
        case "somethingHappend":
          sandbox.emit( "myEventTopic", processData(data) );
        case "aNiceTopic":
          justProcess( data );

    ... and it can listen to one or more channels:

    sub1 = sandbox.on( "somthingHappend", messageHandler );
    sub2 = sandbox.on( "aNiceTopic", messageHandler );

    Or just do it at once:

      topicA: cbA,
      topicB: cbB,
      topicC: cbC

    You can also subscribe to several channels at once:

    sandbox.on(["a", "b"], cb);

    If you prefer a shorter method name you can use the alias on.

    attache and detache

    A subscription can be detached and attached again:

    sub.detach(); // don't listen any more
    sub.attach(); // receive upcoming messages


    You can unsubscribe a function from a channel"a-channel", callback);

    And you can remove a callback function from all channels;

    Or remove all subscriptions from a channel:"channelName");

    Flow control


    var task1 = function(next){
        next(null, "one");
    var task2 = function(next){
      next(null, "two");
    scaleApp.util.runSeries([task1, task2], function(err, result){
      // result is ["one", "two"]
    // console output is:
    // "task1"
    // "task2"


    var task1 = function(next){
        next(null, "a");
    var task2 = function(next){
      next(null, "b");
    scaleApp.util.runParallel([task1, task2],function(err,result){
      // result is ["a", "b"]
    // console output is:
    // "task2"
    // "task1"

    There is also a little helper tool to run the same async task again and again in parallel for different values:

    var vals = ["a","b", "c"];
    var worker = function(val, next){
        next(err, result);
    scaleApp.util.doForAll(args, worker, function(err, res){
      // fini


    var task1 = function(next){
        next(null, "one", "two");
    var task2 = function(res1, res2, next){
      // res1 is "one"
      // res2 is "two"
      next(null, "yeah!");
    scaleApp.util.runWaterfall([task1, task2], function(err, result){
      // result is "yeah!"


    There are some plugins available within the plugins folder. For more information look at the plugin README.

    Register plugins

    A single plugin can be registered with it option object in that way:


    If you want to register multiple plugins at once:

      { plugin: plugin3, options: options3 }

    Write your own plugin

    It's easy:

      core.helloWorld = function(){ alert("helloWorld"); };

    Here a more complex example:

    core.use(function(core, options, done){
      // extend the core
      core.myCoreFunction = function(){ alert("Hello core plugin") };
      core.myBoringProperty = "boring";
      // extend the sandbox class
      core.Sandbox.prototype.myMethod = function(){/*...*/};
      // define a method that gets called when a module starts
      var onModuleInit = function(instanceSandbox, options, done){
        // e.g. define sandbox methods dynamically
        if (options.mySwitch){
          instanceSandbox.appendFoo = function(){
        // or load a something asynchronously
          // do something...
          // now tell scaleApp that you're done
      // define a method that gets called when a module stops
      var onModuleDestroy = function(done){
      // don't forget to return your methods
      return {
        init: onModuleInit,
        destroy: onModuleDestroy


    core.myCoreFunction() // alerts "Hello core plugin"
    var MyModule = function(sandbox){
      init: function(){ sandbox.appendFoo(); },  // appends "foo" to the container

    Build browser bundles

    If you want scaleApp bundled with special plugins type

    grunt custom[:PLUGIN_NAME]

    e.g. cake custom:dom:mvc creates the file scaleApp.custom.js that contains scaleApp itself the dom plugin and the mvc plugin.



    • scaleApp.VERSION - the current version of scaleApp
    • scaleApp.Mediator - the Mediator class
    • scaleApp.Sandbox - the Sandbox class
    • scaleApp.Core - the Core class


    // use default sandbox
    var core = new scaleApp.Core();
    // use your own sandbox
    var core = new scaleApp.Core(yourSandboxClass);
    • core.register(moduleName, module, options) - register a module
    • core.use(plugin, options) - register a plugin
    • core.use(pluginArray) - registers an array of plugins
    • core.boot(callback) - initialize plugins (will be executed automatically on ´start´)
    • core.start(moduleId, options, callback) - start a module
    • core.stop(instanceId, callback) - stop a module


    // create a mediator
    var mediator = new scaleApp.Mediator();
    // create a mediator with a custom context object
    var mediator = new scaleApp.Mediator(context);
    // create a mediator with cascaded channels
    var mediator = new scaleApp.Mediator(null, true);
    • mediator.emit(channel, data, callback)
    • mediator.on(channel, callback, context)
    •, callback)
    • mediator.installTo(context, force)
    // subscribe
    var subscription = mediator.on(channel, callback, context);
    • subscription.detach - stop listening
    • subscription.attach - resume listening
    var fn  = function(){ /*...*/ };
    var obj = { emit: fn };
    // the installTo method prevents existing properties by default
    obj.emit === fn // true
    // set the second paramater to 'true'
    // to force the mediator to override existing propeties
    mediator.installTo(obj, true);
    obj.emit === mediator.emit // true


    This is the default sandbox of scaleApp. It's a better idea to use your own one.

    var sandbox =  new scaleApp.Sandbox(core, instanceId, options, moduleId)` - create a Sandbox
    • sandbox.emit is mediator.emit
    • sandbox.on is mediator.on
    • is


    v0.4.4 (07-2014)

    • fixed i18n plugin (not it works with the submodule plugin and a global dict)
    • added i18n plugin option global

    v0.4.3 (02-2014)

    • added option to Mediator.installTo to force overriding existing properties
    • added option useGlobalMediator to the submodule plugin
    • added option mediator to the submodule plugin
    • added submodule example
    • fixed requireJS example
    • fixed grunt task for custom builds
    • strophe plugin
      • expose the mediator
      • fixed error emitting on failed connection
    • compile with coffee-script 1.7.1

    v0.4.2 (10-2013)

    • fixed restarting modules
    • speed up argument extraction
    • little refactoring

    v0.4.1 (09-2013)

    • no more sandbox manipulation
    • added start option to use a separate sandbox
    • removed modules directory (building modules is your own business; above all they should depend on YOUR sandbox)
    • available at
    • improved README
    • bugfixes

    v0.4.0 (07-2013)

    • added a Core class that can be instantiated (var core = new scaleApp.Core();)
    • new plugin API (scaleApp.plugins.register moved to core.use)
      • support asynchronous plugins
      • added boot method to initialize asynchronous plugins
    • changed API
      • startAll() is now start()
      • stopAll() is now stop()
      • the API is now chainable (e.g. core.use(X).register("foo",bar).start("foo"))
      • removed setInstanceOptions
      • removed unregister and unregisterAll
      • dropped subscribe, unsubscribe and publish from Mediator API (use on, off and emit instead)
      • the methods lsModules, lsInstances, lsPlugins moved to the ls plugin
      • the destroy method of a module is now optional
      • the callback property of the start option object was removed. Use the modulestate plugin instead
    • plugins
      • new submodule plugin
      • improved permission and i18n
      • new modulestate plugin to emit events on module state changes
    • cleaner code
    • Mediator: do not clone objects any more (do it manually instead)
    • test with mocha, chai, sinon, karma and PhantomJS instead of buster.js

    v0.3.9 (12-2012)

    • grunt as build systemt
    • added waterfall flow control method
    • improved permission plugin
    • improved state plugin (thanks to Strathausen)
    • added xmpp (stropje.js) plugin
    • added a simple clock module
    • added bower support
    • added this changelog

    v0.3.8 (08-2012)

    • bug fixes
    • added support for async. callback of the publish method
    • added amd support

    v0.3.7 (07-2012)

    • bug fixes
    • added permission plugin
    • ported specs to buster.js
    • support for global i18n properties

    v0.3.6 (03-2012)

    • support for async. and sync. module initialization

    v0.3.5 (03-2012)

    • simpified Mediator code

    v0.3.4 (03-2012)

    • bugfixes
    • added lsModules and lsInstances
    • improved README

    v0.3.3 (02-2012)

    • run tests with jasmine-node instead of JSTestDriver
    • added travis testing
    • improved README

    v0.3.2 (01-2012)

    • bugfixes
    • improved Mediator

    v0.3.0 (11-2011)

    • ported to Coffee-Script
    • removed jQuery dependency

    v0.2.0 (07-2011)

    • bugfixes
    • improvements

    v0.1.0 (02-2011)

    • first release


    npm test


    WARNING: the demo is totally out of date!

    You can try out the sample application that is build on scaleApp. Also have a look at the source code.


    scaleApp is licensed under the MIT license. For more information have a look at LICENCE.txt.




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