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Require JS provides several benefits:


When should you use require? The main use case is for large projects that loads lots of files where either or both of the following is true:

In small projects that use only one or two JavaScript files, require is usually not needed. However, I think it is good idea to use require as often as possible, just so that you can become familiar with it's syntax.


The first step is to load require and data-main, which is generally a file called Main.js.

The real work, discussed in the next section, occurs in Main.js.

Simple Case

Here is a relatively simple example set of files. The first is called Main.js:

    baseUrl: '.',
    paths: {
        "jquery": 'jquery-2.1.1',
        "Control": 'Control'

require(['jquery', 'Control'],
    function(jq, Control) {
        'use strict';

        $(document).ready(function() {
            var control = new Control();

The require.config section defines the location of the files that require will load. The baseUrl specifies the default place that require will look for files. The path section defines the location for files or directories that are not directly under baseUrl.

The require section seen after require.config helps bootstrap your application.


For the files that are going to be loaded with requirejs, you should use a method called define that is part of require. The function takes a list of dependencies in square brackets, and then a callback the defines the methods or objects that you want to host in this module.

So Control might look like this:

define([], function(require) {

    var Control = (function() {

        return Control;

    return Control;

One of the most important lines is return Control. This specifies that the code in module Control can be accessed through constructor called Control. To fully understand the power of this syntax, you need to understand closures. In this case, closures ensure that any other code in the Control module that the constructor can access will be accessible from outside the module via the constructor. (I apologize if that sounds confusing, this just isn't the place to get into closures.)

Require Boat

Take a look at Require Boat.

This is a very simple example showing how to get up to speed with require.

In index.html we link in Main and require.js:

Main then configures jquery:

  paths: {
    "jquery": "",     

Then we create a simple module called Boat which is found in Boat.js:

define(['jquery'], function() { 'use strict';

    function describe() {  
  • I'm a boat.
  • "); }; return {describe: describe}; });

    This code says that our Boat module requires jquery. It then defines a simple function which adds an item to a list. Finally we return a link to the function:

    return {describe: describe};

    Back in Main, we can now link in Boat and call Boat.describe:

    require(["Boat"], function(boat) {

    The first Boat, the one in the array, links in the Boat.js module. For this we get a reference to a boat which is passed as a parameter to our anonymous function. Finally, we use the reference to call the describe method:


    ##Configure Require Paths

    Consider this code:

        paths : {
            "jquery" : "jquery-1.11.1.min",
            "Markdown" : "Markdown/Converter",
            "Editor" : "Markdown/Editor"
    require(['jquery', "MarkShow"],function(jq, MarkShow){
        var markShow= new MarkShow();

    Compare it to this:

        paths : {
            "jquery" :"jquery-1.11.1.min",
            "MarkShow" : "MarkShow",
            "Markdown" : "Markdown/Converter",
            "Editor" : "Markdown/Editor"
    require(['jquery', "MarkShow"], function(jq, MarkShow){
        var markShow = new MarkShow();

    The first puts MarkShow only in the call to require, while the second puts it in both the require.config statement and the call to require. What is the difference?

    I don't believe there is any difference at all. We use the paths property in require.config to help us work with complex paths or complex names. It's easier to write jquery than jquery-1-11.1.min so we configure require so that it understands that when we say jquery, we really mean jquery-1-11-1.min. The main purpose of paths, of course, is just to let us define the paths to modules that are not in the current directory:

    "Markdown" : "Markdown/Converter",

    In our example, MarkShow is in the current directory, so there is no reason to configure it. We can already reference it just by writing require["MarkShow"], function(MarkShow). As a result, there is no point in putting it in the paths property of require.config.

    It is worth noting that you can do other things with require.config besides just setting up a path. In particular, you can use the shim section to help load files that are not set up to use requirejs.


    In answer to the first question, it is okay to create only one factory if you wish. The goal is to write code that you think is cleanest and easiest to use. These are judgement calls, so try using one factory, and let's see what happens. I'm honestly not sure which is best. I see arguments on both sides.

    I don't know a good shortcut to defining the paths to your files when they appear in multiple directories. There might be one, but I don't know it. For now I think it is best to define the paths to all your files in main.js, and not in other files. That way you will not have to search among your files looking for the place where you defined the path to be used when it comes time to load them.

    Having said this, we might in the future want to place a file in each directory that is responsible for loading the files in that directory. That way we create a "package" as it were. Here is a directory called Readers, and in it is a file like Main.js, that knows how to load all the files in that directory. That way we can load Readers/Main.js and it will load the files in that "package" or "name space." But frankly, I'm a little fuzzy on how all that might work. I'll figure it out, just not today.

    I would ask that for the midterm, you define the paths to all your files in require.config for Main (public/javascripts), MainTest (Tests), and TestMain (the karma require file). That way I will know where to look if there is trouble loading files for your project. I feel like we have to move beyond this state of affairs, and soon, but for now, I think this is best.

    If anyone is reading this, and is confused. I'll give an example. In public/javascripts/Main.js, there is a section like this:

        paths : {
            "jquery" : "jquery-2.1.1",
            "DefaultReader" : "./Readers/DefaultReader",
            "JsonReader" : "./Readers/JsonReader",
            "MarkdownReader" : "./Readers/MarkdownReader"

    I want you to define the paths to all the files in your project in the paths object shown above. The only exception would be for files that are already in public/javascript. They don't need to be called out explicitly since they can just be referenced by name.

    One you have defined the path for a file, then anywhere in your project that you need the file, you can just point to it by the name you defined in the paths object shown above. You point to it like this:

    require(["jquery", "DefaultReader", "JsonReader", "MarkdownReader"],
        function(jq, DefaultReader, JsonReader, MarkdownReader) {'use strict';

    Note that we don't have to specify the path to DefaultReader. Just say its name, and behind the scenes require uses the path from the require.config in Main.js.

    In the require array above, use the same case as you used when defining the variable in the path object. That should usually be the same case as you used for the file name. For instance, BridgeReader.js would be 'BridgeReader' and test.js would be 'test'. In the function callback that follows, capitalize objects that need to be called with new, and use camel case for those that do not. For instance, consider this:

    require(["jquery", "Foo", "Gorp", "Gar"],
        function(jq, foo, gorp, Gar) {'use strict';

    The assumption here is that you do not need to call new on foo or gorp but you do on Gar. (These are just used for illustrations, you probably want to use the modular pattern for most of the objects in your project, so you probably usually want to capitalize the names in the parameter list to the function callback in a require statement. At this stage, you don't have to use the modular pattern, however.)

    RequireJs Second Example

    RequireJs provides:

    To install requirejs:

    bower install requirejs --save

    NOTE: When using requirejs you no longer need the jQuery document.ready method. You can, and should, remove it.

    In layout.jade we load requirejs and specify a file, usually called main.js, where we configure require and load the core files for our application:

    doctype html
        title= title
        link(rel='stylesheet', href='/stylesheets/style.css')
        link(rel='stylesheet', href='/components/bootstrap/dist/css/bootstrap.css')
        script(data-main="javascripts/main.js" src="components/requirejs/require.js")
        block content

    In public/javascripts/main.js we configure require and bootstrap our application:

    NOTE: By bootstrap I mean "load the core files of our application". I'm not referring to the CSS library.

        baseUrl: '.',
        paths: {
            jquery: 'components/jquery/dist/jquery',
            bootstrap: 'components/bootstrap/dist/js/bootstrap',
            control: 'javascripts/control'
    requirejs(['jquery'], function($) {
        requirejs(['bootstrap', 'control'], function(bootstrap, control) {
            control.init();  // <= BOOTSTRAP APPLICATION

    We configure requirejs in a call to requirejs.config. The key tasks are:

    Require JS Modules

    Require JS modules are defined in specific way, usually through calls to function named define. For instance, in public/javascripts/control.js we define our first require js module:

    define(['jquery'], function($) {
        //Do setup work here
        function showBar() {
            //console.log('Show Bar Clicks called now');
        var control = {
            color: "black",
            size: "unisize",
            setup: function() {
                $(document).on('click', '#showClick', showBar);
                $('#display2').html(control.color + ' - ' + control.size);
            init: function() {
                that = this;
        return control;

    We begin by calling the require js define function:

    define(['jquery'], function($) {

    Inside the define function we define the object stored in our module, and return it. You need do nothing special when writing your object. Just define it using standard JavaScript code and it is ready to use. It automatically inherits the features of a require module because it is declared this way. It is as if you declared it using the module pattern, but it is perhaps simpler to understand, and easier to use as part of a larger application architecture.

    Require uses dependency injection. This means that one module can state that it is dependent on another module. In the example shown above, we are stating that the module depends on jQuery. Remember that in main.js we set up jquery. We do this by putting the dependency in square brackets and then declaring a variable in the parameter for the anonymous function. The variable is actual instance of the dependency that we can use in our module:

    define(['jquery'],         <= Square bracket to state dependency from main.js
        function($) {            <= jQuery instance variable declared here
          $('#foo').html('bar'); <= Example use of the dependency

    Many of the major libraries that are commonly used automatically implement the requirejs define function or do something similar. In other words, jQuery, and many other libraries, are requirejs modules. Or maybe it would be more correct to say that the meet the requirements of a requirejs module. This is the case because requirejs is so popular, and so commonly used. Some libraries do not support requirejs, and we will have to take special steps to load them.

    Testing Require

    I've created a sample project to help you see how to test and use requirejs. It is called JasmineRequireJs and is hosted on JsObjects.

    Looking at that project, see this part of karma.conf.js:

    frameworks: ['jasmine', 'requirejs'],
    files: [
        'node_modules/jasmine-jquery/lib/*.js', {
            pattern: 'spec/test-*.js',
            included: false
        }, {
            pattern: 'public/javascripts/**/*.js',
            included: false
    // list of files to exclude
    exclude: ['public/javascripts/main.js'],

    You are going to have to port this code directly into your SolarVoyager folder. Just replace the similar lines of code in your karma.conf.js with the lines shown above. Note:

    Note also that there are no frameworks loaded at the very bottom of the file. (You can't see the bottom of the file in the code excerpt shown above, but you can inside the sample project.)

    There may be other subtle tweaks required, but the above gives you most of what you need.

    Looking at the updated files section above, we see that karma will allow, for instance, the loading of the the JavaScript files in public/javascripts. It will not, however, actually load them. That fact is designated by the the included property: included:false. We are saying: "We want karma to make the files available, but not to actually load them. We will instead let requirejs actually load them." We use a file called spec/main-test.js to tell require what to load.

    I'll repeat the point again to make sure it is clear. requirejs can't load anything unless we have the pattern and included properties in the file section as shown above. You have to have the pattern and included properties, and you also have to have main-test.js, as explained below.

    NOTE I use test-XXX.js as the naming convention for require based tests, and spec-XXX.js for jasmine server side tests.

    Look at this sample main-test.js file from the spec directory:

    function loadTestsIntoArray() {
        'use strict';
        var tests = [];
        for (var file in window.__karma__.files) {
            if (/test-/.test(file)) {
                console.log('Loaded test:', file);
        return tests;
        baseUrl: '/base',
        paths: {
            home: 'public/javascripts/home'
        deps: loadTestsIntoArray(),
        callback: window.__karma__.start

    You will need to save this file into your SolarVoyager project. You are going to have to add a good deal to the paths section of require.config. You can use /public/javascripts/main as a guide as to what is needed. The files are very similar, but note that in spec/main-tests.js we write public/javascripts/home while in public/javascripts/main.js we write javascripts/home. This is necessary because the tests don't assume that your code lives in the public folder.

    Finally, look at the way we wrap our test suites in a require define function:

    define(['home'], function(home) {
        'use strict';
        describe('Elvenware Simple Plain Suite', function() {
            it('expects true to be true', function() {
            it('expects home.color to be red', function() {

    You can save this test into SolarVoyager as spec/test-basic.js. Then type karma start. If your tests pass, then you have things set up correctly and you can begin writing requirejs tests in earnest.

    The results might look something like this:

    PhantomJS 2.1.1 (Linux 0.0.0) LOG LOG: 'Loaded test:', '/base/spec/test-basic.js'
      Elvenware Simple Plain Suite
        ✓ expects true to be true
        ✓ expects color to be red
    PhantomJS 2.1.1 (Linux 0.0.0): Executed 2 of 2 SUCCESS (0 secs / 0.001 secs)