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Admin Javascript

govuk_admin_template comes with a lightweight javascript framework that makes it easy to write re-usable modular components, without having to worry about messy instantiation.


Javascript modules are specified in markup using data- attributes:

<div data-module="some-module">
  <strong>Some other markup inside the module</strong>

When javascript runs on the page the framework will look for a module at GOVUKAdmin.Modules.SomeModule. Note the value of the data attribute has been converted to PascalCase.

The module will first be instantiated and then will automatically call the module’s start method, passing it the element the data attribute is on:

module = new GOVUKAdmin.Modules[type]();

This automatically limits modules to their containing elements and removes the need for messy inline script tags.

The simplest of modules looks like this:

(function(Modules) {
  "use strict";
  Modules.SomeModule = function() {
    var that = this;
    that.start = function(element) {
      // module code

Writing modules

Whilst this isn’t prescriptive, it helps if modules look and behave in a similar manner. Modules should live within your app’s app\assets\javascripts\modules directory.

Use js- prefixed classes for interaction hooks

Make it clear where a javascript module will be applying behaviour:

<div data-module="toggle-thing">
  <a href="/" class="js-toggle">Toggle</a>
  <div class="js-toggle-target">Target</div>

Declare event listeners at the start

Beginning with a set of event listeners clearly indicates the module’s intentions.

that.start = function(element) {
  element.on('click', '.js-toggle', toggle);
  element.on('click', '.js-cancel', cancel);

Where possible, assign listeners to the module element to minimise the number of listeners and to allow for flexible markup:

<div data-module="toggle-thing">
  <a href="/" class="js-toggle">This toggles</a>
  <div class="js-toggle-target">
    <p>Some content</p>
    <a href="/" class="js-toggle">This also toggles</a>

Use data-attributes for configuration

Keep modules flexible by moving configuration to data attributes on the module’s element:

  <!-- updates with content from end point -->

Include Jasmine specs

Modules should have their own tests, whether they’re being included with the gem or are app specific.

Included modules

Found in the app/assets/javascripts/govuk-admin-template/modules directory, with tests in spec/javascripts/spec/.

File Module Attribute Description
auto_show_modal.js AutoShowModal auto-show-modal Initialise a Bootstrap modal on page load and remove markup when closed
auto_track_event.js AutoTrackEvent auto-track-event Use data attributes to track events in Google Analytics on page load
confirm.js Confirm confirm Show a window.confirm dialogue when a link is clicked
filterable_table.js FilterableTable filterable-table Filter the contents of a table, showing only matching rows
fixed_table_header.js FixedTableHeader fixed-table-header Fix the <thead> portion of a table when scrolling offscreen
toggle.js Toggle toggle A simple toggle
track_click.js TrackClick track-click Track button clicks in Google Anayltics using sendBeacon