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astrojs is a project to develop and consolidate javascript libraries for astronomical applications. Similar to the astropy project, astrojs is gathering useful libraries under a single namespace so they may become shared resources to the astronomical community. There are many codes floating around the web, which if they were consolidated in a central location, would be of much greater value.

If you have a javascript resource that you would like to contribute, please contact Amit Kapadia.

astrojs library

This library is a development tool that provides a library template and convenience functions for developing under the javascript astro namespace. It is most useful when developing astrojs libraries using the coffeescript language. A future release will support development for pure javascript libraries. There are four functions available from the command line.

astrojs new [project name]
astrojs class [class name]
astrojs server
astrojs build


The astrojs module is built using NodeJS. Why Node? Node is another flavor of javascript, javascript that runs server side. A Node module may be developed and run in a similar why to any other scripting language, such as python. As this is a javascript initiative, any utilities should be developed in javascript. If Node is not installed, please refer to its documentation and downloads page.

Upon installation of Node a package manager called NPM will be available. The astrojs module is available via the Node Packaged Modules service. To install the astrojs module run

npm install astrojs -g

This will install astrojs globally, and it will function as a command line utility. (It most likely needs to be run using sudo).

creating an astrojs project

To create an astrojs project run

astrojs new [project name]

This will generate the following project files under a directory named by [project name]:

  |----[project name].coffee

generating a new class

Javascript is a prototype-based language, however a class-like structure can be emulated using particular development patterns. Use of this modules means that the developer is adopting a module pattern for library development. Executing

astrojs new [class name]

from within an astrojs project directory will generate template code for a new class and test functions.

starting a local development server

Development always requires testing. When developing an astrojs module, it is encouraged to test all functionality. Frequently a local testing server is needed. Calling

astrojs server

will spin up a local testing server at This is useful when tests require data that must be accessed on the same domain as the script (e.g. ajax requests for json or binary files).

This command support two options.

astrojs server -p 8001

allows a port to be specified, and

astrojs server -m

minifies the code, which is useful in some development edge cases.

building an astrojs project

This module encourages development to occur in a modular fashion. Often development of libraries can quickly become overwhelming. Good practice encourages codes to be modulated into separate files, however this requires a build step when delivering the final javascript library. Calling

astrojs build

concatenates all files in the src directory, and provides the final product in the lib directory. It is important to specify the dependency order using the key _dependencyOrder in package.json.


For an example of using this module for development, please refer to the fitsjs library.