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Creating links in Compound is easy with the linkTo and pathTo helpers. Using them will help to make your app more portable and easier to maintain.

Say we have a Users model, and an index page listing all our users. We could create the following link in our view:

<a href="/users/index">Users</a>

While that may work for now, we can also use a helper to create the link for us:

linkTo('Users', pathTo.users)

The benefit of using pathTo, is that it will handle the adding the path to page for you, using the routes configuration file (/config/routes.js).

To see your routes, do the following in the node console:

compound routes

And you will get a list of your current routes in the following format:

users GET    /users.:format?    users#index`

In the example above, from left-to-right:

  • users GET - The path, this is what we would use in pathTo
  • /users.:format? - This tells us what the link looks like, and what paramaters it takes. In this example, the format describes what this contoller action responds to (see controllers for respondsTo).
  • users#index - Convention is controller # action, so this example will look for the index action in the users controller.

Customizing Links

linkTo also takes optional arguments so that you can add classes, id, etc.


  • linkTo('Cancel', pathTo.users, { class: 'btn', id: 'cancel'})
  • linkTo('Add Another', false, { class: 'add-to-cart', data-item: 'WDGT-3000'})


The linkTo helper also offers a convenient method for sending asynchronous requests back to the server with only one additional argument:

linkTo('Users index', '/users', { remote: true })
// <a href="/users" data-remote="true" data-jsonp="renderUsers">Users index</a>

In the example above, the third argument ({ remote: true }), adds a data-remote="true" attribute to the a tag. Clicking on this link will send an asynchronous GET request to /users. The result will be executed as Javascript.

You can also specify a jsonp parameter to handle the response:

linkTo('Users index', '/users', { remote: true, jsonp: 'renderUsers' })
// <a href="/users" data-remote="true" data-jsonp="renderUsers">Users index</a>

The server will reply with json response { users: [ {}, {}, {} ] }, and this object will be passed as an argument to the renderUsers function (you will need to create this method in your users_controller):

renderUsers({users: [{},{},{}]});

You can also specify an anonymous function in the jsonp param:

{ jsonp: '(function (url) { location.href = url; })' }

If the server sent you "", the following javascript will be evaluated:

(function (url) { location.href = url; })("");

####Form Helpers

Forms are easyto create in Compound with the formFor helper.

formFor takes two arguments: resource and params, and returns a form object. As an added protection layer, forms also generate a csrf token which is verified in the conroller when the form is submitted.

The form object has the following availble helpers:

  • begin - opening <form> tag
  • end - closing <form> tag
  • input
  • label
  • textarea
  • submit
  • checkbox
  • select

Let's see an example of a form:

<% var form = formFor(user, { action: path_to.users }); %>
<%- form.begin() %>
  <%- form.label('name', 'Username') %> <%- form.input('name') %>
  <%- form.submit('Save') %>
<%- form.end() %>

Which ouputs:

<form action="/users/1" method="POST">
  <input type="hidden" name="_method" value="PUT" />
  <input type="hidden" name="authenticity_token" value="RANDOM_TOKEN" />
    <label for="name">Username</label>
    <input id="name" name="name" value="Anatoliy" />
    <input type="submit" value="Save" />

Quick Forms

Forms can also be created without requiring a resource with formTagBegin. This is the "light" version of the formFor helper which expects only one argument: params. Use this helper when you don't have a resource, but still want to be able to use simple method overriding and csrf protection tokens.

An example:

<%- formTagBegin({ action: path_to.users }); %>

<%- labelTag('First name', { name: 'name'}) %>
<%- inputTag('name', {value: 'Sascha'}) %>
<%- submitTag('Save') %>

<%- formTagEnd() %>

This will generate:

<form action="/users" method="POST">
  <input type="hidden" name="authenticity_token" value="RANDOM_TOKEN" />
    <label for="name">Username</label>
    <input id="name" name="name" value="" />
    <input type="submit" value="Save" />

Form Elements


Use the inputTag helper to create a form in a form where you don't have a resource.


<%- inputTag({name: 'creditCard', type: 'text', autocomplete: 'off'}) %>

This produces:

<input type="text" name="creditCard" autocomplete="off" />

When you are creating a form for an object that belongs to a resouce (like a user's name), use form.input.

<%- form.input('name', {options}) %>

Using the form.input helper creates the same html markup as inputTag, but it also add the value of the resource(in this case User) passed to form, and specifies it as a value="" html attribute:

<input name="name" value="Sascha" />
Select Boxes / Dropdown Lists

<select> boxes are easy to create if you follow this convention:

If your data is structured like this:

var states = [
 { name: 'California', _id: 3 },
 { name: 'Texas', _id: 47, selected: true },

...and your form is structured like this:

<%-'state', States, { fieldname: 'name', fieldvalue: '_id' }) %>

...your select list will look like this:

<select name="states">
  <option value="3">California</option>
  <option value="47" selected="selected">Texas</option>

Use the labelTag to create labels for your forms. Just like the inputTag above, there are two variations of the labelTag:

<%- labelTag('Text on label', {'for': 'attachedInput', style: 'font-size: 10px'}) %>
<%- form.label('attachedInput', 'Text on label', {style: 'font-size: 10px'}) %>

will both generate

<label for="attachedInput" style="font-size: 10px">Text on label</label>

When you have a resource, and/or if you are using i18n, use form.label.


When using internationalization (I18N), you can change the language of form labels on the fly. So, in the following example:

<%- form.label('name', 'Name', {style: 'font-size: 10px'}) %>

The second argument is omitted if i18n is turned on, and the desired value from locale file is used automatically. For example, if we have a es.yml ( Spanish ):

        name: nombre

...and form looks like:

<% var form = formFor(user); %>
<%- form.label('name') %>

...the result will be:

<label for="name">nombre</label>

i18n and DRY

Instead of manually adding label names, you could just use the locale file to store it for you, and everywhere you used a form, the label would use whatever you added to the locale file.

Create en.yml with the following:

      name: Name of user

And everywhere you had name in a form just use:

<%- form.label('name', {options}) %>
// <label for="name">Name of user</label>

Submit tags follow the same conventions as inputTag and form.input, but produce a submit button:

<%- submitTag('Submit data') %>
<%- form.submit('Submit data', {options}) %>
All Together Now

Let's put all the form helpers together, and create an address form with a select-list for States. Since we are using Twitter Bootstrap, let's also give it some markup to make it look pretty, too.

We are going to assume a couple things:

  • You have an Address model that has properties that match those of our form
  • That states is populated from a model, and passed from your controller to your view as a states object
  • You are using ejs as your template engine (this can be easily used with jade as well)
    <% var form= formFor(user, { id: 'nameForm', class: 'form-horizontal'}); %>
    <%- form.begin() %>

    <legend>Add Address</legend>

    <div class="control-group">
        <%- form.label( 'line_1', 'Address Line One', { 'class': 'control-label'}) %>
        <div class="controls">
            <%- form.input( 'line_1', { 'placeholder': '14000 Morris Ln', 'class': 'span4' }) %>

    <div class="control-group">
        <%- form.label( 'line_2', 'Address Line Two', { 'class': 'control-label'}) %>
        <div class="controls">
            <%- form.input( 'line_2', { 'placeholder': 'West Tower Plaza', 'class': 'span4' }) %>

    <div class="control-group">
        <%- form.label( 'city', 'City', { 'class': 'control-label'}) %>
        <div class="controls">
            <%- form.input( 'city', { 'placeholder': 'Los Angeles', 'class': 'span4' }) %>

    <div class="control-group">
        <%- form.label( 'states', 'State', { 'class': 'control-label'}) %>
        <div class="controls">
          <%-'state', States, { fieldname: 'name', fieldvalue: '_id' }) %>

    <div class="control-group">
        <%- form.label( 'county', 'County', { 'class': 'control-label'}) %>
        <div class="controls">
            <%- form.input( 'county', { 'placeholder': 'Jefferson', 'class': 'span4' }) %>

    <div class="control-group">
        <%- form.label( 'postal_code', 'Zip Code', { 'class': 'control-label'}) %>
        <div class="controls">
            <%- form.input( 'postal_code', { 'placeholder': '12345', 'class': 'span1' }) %>

    <div class="form-actions">
        <%- form.submit( '<i class="icon-ok icon-white"></i>', { class: 'btn btn-primary' }) %>
            <%- linkTo( 'Cancel', pathTo.addresses, { class: 'btn cancel' }) %>

    <%- form.end() %>

JavaScript & CSS

Calling CSS and JavaScript files in your views are easy.

For CSS:

stylesheet_link_tag('bootstrap', 'application', '...')

and for JavaScript:

javascript_include_tag('application', 'date-picker', '...') 

You do not need to include the file extension, because Compound will add it for you. All paths are relative to the /public/stylesheets and /public/javascripts directories, respectively.

If you want to include an external CSS or JavaScript, you can use the following format:


In the example above, the preceding http or https was ommitted, since Google's CDN provides both SSL and non-SSL versions of the file. Your browser will append the appropriate prefix.

Content Tags

[ coming soon ]

Custom Helpers

You can create your own custom helpers to perform simple tasks for your view's content. Helpers are found in the app/helpers directory, and they are named in following convention:


Where controller is the name of the controller (and therefore the directory where the views reside).

If you want a controller to affect the entire application, add it to the application_helper.js file.

Let's create a helper to format a date:

module.exports = {

  formatDate: function (date) {
    return date.toUTCString();



Assuming that we have a date varaiable available to our view, we can use our custom helper in view to format it like this:

Created on: <%- formatDate(date) %> 

##Authors Daniel Lochrie

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