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John Hann edited this page Jul 15, 2014 · 9 revisions


The AMD specification allows loading of non-module javascript or other resources such as html templates, css files, and json files. It does this via plugins. Plugin dependencies are delineated by an exclamation character ("!") as follows (without the spaces):

plugin-id ! resource-id

"resource-id" typically looks very module-like and the loader will interpret it as a module id (unless the plugin tells the loader it shouldn't). Some typical plugin references:

wire!mylib/page-spec.js // check out the awesome [wire.js](!

curl.js <3 plugins!

curl.js supports the AMD specification for plugins. This means you can use any compatible plugin module and use it with curl.js. curl.js also comes with its own collection of excellent plugins. The following plugins are included with curl.js 0.6 and more are in the works:

  • js! - loads non-AMD javascript files (non-blocking!)
    • supports ordering of javascript files
    • can prefetch, but not execute a file for later execution
  • link! - loads css files using a LINK element (non-blocking!)
    • ultra-fast and light
  • text! - loads text files using XHR (non-blocking!)
    • for cross-domain text resouces, consider using JSON-P
  • domReady! - waits for the dom to be ready for manipulation
    • there is also a "curl/domReady" module if you prefer to receive a callback directly
  • async! - defers resolution of an AMD module that returns a promise
    • module does not have to be a true promise: any module that returns a then(callback, errback) method will work
  • css! - a more flexible css loader
    • allows css to be built into javascript (when using cram)
    • avoids 31-stylesheet limit in IE6-8
    • waits for css files to be active before proceeding (option)

A very simple example of a module using plugins:

    ['mylib/BaseView', 'text!mylib/CoolView.html', 'css!mylib/CoolView.css'],
    function (BaseView, template) {
        // This is our custom view controller, CoolView, that extends BaseView
        // It comes with it's own stylesheet (CoolView.css) and
        // template (CoolView.html).  Note: we don't need to include the
        // css resource in the function signature above if we don't
        // want to access it directly.
        function CoolView (domNode) {
            // attach our template to the view controller
            this.template = template;
            // call the inherited constructor
            BaseView.apply(this, domNode);

Plugins may also be used during the bootstrap phase of your web app:

curl({ baseUrl: '/js/' })
    // load our non-module javascript and css
    .next(['js!libs/jQuery1.6/jQuery.js!order', 'js!libs/jQueryUI1.3/jQueryUI.js!order', 'link!css/screen.css'])
    // load our bootstrap module and wait for dom-ready
    .next(['mylib/boot', 'domReady!'], function (boot) {
        // go!

Notice that the css and domReady dependencies aren't referenced in the callback function. This is typical with css resources and domReady. It's unusual to need a reference to a stylesheet. domReady! simply waits for the document to be ready and then returns nothing (empty object). Therefore, these can be safely omitted from the dependency list.

Plugin options

Some plugins have optional features. These may be applied where the plugin resource is defined or may be defined globally. Global options are specified in a "plugins" property of the curl config object as follows:

    plugins: {
        // js! plugin global options
        js: {
            prefetch: false
        // css! plugin global options
        css: {
            cssNoWait: true
    baseUrl: '/path/to/myapp/'

Please refer to each plugin for information about its options.

Also, see the Undersanding Paths document for more information about specifying special paths for plugin-based resources.

Build your own plugins!

It's incredibly easy to create your own plugins. Depending on the complexity of your plugin and whether you want it to build resources into the compiled javascript files, you'll only need to implement up to 4 API methods.

TODO: page about creating plugins

Plugin namespacing

Plugins are just regular AMD modules that expose a handful of standard methods. However, in the examples above, the plugins aren't namespaced even though the plugins reside in curl's folder hierarchy at curl/plugin/. So why don't we have to reference plugins using their full namespace like in the following define()?

define(['curl/plugin/text!mylib/CoolView.html'], function (template) {});

This is because curl.js has a convenience config property, pluginPath, that defaults to "curl/plugin/". All "naked" plugins (un-namespaced) are assumed to be located in the pluginPath folder. Not only is this convenient, but it also provides an implmentation-agnostic method for referencing plugins.

Not all AMD loaders that support plugins will have a "pluginPath" config property. They should, however, have a way to support un-namespaced plugins.

You cannot mix the pluginPath property with plugins that reside at the root of your application. The reason for this restriction is that modules at the top level of your application look "naked". curl.js will assume that references to the top-level plugin should be prefixed with pluginPath.

Therefore, if you create your own plugins (or use some from other sources) and want to reference them "naked", you have several options:

  1. place your plugin in the same folder as curl.js's plugins, or
  2. change "pluginPath" to point at your plugins folder (and move curl.js's plugins there if you use them), or
  3. use the "paths" config property to translate plugin paths like this:
    paths: {
        myplugin: 'mylib/plugins/myplugin'
}, ['myplugin!path/to/cool/resource'], bootFunc);
  1. place your plugins' modules at the root of your application (i.e. where baseUrl points) and place a "noop" paths reference to them like this:
    paths: {
        myplugin: 'myplugin' // noop
}, ['myplugin!path/to/cool/resource'], bootFunc);
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