Screendoor's client-side form rendering code.
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Latest commit 80fe6ec Nov 3, 2016 @ajb ajb New schema (#136)

formrenderer-base status bower

formrenderer-base is a JavaScript library for rendering an HTML form from a JSON definition, and persisting form submissions back to a server via AJAX. This is the library used for rendering forms inside of Screendoor, and as such, it's pretty tightly coupled to Screendoor's server API. There's a couple different ways this library can be used:

Ways to use it

  1. Embedding a Screendoor form on your website. This is the primary supported use of this library.
  2. Rendering forms without Screendoor. You could use formbuilder to let your users build forms, and then render them with this library. You'll have to override all save-related functionality that talks to Screendoor by default.

This documentation will be focused on the former, while the latter should be considered unsupported.

Getting started

Include the formrenderer JS and CSS:

<script src='//'></script>
<link href='//' rel='stylesheet' />

Note: This file will automatically update with each new release of formrenderer. If you're going to customize anything, you should consider replacing "/1/" with a specific version number. (You can find the current version number in a badge at the top of this file.)

These files contain all of the necessary dependencies with the exception of jQuery, which must be loaded before formrenderer.js.

Once you're ready to render a form:

<form data-formrenderer></form>

  new FormRenderer({
    "project_id": "w90Xe5IM5IlP7FqU", // Your project's embed token

Styling the form

Because formrenderer is implemented in JavaScript, without the use of iframes, your embedded form should adopt the look-and-feel of your website. However, some users may wish to customize or tweak the appearance of their form. We recommend starting with the following:

  1. After instantiating the form with new FormRenderer(...), set the variable FormRenderer.BUTTON_CLASS to the CSS class that your website uses for buttons. (For example, if you're using Bootstrap, you would write FormRenderer.BUTTON_CLASS = 'btn btn-primary'.)
  2. Override formrenderer's default CSS by using your browser's "inspect element" feature to view the CSS class names, or by discovering them in main.scss.

Customization options

option description default
project_id Your Screendoor project's embed token, which can be found on your embed code page.
onReady A function to call once the form is fully-loaded
target jQuery selector for the element in which to render your form. Can also be a DOM node. '[data-formrenderer]'
enablePages If the form contains multiple pages, render them. Set to false to render all response fields on the same page. true
validateImmediately If the form is initialized with invalid data, immediately show errors. false
afterSubmit Can be any of the following:
  • a function, which will be called after submission
  • a URL, which the user will be sent to after submission
  • an Object that looks like { method: 'page', html: 'Your custom HTML' }, which will be rendered where the form once was
Formrenderer will attempt to load the HTML from your Screendoor project's success page. (If you have added a confirmation email to your project, please note that afterSubmit does not override the confirmation email.)
scrollToPadding Formrenderer uses window.scrollTo in order to "jump" to the correct element on the page. Sometimes, you might have a fixed header that needs to be accounted for when calculating a scroll position. If so, you can set this value to the height of your fixed header. 0
responderLanguage If you configured your Screendoor project to send email notifications to your respondents, and you want these notifications sent in a language other than the default (English), set this option to the correct language code. Currently, the options are en, es, it, fr, and de. en
plugins Enabled plugins (see below) ['Autosave', 'WarnBeforeUnload', 'BottomBar', 'ErrorBar', 'SavedSession']


FormRenderer exposes a simple plugin system that allows for extending its core functionality. (It even comes with a few that are enabled by default -- see above in the "Options" section.)

You can add or remove plugins using the following convenience methods:

// -> will look for FormRenderer.Plugins.Foo when initializing a form

// -> forms created will no longer include the ErrorBar plugin

Additional plugins

Name Description
BookmarkDraft Appends a "Finish this later" link to the bottom of your form, which display a URL that allows a respondent to return to their unfinished draft.
PageState Appends the current page to window.location.hash, which allows respondents to refresh the page without returning to the first page of the form.


Since FormRenderer inherits the Backbone.View prototype, you can listen for the following events using the standard Backbone syntax.

event description arguments
ready The form has been loaded from the server and initialization is complete.
errorSaving There was an error saving the form. (xhr)
afterSave Triggered after the form has been saved.
afterSubmit Triggered after the form has been submitted.
afterValidate Triggered after validation of a single field or the entire form.
afterValidate:one Triggered after the validation of a single field. (model)
afterValidate:all Triggered after the validation of the entire form.
viewRendered A Backbone view has been rendered. Useful if you need to change certain DOM nodes before they're rendered. (view)


If you're ready to dive into the full power of formrenderer and need some inspiration, take a look at some examples in the wiki.

Browser Support

Most notably, formrenderer lacks support for IE9 and earlier due to its reliance on CORS requests to the Screendoor API. Users will see an error notifying them that they'll need to visit the form on Screendoor in order to respond.


All language strings have been placed in a FormRenderer.t object, and the default distribution contains language files for English only. To render a form in another language, simply modify or replace the strings inside of FormRenderer.t.

If you simply need to add translations to your embedded form, include the following Javascript after formrenderer.js:

<script src="//"></script>


Getting started

You'll need node and npm installed.

  1. script/bootstrap
  2. Open examples/index.html
  3. grunt all to build your changes, or grunt watch to automatically build when a file is changed
  4. grunt test to run tests

To push translations to PhraseApp

Warning: only run this from the master branch.

  1. PHRASEAPP_ACCESS_TOKEN=XXX phraseapp push

To pull new translations from PhraseApp

  1. PHRASEAPP_ACCESS_TOKEN=XXX phraseapp pull
  2. grunt all

To release a new version

  1. script/release X.X.X