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scaleApp is a JavaScript framework for scalable and maintainable One-Page-Applications
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What is scaleApp?

scaleApp is a tiny JavaScript framework for scalable One-Page-Applications. The framework allows you to easily create complex web applications.

Build Status

scaleApp is inspired by the talk of Nicholas C. Zakas - "Scalable JavaScript Application Architecture".


  • loose coupling of modules
  • small & simple
  • no serverside dependencies
  • modules can be tested separately
  • replacing any module without affecting other modules
  • extendable with plugins
  • browser and node.js support


scaleApp itself is very small but it can be extended with plugins. There already are some plugins available (e.g. mvc, i18n, etc.) but you can easily define your own one.

Download latest version

Quick Start

Link scaleApp.min.js in your HTML file:

<script src="scaleApp.min.js"></script>

If you're going to use it with node:

sudo npm -g install scaleapp
var sa = require("scaleapp")

Register modules

scaleApp.register( "myModuleId", function( sb ){
  return {
    init:    function(){ /*...*/ },
    destroy: function(){ /*...*/ }

As you can see the module is a function that takes the sandbox as a parameter and returns an object that has two functions init and destroy. Of course your module can be any usual class with those two functions. Here an coffee-script example:

class MyGreatModule

  constructor: (@sb) ->
  init: -> alert "Hello world!"
  destroy: -> alert "Bye bye!"

scaleApp.register "myGreatModule", MyGreatModule

The init function is called by the framework when the module is supposed to start. The destroy function is called when the module has to shut down.

Asynchronous initialization

You can also init or destroy you module in a asynchronous way:

class MyAsyncModule

  constructor: (@sb) ->

  init: (options, done) ->
    doSomethingAsync (err) ->
      done err
  destroy: (done) ->
    doSomethingAsync (err) ->
      done err

scaleApp.register "myGreatModule", MyGreatModule
end -> alert "now the initialization is done"
scaleApp.start "myGreatModule", callback: end

Unregister modules

It's simple:


Start modules

After your modules are registered, start your modules:

scaleApp.start( "myModuleId" );
scaleApp.start( "anOtherModule" );

Start options

You may also want to start several instances of a module:

scaleApp.start( "myModuleId", {instanceId: "myInstanceId" } );
scaleApp.start( "myModuleId", {instanceId: "anOtherInstanceId" });

If you pass a callback function it will be called after the module started:

scaleApp.start( "myModuleId", {callback: function(){ /*...*/ } );

All other options you pass are available through the sandbox:

scaleApp.register( "mod", function(s){
  sb = s
  return {
    init:    function(){ alert( sb.options.myProperty ); },
    destroy: function(){ /*...*/ }

scaleApp.start("mod", {myProperty: "myValue"});

If all your modules just needs to be instanciated once, you can simply starting them all:


To start some special modules at once you can pass an array with the module names:


You can also pass a callback function:

  // do something when all modules were initialized


It's obvious:


Listing modules and instances

lsModules()   // returns an array of all registered module IDs
lsInstances() // returns an array of all running instance IDs


If the module needs to communicate with others, you can use the publish and subscribe methods.


The publish function takes three parameters whereas the last one is optional:

  • topic : the channel name you want to publish to
  • data : the data itself
  • publishReference : If the data should be passed as a reference to the other modules this parameter has to be set to true. By default the data object gets copied so that other modules can't influence the original object.

The publish function is accessible through the sandbox:

sb.publish( "myEventTopic", myData );


A message handler could look like this:

var messageHandler = function( data, topic ){
  switch( topic ){
    case "somethingHappend":
      sb.publish( "myEventTopic", processData(data) );
    case "aNiceTopic":
      justProcess( data );

... and it can listen to one or more channels:

sb.subscribe( "somthingHappend", messageHandler );
sb.subscribe( "aNiceTopic", messageHandler );


i18n - Multi language UIs

Link scaleApp.i18n.min.js in your HTML file:

<script src="scaleApp.min.js"></script>
<script src="scaleApp.i18n.min.js"></script>

If your application has to support multiple languages, you can pass an objects containing the localized strings with the options object.

var myLocalization =
  en: { welcome: "Welcome", ... },
  de: { welcome: "Willkommen", ... },
scaleApp.register( "moduleId", myModule, { i18n: myLocalization } );

Now you can access these strings easily trough the sandbox using the _ method. Depending on which language is set globally it returns the corresponding localized string.


You can set the language globally by using the setLanguage method:

scaleApp.i18n.setLanguage( "de" );

mvc - very simple MVC

Here is a sample use case for using the MVC plugin (in coffeescript).

class MyModel extends scaleApp.Model name: "Noname"
class MyView extends scaleApp.View

  constructor: (@model, @sb, @template) -> super @model

  # The render method gets automatically called when the model changes
  # The 'getContainer' method is provided by the dom plugin
  render: -> @sb.getContainer.innerHTML = @template @model
class MyController extends scaleApp.Controller

  changeName: (name) -> @model.set "name", name
registerModule "myModule", (@sb) ->

  init: (opt) ->

    # You can use any template engine you like. Here it's
    # just a simple function
    template = (model) -> "<h1>Hello #{}</h1>"

    @m = new MyModel
    @v = new MyView @m, @sb, @template
    @c = new MyController @m, @v

    # listen to the "changeName" event
    @sb.subscribe "changeName", @c.changeName, @c

  destroy: ->
    delete @c
    delete @v
    delete @m
    @sb.unsubscribe @
scaleApp.publish "changeName", "Peter"

Other plugins

  • dom - basic DOM manipulations (currently only used for getContainer)
  • util - some helper functions

Write your own plugin


  # set the ID of your plugin
  id: "myPlgin"

  # define the core extensions
    myCoreFunction: -> alert "Hello core plugin"
    myBoringProperty: "boring"

  # define the sandbox extensions
  sandbox: (@sb) ->
    appendFoo: -> @sb.getContainer.append "foo"


scaleApp.myCoreFunction()   # alerts "Hello core plugin"

class MyModule
  constructor: (@sb) ->
  init: -> @sb.appendFoo()  # appends "foo" to the container
  destroy: ->


scaleApp is inspired by the talk of Nicholas C. Zakas - "Scalable JavaScript Application Architecture" (Slides). There also is a little Article that describes the basic ideas.

Unlike his recommendations to abstract DOM manipulations and separating the framework from the base library, scaleApp does not implement any DOM methods. Just use one of your favorite libs (e.g. jQuery) as base library. Of course you can also implement all your needed DOM methods into the DOM plugin ( for a more clean and scaleable architecture.


cake build

if you want all plugins included

cake build:full


jasmine-node is required (npm install -g jasmine-node) for running the tests.

cake test


WARNING: the demo is out of date

You can try out the sample application that is build on scaleApp. Also have a look at the source code.


scaleApp is licensed under the MIT license. For more information have a look at LICENCE.txt.

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