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Getting Started

Welcome to Qooxdoo! Qooxdoo is a one-stop javascript framework that helps you write single page web applications in pure JavaScript without touching HTML or CSS.

Qooxdoo applications are written in javascript. The qooxdoo framework is a large, well structured class library composed from both graphical and non graphical element you can use to build your applications. The following guide will show how this works in practice.

This guide takes less than 10 minutes to complete.


Before you can load a qooxdoo application in your browser, it has to be compiled. The compilation step takes care including all the qooxdoo classes into your application that were referenced either directly or indirectly from your code.

The qooxdoo compiler is called qx and runs in nodes.js. Qooxdoo requires Node.js version 8.x or 10.x. to work.

To check your version, run node -v in a terminal/console window.

If you don't have node installed, or your version is too old, either go to or use the nvm system to get up and running.

Node comes with its own package manager called npm which you can now use to install the qooxdoo framework and the qooxdoo compiler. There are two ways to setup qooxdoo. You can install it in the same directory as your qooxdoo project or you can install it globally.

Global installation

The following command line installs the qooxdoo compiler so that it becomes available anywhere via your path settings.

$ npm install -g @qooxdoo/compiler

To start the qooxdoo compiler type

$ qx

Local Installation

Both the compiler and the qooxdoo framework are evolving, so if you are writing a large application which you may have to maintain for months and years to come, you will probably be better of to install qooxdoo together with the application code.

$ mkdir myapp
$ cd myapp
$ npm init
$ npm install --save-dev @qooxdoo/compiler
$ ls
node_modules package-lock.json package.json

To start the qooxdoo compiler type

$ npx qx

Looking at the myapp directory you find two files: package.json and package-lock.json as well as a folder node_modules. Add the package.json and package-lock.json to your project files. This will allow you later to re-install the exact same version of the compiler and of the framework by typing npm i without the need to keep a copy of the node_modules folder around.

!> Save some keystrokes by setting an alias for qx by setting alias qx='npx qx'!

The First Application

The qooxdoo compiler is not only a compiler. It can also provide little template apps and it can act as a webserver so that you can use your browser to access the application. To get started, lets create a little application and then have a look at its code. The create command in the qooxdoo compiler lets you quickly produce a simple skeleton app. The following command line assumes that you have setup a local copy of the qooxdoo compiler in the myapp subdirectory.

$ cd myapp
$ npx qx create myapp --type desktop --noninteractive --out=.
$ npx qx serve

The serve command will compile the application and then also make it available on localhost. Use your web browser to open http://localhost:8080.

The Qooxdoo Way

An application which displays a single button. Ok, not all that impressive. A few lines of HTML and CSS could do that too. So how does qooxdoo do it? Open source/class/myapp/Application.js and have a look at the application code. Here is a stripped down version of the code with just the essential lines:

qx.Class.define("myapp.Application", {
  extend : qx.application.Standalone,
  members : {
    main : function() {
      this.base(arguments); // call the super class
      let button1 = new qx.ui.form.Button("Click me");
      let doc = this.getRoot();
      doc.add(button1, {left: 100, top: 50});
      button1.addListener("execute", function() {
        alert("Hello World!");

If you have worked with javascript before you may find that it looks like javascript but also different from most javascript you have seen to date. This is because qooxdoo introduces both a rich set of widgets as well as class based object orientation into the language. There is quote a lot of documentation on these toppics in the next few sections.

And yes, this is the complete program, there is neither HTML nor CSS. The qooxdoo framework creates all that on the fly as the program is started. There is also a powerful theming system which lets you write your own themes to give your application a distinctive look.

Try editing the file a bit. You will notice that the server detects your modifications and recompiles the application automatically.

Reading on

With the first mini application up and running you are now ready for bigger things. You can either start reading the theory parts of the documentation where we explore in detail how the qooxdoo class system works or you can try some more hands-on by working through the tutorial.

If you ever get stuck, feel free to open the chat window by pressing the button in the bottom right hand corner of the documentation.

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