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Please note I cannot release a gem version of iridium until rake-pipeline releases a new version. This means you must specify git dependencies in your Gemfile.

First create a Gemfile

source ''

gem 'iridium', :github => 'radiumsoftware/iridium'
gem 'hydrogen', :github => 'radiumsoftware/hydrogen'
gem 'rake-pipeline', :github => 'livingsocial/rake-pipeline'

Now bootstrap:

$ bundle
$ bundle exec iridium g:application

Don't forget you must use bundle exec!

Iridium: A Toolchain for JS Application Development

Iridium is a tool to help you with modern Javascript development. It's here to make you a faster developer and solve common problems. It focuses primarily on:

  • CLI driven interactions
  • Focus on JS/CSS/HTML
  • Make JS testable

Sensible Defaults

Iridium makes choices for you by default. These choices work well together. All Iridium apps get all this right out of the box:

  • Coffeescript
  • Sass
  • Spriting
  • jQuery for DOM manipulation
  • Handlebars for templating
  • Minispade for simple modules and require
  • Qunit or Jasmine for unit tests
  • GZip assets in production
  • Fully cache all assets in production
  • Generate an HTML5 cache manifest for production
  • i18n

Getting Started

The first step is to use the built-in generator to create the structure:

$ iridium generate app todos

Now your application is ready. You can use the built in development server to edit your JS/CSS files and reload the browser.

$ cd todos
$ iridium server
>> Thin web server (v1.4.1 codename Chromeo)
>> Maximum connections set to 1024
>> Listening on, CTRL+C to stop

Navigate to http://localhost:9292 in your browser and you'll see a blank canvas.

Writing Javascript

Iridium compiles all .coffee files to .js. All files inside lib/ and app/. All files inside app are wrapped in minispade modules. The module name comes from the file name. require calls are rewritten to use minispade.require. Files inside app/config and app/config/initializers are also compiled, but not wrapped in modules. Files inside vendor code are not wrapped in modules. All of the javascript + templates is concatenated into a single application.js. The compiled application.js has this order:

  1. app/config/
  2. Vendored javascript in the specified order
  3. The file in app/config matching the current environment. Example: app/config/ in development or app/config/ in tests.
  4. All files in app/config/initializers wrapped in IFFEs
  5. All the files from lib/ wrapped in minispade modules
  6. All the code in app/javascripts wrapped in minispade modules
  7. I18n code
  8. All handlebears templates compiled into Javascript.

You can inspect the final application.js to verify everything is working as you expected.

Here are some examples:

Path Module Name require
app/javascripts/foo.js foo require('foo')
app/javascripts/controllers/foo_contoller controllers/foo_controller require('controllers/foo_controller')
lib/framework.js framework require('framework')

Vendored Javascripts

Files in vendor/javascripts are included before your application code. All files in this directory are loaded before your app code in alphabetical order unless an order is specified. You don't have to specify the order for all files. You can declare files that should be included before all others and not worry about the others. For example, you have 10 files in vendor/javascripts. You only care that minispade, jquery, and jquery_ui are loaded first. All the other files will be included after those.

# application.rb
Todos.configure do
  # load minispade, jquery, jquery_ui, then all other vendored files
  # Note, the symbol refers to the file name without extension. 
  # example: :minispade => vendor/javascripts/minispade.js

  config.dependencies.load :minispade, :jquery, :jquery_ui

Loading External Scripts

You may want to pull in external scripts via CDN instead of bundling them inside your application. Configured scripts are written in as <script> tags before your application code. Here's an example:

# application.rb
Todos.configure do
  config.scripts.load ""

Using SASS

Everything works as you expect. All .scss or .sass files are compiled correctly. You can use @import as you'd expect. app/stylesheets is added to the sass load path.

Using Sprites

Create a directory for each set of sprites you need. Then @import it as usual with compass. Here's an example. Create a directory named app/sprites/icons. Dump all the individual icon png's in that directory. Inside your stylesheet you can write: import('icons/*.png') to generate the icons sprite.

Writing Templates

Handlebars templates are named using the same semantics as application javascript. All files *.hanlebars and *.hbs in app/templates are processed. The templates are also precompiled depending on the environment.

Path Template Name
app/templates/dashboard.hbs dashboard
app/templates/dashboard/settings.hbs dashboard/settings

Running Tests

Iridium makes testing your JS easy. It does all the manual work for you. It compiles all the tests into tests.js and tests.html. You open tests.html in your browser or use it with phantomjs. The test command will compile your tests and check them with phantomjs. Qunit and Jasmine are supported out of the box.

$ iridium test

# Running Tests:


2998 Test(s), 2998 Passed, 0 Error(s)

You can use iridium test --debug if you want to see console.log messages in the report.


Coffescript is generated by default. You can write in Javscript if you like. Iridium can run all your files through JSLint if you like.

$ iridium lint app/javascripts/app.js
$ iridium lint app/javascripts/models/* app/javascripts/controllers/*
$ iridium lint app/javascripts/**/*.js # this is the default!

Localization (I18n)

Iridium supports localization via i18n.js. The i18n implementation is taken from here. All files in app/locales/*.yml are merged into i18n translations. Here's an example:

# app/locales/en.yml
  greeting: Hello!
# app/locales/fi.yml
  greeting: Terve!
I18n.locale = 'en'
I18n.t('greeting') // "Hello!"
I18n.locale = 'fi'
I18n.t('gretting') // "Terve!"

Advanced Configuration

Iridium is written with Javascript developers in mind. They may not have experience in ruby. I've tried as much as I can to shield some complexity from newbies. Each part of Iridium is hidden by default, but can be generated and customized.

Configuration, Middleware, and Proxying

Your Iridium app is served as a rack app. You can inject your own middleware as you like. Here's an example:

# application.rb

YourApp.configure do
  # config.middleware mimics the Rack::Builder api
  config.middleware.use MyCustomMiddleware

Iridium also has basic proxy support for handling your backend API. You should only use this proxy if the API does not support CORs or there is some other issue with it. You may want to use this proxy in test mode to point your app to a test server intead. Here's an example:

# application.rb
YourApp.configure do
  proxy "/api", ""

Proxies can be overwritten per env like this:

# application.rb
YourApp.configure do
  proxy "/api", ""

# config/test.rb
YourApp.configure do
  proxy "/api", ""

Customizing The Unit Test Loader

Iridium uses a generated HTML file to load your test code into. You can override this behavior by creating: test/support/unit_test_loader.html.erb.

Here's what the default ERB template looks like:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <title>Unit Tests</title>

    <!--[if lt IE 9]>
      <script src=""></script>

    <% app.config.dependencies.each do |script| %>
      <script src="<%= script.url %>"></script>
    <% end %>

    <script src="application.js"></script>


JS applications are simply a collection of static assets in a diretory. This is trival to serve up with Rack. Iridium apps are rack apps for serving up the compiled directory. The server also handles caching, proxying, and custom middleware. All you need to do is create a file and you can deploy your app! You can also deploy your app for free on Heroku out of the box.

require File.expand_path('../application', __FILE__)

run MyApp

Or if you don't care about that, you can run the generator:

$ cd my_app
$ iridium generate rackup


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Added some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request