Starting Blocks is a framework for ajax page, transitions and blocks written in vanilla JS, made by Rezo Zero.
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Latest commit 0208ee2 Feb 13, 2019

Starting Blocks

Starting Blocks is a framework for ajax page, transitions and blocks written in vanilla JS, made by Rezo Zero.

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  • Pjax : fetch pages and handling History state
  • Transition manager : enhance your website with custom page transitions
  • Page/Blocks pattern : build dynamic and interactive sections (map, slideshow, Ajax forms, canvas…)

And more...

  • In view detection
  • Splashscreen
  • Prefetch
  • Cache

Install with Yarn or NPM

yarn add starting-blocks
npm install starting-blocks --save


Starting Blocks is bundled with NPM in order to use native ES6 import syntax. We highly recommend to use a module bundler and to write your code in ES6 syntax. If you use a bundler like Webpack, it will be able to remove dead code (i.e. when a Starting Blocks service is not used) if you use curly brace syntax.

Minimal configuration :

import StartingBlocks from 'starting-blocks'
import HomePage from './pages/HomePage'
import UsersBlock from './blocks/UsersBlock'

// Create a new Starting Blocks instance
const startingBlocks = new StartingBlocks({
    // ...options

// For each page or block sections: you must map the service name 
// with the data-node-type attribute (see DOM Structure section).
// «c» parameter stands for Starting-Blocks service container

// Register page services factory
startingBlocks.instanceFactory('HomePage', c => {
    return new HomePage(c)

// Register block services factory
startingBlocks.instanceFactory('UsersBlock', c => {
    return new UsersBlock(c)

// 🚀 Boot the whole thing


Starting Blocks use a dependency injection container to delegate object creation and handle dependencies. You can use or provide these standard services to enhance your website :

Service name  Init type Ready to use Dependencies Description
Pjax  bootableProvider true History Enable Ajax navigation on all your website internal links
History  provider true
Prefetch  bootableProvider true Pjax Prefetch links on mouse enter (useful with Pjax)
CacheProvider  provider true Cache ajax requests (useful with Pjax)
Splashscreen  bootableProvider false Add a splash screen for the first init
TransitionFactory  bootableProvider false Instantiate page transitions objects according to your Pjax context


import StartingBlocks, { History, Pjax } from 'starting-blocks'

// ...Instantiate starting blocks

// Add service
startingBlocks.provider('History', History)
startingBlocks.bootableProvider('Pjax', Pjax)

// ...Boot

⚠️ Don't forget to prepare your DOM adding specific data attributes and required classes, see DOM structure section


We implemented a Splashscreen service that is triggered at the first website launch. Create your own class that extends our AbstractSplashscreen:

import { AbstractSplashscreen, Dispatcher, EventTypes } from 'starting-blocks'

export default class Splashscreen extends AbstractSplashscreen {
    constructor (container) {
        super(container, 'Splashscreen')
        //... custom values

    // You need to override this method
    hide () {
        return new Promise(resolve => {
            // custom logic, animations...
import Splashscreen from './Splashscreen'

// ...Instantiate starting blocks

// Add service
startingBlocks.bootableProvider('Splashscreen', Splashscreen)

// ...Boot


When AJAX navigation is enabled, transitions are triggered to manage animations between pages. To choose a custom transition, you can set data-transition attribute with a transition name on each link:

<a href="/contact" data-transition="fade">Contact</a>

Then, create a TransitionFactory class and register it into Starting Blocks as a service. In this class, you must implement getTransition (previousState, state) method. This method will be called on each transition and will give you access to history state informations:

  • previousState and state
    • transitionName : data-transition attributes of the clicked link
    • context : equal to "history", "link"


// src/factories/TransitionFactory.js
import DefaultTransition from './transitions/DefaultTransition';
import FadeTransition from './transitions/FadeTransition';

export default class TransitionFactory {
    getTransition (previousState, state) {
        switch (state.transitionName) {
            case 'fade':
                return new FadeTransition()
                return new DefaultTransition()

How to register your Transition factory service?

import TransitionFactory from '../factories/TransitionFactory'

// ...Instantiate starting blocks

// Add service
startingBlocks.provider('TransitionFactory', TransitionFactory)

// ...Boot

To create a new transition you need to write a new class extending our AbstractTransition boilerplate. Implement start() method and use Promises to manage your animation timeline. ⚠️ Be careful, you have to wait for this.newPageLoading Promise resolution to make sure the new page DOM is ready. Then, you have access to old and new Page instances.

Example with fade animation (we use TweenLite from gsap for this example):

// src/transitions/FadeTransition.js
import AbstractTransition from '../AbstractTransition'
import { TweenLite } from 'gsap'

 * Fade Transition example. Fade Out / Fade In between old and new pages.
export default class FadeTransition extends AbstractTransition {
     * Entry point of the animation
     * Automatically called on init()
    start () {
        // Wait new content and the end of fadeOut animation
        // this.newPageLoading is a Promise which is resolved when the new content is loaded
        Promise.all([this.newPageLoading, this.fadeOut()])
            // then fadeIn the new content

     * Fade out the old content.
     * @returns {Promise}
    fadeOut () {
        return new Promise(resolve => {
  , 0.4, {
                alpha: 0,
                onComplete: resolve

     * Fade in the new content
    fadeIn () {
       // Add display: none on the old container = 'none'

       // Prepare new content css properties for the fade animation = 'visible' = '0'
        // Scroll to the top
        document.documentElement.scrollTop = 0
        document.body.scrollTop = 0

        // fadeIn the new content container, 0.4, {
            autoAlpha: 1,
            onComplete: () => {
                // IMPORTANT: Call this method at the end

DOM structure

This ES6 javascript framework has been designed to handle either complete HTML responses or partial HTML responses to lighten backend process and bandwidth. One of the most useful Page and Block property is rootElement that will always refer to the current page/block main-section.

In a page context, rootElement is the DOM element which is extracted at the end of each completed AJAX requests. When it detects that HTTP response is partial, it initializes rootElement using the whole response content. Every new DOM content will be appended to the #sb-wrapper HTML section in order to enable cross-transitions between old and new content.

In a block context, rootElement will store the DOM element with [data-node-type] attribute.

When Pjax service is used and window.fetch supported, all links inside document body are listened to fetch pages asynchronously and make transitions.

To declare a partial DOM section as the rootElement you must add some classes and data to your HTML tags.

<!-- Page (HomePage.js) -->
<div id="page-content-home"
     data-meta-title="Home page">
    <!-- Block (GalleryBlock.js)  -->
    <div id="home-page-gallery"
        <img src="" alt="Display me…">
  • id attribute is obviously mandatory as it will be used to update your navigation and some other parts of your website. Make sure that your ID is not the same as to your data-node-name.
  • page-content class is essential in order to extract your DOM element during AJAX request. You can customize this class name in StartingBlock options (pageClass: "page-content").
  • data-node-type attribute will be used to map your element to the matching JS class (in this example: HomePage.js). Every class must extend the AbstractPage or AbstractBlock class. Then you have to declare your pages and blocks services in your Starting Blocks instance via instanceFactory method.
  • data-node-name is used to name your page object and to rename body class and ID after it.
  • data-is-home: 0 or 1
  • data-meta-title attribute will be used to change your new page title (document.title), it can be used in other cases such as some social network modules which require a clean page-title.

You’ll find index.html and page1.html examples files. You can even test them by spawning a simple server with npm run serve command. Then go to your favorite browser and type http://localhost:8080.


Each custom page needs to extend our AbstractPage class to be registered as a service in your Starting Blocks instance. Be careful that data-node-type attribute matches with your service declaration. By default Starting Blocks will instantiate the DefaultPage class if no data-node-type attribute is found.

Best practice : Create your own DefaultPage with your common features then override the default service to use it as a common base for your custom pages :

import { AbstractPage } from 'starting-blocks'

export default class CustomDefaultPage extends AbstractPage {
    //... common methods

// Custom page example
export default class HomePage extends CustomDefaultPage {
    //... home page custom methods
import CustomDefaultPage from './pages/CustomDefaultPage'

// ...Instantiate starting blocks

// Override the DefaultPage service with your own
startingBlocks.instanceFactory('DefaultPage', c => {
    return new CustomDefaultPage(c)
// ...Boot

Page overridable methods

Method Description
onResize On viewport resize, this method is debounced.


A block is a section of your page. It can be a Slideshow, an ajax form, a map... Starting Blocks automatically maps those DOM elements with a custom ES6 class in the same way the future CustomElementRegistry will perform. Create your own class extending our AbstractBlock or AbstractInViewBlock then register them as a service. data-node-type attribute content and your service name must match.

Common block overridable methods in AbstractBlock

Method Description
onResize On viewport resize, this method is debounced of 50ms.
onPageReady Triggered once all page blocks have been created.

In-view block overridable methods in AbstractInViewBlock

Method Description
onIntersectionCallback Triggered when in view block state changed (in or out).
onScreen Called when block is in the viewport.
offScreen Called when block is out of the viewport.

AbstractInViewBlock extends AbstractBlock and thus implements each of its methods too.


You can pass some options when instantiating StartingBlocks object:

Parameter Type Default Description
wrapperId string 'sb-wrapper'
pageBlockClass string 'page-block'
pageClass string 'page-content'
objectTypeAttr string 'data-node-type'
noAjaxLinkClass string 'no-ajax-link'
noPrefetchClass string 'no-prefetch'


Const name Event name Description
BEFORE_PAGE_LOAD SB_BEFORE_PAGE_LOAD Before Router initialize XHR request to load new page.
AFTER_PAGE_LOAD SB_AFTER_PAGE_LOAD After window.fetch XHR request succeeded.
AFTER_DOM_APPENDED SB_AFTER_DOM_APPENDED After Router appended new page DOM to wrapperId.
AFTER_PAGE_BOOT SB_AFTER_PAGE_BOOT After Router create new page instance.


To generate documentation, you’ll at least NodeJS v4.4 and to install ESDoc.

npm run doc;

Documentation will be available in doc/ folder.

Naming conventions

We dropped jQuery in Starting-blocks v5 and we changed several variables names. We suffixed every DOMElement variable with Element, Container, Elements or Containers.


let mainContainer = document.getElementById('main-container')
let imageContainer = document.getElementById('image-container')
let imageElements = imageContainer.querySelectorAll('.image')

Improving Starting Blocks

To work locally on Starting Blocks, you’ll find some HTML files in examples/ folder.

  • Install dependencies: yarn.
  • Type npm run dev to improve Starting Blocks locally.
  • Type npm run build to optimize project in one file as: main.js.
  • Type npm run demo to build demo project in examples/ folder.


Starting Blocks use native Promise, fetch, IntersectionObserver and MutationObserver browser features. Don't forget to use some polyfills for old browsers.


To launch the example you need to change the examples/srv/js/config/config.example.js file with your own informations.

Go further with Starting Blocks

If you use Webpack you will be able to dynamically lazy-load your blocks with a custom BlockBuilder. Create a custom BlockBuilder and override the default one:

import { AbstractBlockBuilder } from 'starting-blocks'

export default class WebpackAsyncBlockBuilder extends AbstractBlockBuilder {
    // Dynamic import
    async getBlockInstance (nodeTypeName) {
        try {
            const Block = await this.getModule(nodeTypeName)

            if (!this.hasService(nodeTypeName)) {
                    $name: nodeTypeName,
                    $type: 'instanceFactory',
                    $value: c => {
                        return new Block(c)

            return this.getService(nodeTypeName).instance()
        } catch (e) {
            return null

    async getModule (nodeTypeName) {
        return import(`../blocks/${nodeTypeName}` /* webpackChunkName: "block-" */)
            .then(block => {
                return block.default

Then override the default PageBuilder service:

// Custom block builder (dynamic import)
startingBlocks.provider('BlockBuilder', WebpackAsyncBlockBuilder)