Javascript hacking

When writing JavaScript code, try to focus on modules, not pages. In short: follow the module pattern.

If the code is HTML-related, it should take selectors or objects as input and concern itself solely with those. This makes for much easier testing and reuse. And of course: Write the tests first.

When the module is done you write a controller for the page that plugs the needed plugins to the page elements. This should fail gracefully if the needed elements are not present.

When this documentation uses the term module, it refers to the AMD (see API docs) principle, which follows the module pattern. NAV’s JavaScript code uses RequireJS to load modules and specify their dependencies. RequireJS provides a rationale for why using AMD is a good idea.

Avoiding caching

We highly suggest you create python/nav/web/static/js/ and enable Django debug in etc/nav.conf when developing.

Make sure to put this in your RequireJS configuration file:

require.urlArgs = "bust=" +  (new Date()).getTime();

This makes sure you’re not using cached resources in your browser when developing, something many browsers love to do! See the RequireJS documentation on using urlArgs for details.

The python/nav/web/static/js/ is in the global Git ignore list (file:.gitignore).

Javascript testing

We use Karma as our Javascript test runner. See python/nav/web/static/js/test/* for examples on how to write tests using Karma with Mocha/Chai.

Javascript hierarchy layout

JavaScript sources are placed under python/nav/web/static/js/ under NAV’s SCM root.

In the JavaScript root directory (python/nav/web/static/js/) there should normally only be global configuration files for RequireJS, jshint, etc.

|-- extras/
|-- geomap/
|-- libs/
|-- resources/
|-- src/
`-- test/

contains special dependencies and tools that are useful for JavaScript hacking, but which aren’t necessarily implemented using JavaScript themselves. As of this writing there is only downloadify, which adds support for a save-as dialog for asynchronous download requests made from JavaScript.


contains JavaScript files related to geomap module in NAV.


contains 3rd party libraries (both AMD and non-AMD libraries) which we use in NAV. Make sure you add the JavaScript as a shimmed library in python/nav/web/static/js/require_config.*.js if it is not an AMD library.


contains resources that should be available under the Karma testing environment. python/nav/web/static/js/resources/libs/text.js is such a module which is required to be available in such an environment to run tests with templates that get loaded using the AMD pattern.


contains the source code to NAV modules which use RequireJS for dependency handling.


is the Netmap Backbone application.


contains re-usable JavaScript plugins.