The tape

npm install gaffa
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Recently changed

A list of changes, and how to upgrade is available in the wiki



Quick n easy setup

git clone

the template repo is a good starting point for an application.


Gaffa attempts to speed up the development of complicated UI's by providing a rich binding layer between arbitrary data and your UI.

Writing UI's using gaffa is unlike most other MVC/MVVM/etc frameworks for a number of different reasons. (Although, others share some of the below points)

  • ASAP databinding - model change events are instantaneous
  • Extremely powerful model bindings - use complex expressions to bind to data
  • UI by transform - Use transforms over data to affect how data is displated, rather than modifying the data to suite the UI.
  • NO HTML! - Javascript to DOM, no pointless middleman.
  • Serialise to JSON - An entire application can be serialised to JSON, by design.
  • No lock-in - Push your views to the edge of Gaffa's capabilities, and break out whenever you need.


Gaffa must be compiled with browserify browserify

Minimal usage

var Gaffa = require('gaffa'),
    gaffa = new Gaffa();

The Bits..

A Gaffa application consists of 2 high-level bits:

  • Many ViewItems
  • One model


ViewItems can be Views, Actions, or Behaviours.

ViewItems represent and can affect the model, they are combined to create a UI.

a View is a ViewItem that has a renderedElement, be it some DOM, or any other abstract UI element, such as a google maps pin object.

To use a view, you must first load the constructor for that view. For example, to use a label, and a textbox, the label.js and textbox.js files must be required(). Every viewItem must be added to its appropriate constructors object in gaffa, eg:

// Add viewItem constructors to gaffa. Only use what you need.

// Views
gaffa.views.constructors = {
    label: require('gaffa-label'),
    textbox: require('gaffa-textbox'),
    button: require('gaffa-button')

// Actions
gaffa.actions.constructors = {
    remove: require('gaffa-remove')

// Behaviours
gaffa.actions.constructors = {
    pageLoad: require('gaffa-page-load')

For ease of development, the constructors are usually assigned to a variable:

// Cache the view constructors object to easy access later.
var views = gaffa.views.constructors;

viewItems can then be instantiated:

// New up a label
var nameLabel = new views.label(),
    firstNameBox = new views.textbox(),
    surnameBox = new views.textbox(),
    removeUserButton = new views.button();

an Action is a non-visual entity which performs some action when executed. For example, an action could be assigned to be triggered when a button is clicked, and it could set a value into the model, or remove an item from an array.

var removeUser = new actions.remove();

To assign actions to a view: = [removeUser];

Gaffa will automatically use the actions.whatever propertyName as a DOM event name, and trigger any actions assigned when that event occurs.

a Behaviour is a non-visual entity that triggers actions. For example, a modelChange behaviour could be created to watch a property in the model, and assigned actions to perform when the value of that property changes.

The Model

The Model is just a Javascript object. If you can serialize it to JSON, and it inherrits from Object, it is a valid gaffa model, and it can be bound to. Unlike most similar frameworks, Gaffa focuses on keeping the model pure. If you add an object to the model, that exact object is used throughout the whole lifecycle, with no extra attributes like "Observable" etc. It's just a plain old object.

These are valid models:


new Date();


However usually a model would look something like this:

var model = {
            firstName: "John",
            surname: "Smith",
            age: 30,
            lastVisit: (a date object)

This can be set as the applications model by:


You can also set parts of the model using paths.

gaffa.model.set('[users/0/firstName]', 'Bob');

This will cause properties bound to this value to update.

You would very rarely use this syntax to affect the model, but rather use bound viewItem properties to change model data. This method of affecting the model is mostly used for debugging.

You can bind ViewItems properties to parts of the model using paths, eg:

// Bind the firstName box to the users first name in the model
firstNameBox.value.binding = '[user/firstName]';

// Bind the surname box to the users surname in the model
surnameBox.value.binding = '[user/surname]';

// Bind the nameLabel to an expression that joins both names together.
nameLabel.text.binding = '(join " " [user/firstName] [user/surname])';

Once you have set up your viewItems, you can add them to the application. Calling gaffa.views.add(viewItem) on a viewItem binds and renders the view. No properties will be bound to the model untill this has occured.

// Add the views to gaffa


Gaffa uses Gedi as its model, and as such, uses Gedi's expressions.

Expressions in gaffa are used to address the model in some way.

For a more in-depth explanation of expressions, checkout the gedi readme: Gedi

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