Getting Started with dojox/app

In this tutorial, we will cover how to use dojox/app and dojox/mobile to create a simple one page Contacts List Application.

About dojox/app

dojox/app is an extensible, configuration based, application framework which is built on Dojo. dojox/app helps application developers create applications more quickly, increases maintainability and reduces coding effort by providing:

  • Support for a predefined JSON-based configuration file
  • A typical application structure
  • A set of application controllers that the application can leverage or extend, including layout and transition controllers
  • A notion of views, with view templates, and view controllers in addition to the application controllers
  • A build system to bundle your application with a limited set of files to be downloaded or installed onto the system

The documentation for dojox/app can be found here:

Even though dojox/app is built on top of Dojo, it is UI Toolkit agnostic. The application views can be developed with:

  • Dijit
  • Dojo Mobile
  • Any other JavaScript/HTML5 toolkit like jQuery Mobile

dojox/app works well with dojox/mvc

  • dojox/app includes support for creating dojox/mvc models via the JSON Config, and accessing those models from the views
  • Since dojox/mvc is still experimental we will not be using it in this tutorial

Contacts Data Structure

Before starting on the application let's see how the Contacts List Application data will be structured. We chose this data structure because it is a subset of the contacts data structure used by Cordova/PhoneGap. The data will include an array of contacts with the following:

  • "id": a unique id
  • "name": which includes sub-fields of "givenName" and "familyName"
  • "displayName": which is created by joining the "givenName" and "familyName"
  • "emails": an array which contains entries which include sub-fields of "type" and "value"
  • "phoneNumbers": an array which contains entries which include sub-fields of "type" and "value"

The Contacts List Application

The Contacts List Application on an iPhone iOS Simulator.

Phone Contacts List View

The Contacts List Application has the following file structure:


The main HTML file

The main HTML file includes the Dojo Mobile CSS.

<script src="{path-to-dojox}/dojox/mobile/deviceTheme.js"></script>

The main HTML file loads dojo.js

<script src="{path-to-dojo}/dojo/dojo.js" data-dojo-config= "async: true"></script>

The main HTML file loads the main application module.



The JSON configuration file

The JSON Configuration file contains the following:

  • An application ID
  • A set of application controllers
  • A set of application dependencies
  • A set of views with:
    • Templates (View rendering)
    • Controllers (View controllers)
    • View Translation Files
    • Possibly custom parameters
  • A set of data stores that can be shared at application level or specific to a view

See the dojox/app documentation for more information about the JSON configuration.

The JSON configuration can leverage "dojo/has" support to use different sections of configuration based on the targeted platform or other "dojo/has" features.

The JSON configuration file for the Contacts List Application

The JSON configuration for the Contacts List Application is named contacts.json, it includes the dependencies, controllers, store, defaultView and the list view, as follows:

    "id": "contactsApp",
    "dependencies": [
    "controllers": [
    "defaultView": "list",
    "stores": {
        "contacts": {
            "type": "dojo/store/Memory",
            "observable": true,
            "params": {
                "data": [
                        "id": "1",
                        "displayName": "Ed Chatelain",
                        "name": {
                            "givenName": "Ed",
                            "familyName": "Chatelain"
                        "emails": [
                                "type": "home",
                                "value": "[email protected]"
                        "phoneNumbers": [
                                "type": "home",
                                "value": "10-20-30-40"
                                "type": "work",
                                "value": "11-22-33-44"
                        "organizations": []
                        "id": "2",
                        "displayName": "Christophe Jolif",
                        :   :   :
    "views": {
        "list": {
            "controller": "contactsList/views/list",
            "template": "contactsList/views/list.html"

The main module for the application

The main module (contacts.js) will load the configuration file using "dojo/text", and instantiate the application using the parsed JSON config.

define(["dojo/json", "dojo/text!contactsList/contacts.json",
    function(json, config, Application){

The "list" view

The "list" view includes a template, and a controller.

The "list" view template (list.html) contains:

  • A dojox/mobile/Heading.
  • A div used to show which item was selected.
  • A dojox/mobile/EdgeToEdgeStoreList with a dojox/mobile/FilteredListMixin.
  • The contacts list store comes from stores defined in the JSON config which are accessed by name via the views loadedStores.
  • displayName is used as the labelProperty to match the data in the store.
  • The ContactListItem defined in the view controller is used as the itemRender to set the "clickable" property true.
<div class="mblBackground">
    <div data-dojo-type="dojox/mobile/Heading"
        data-dojo-props="fixed: 'top'">
    <div id="selectionMade">None selected.</div>
    <div data-dojo-type="dojox/mobile/EdgeToEdgeStoreList"
            data-dojo-props="store: this.loadedStores.contacts,
                            labelProperty: 'displayName',
                            itemRenderer: this.ContactListItem,
                            placeHolder: 'Search', stateful: false">

The "list" view controller (list.js):

  • The ContactListItem is used to set clickable property true for the items shown in the list, so the arrow will be displayed.
  • The init function is only called when the view is loaded for the first time.
  • The init function will watch for clicks on the contacts list and use dom.byId and innerHTML to set the text to indicate which item was clicked.
define(["dojo/_base/declare", "dojo/dom", "dojox/mobile/ListItem",
    "dojox/mobile/EdgeToEdgeStoreList", "dojox/mobile/FilteredListMixin"],
    function(declare, dom, ListItem){
    var ContactListItem = declare(ListItem, {
        clickable: true

    return {
        ContactListItem: ContactListItem,
        init: function(){
            this.contacts.on("click", function(e){
                dom.byId("selectionMade").innerHTML = + ": was selected.";

Run the Contacts List Application App

View the Contacts List Application source on github


In this tutorial, we've learned how to build a simple one page Contacts List Application with dojox/app. In the next part of this series we will create a Details View, and add support to Edit, Add, and Delete contacts.

The dojox/app Contacts Application Series

  1. Getting Started with dojox/app
  2. Updating the Contacts App for a Phone
  3. Updating the Contacts App for a Tablet
  4. Using dojox/app Build and Cordova