Stapes.js is deprecated and will not be updated anymore. Please read the blog post why.


meet the little Javascript framework that does just enough

Download Stapes.js 1.0.0

Download development version Contribute on Github

Using node? Try npm install stapes


Stapes.js is designed to be agnostic about your setup and style of coding. Like to code using models, views and controllers? Or just with modules? Use jQuery? Zepto? React? Rivets? Vue.js? Whatever you fancy, Stapes gives you the necessary building blocks to build a kick-ass app.


Class creation, custom events, and data methods. That's all it does. Even a lightweight framework like Backbone has more than 75 methods, Stapes has just 20.


Because of its size (just 2kb minified and gzipped) Stapes is ideal to use in a mobile site. At just around 600 lines of codes, it's easy to debug and see how it works under the hood.


For a quick introduction to Stapes, follow the tutorial, and write a todo app in less than 100 lines of code.

Write your Stapes modules like this

var Module = Stapes.subclass({
    constructor : function(name) { = name;

    sayName : function() {
        console.log('My name is: ' +;

Then, use it like this.

var module = new Module('Emmylou');

module.sayName(); // 'My name is Emmylou'


There are three examples available to get a taste on how to write a Stapes.js application.

Code for these examples is available in the development download.

Note that the two todo examples are also available from TodoMVC.

Creation methods

These methods aid in the creation and extension of classes, or modules. These terms are used interchangeably in this document.


Module.subclass( [object] )
Stapes.subclass( [object, classOnly] )

Create a new Stapes class that you can instantiate later on with new.

Note that until Stapes 0.6.0 the preferred way of creating new modules was by using Stapes.create. This has been replaced by subclass since 0.7.0. Read this blogpost why.

You can add a constructor (the function that is run when you instantiate the class) property to the object. All other properties will become prototype methods. To add static methods to your class use extend. If you want to add more properties to the prototype of the class later on, use proto.

var Module = Stapes.subclass({
    constructor : function(name) { = name;

    getName : function() {

var module = new Module('emmylou');
module.getName(); // 'emmylou'

When calling subclass on a Stapes class you can extend it into a new class that will inherit all prototype properties of the parent class.

var Module = Stapes.subclass({
    sayName : function() {
        console.log('i say my name!');

var BetterModule = Module.subclass({
    sayNameBetter : function() {
        this.sayName(); // Inherits 'sayName' from 'Module'
        console.log('i say my name better!');

var module = new BetterModule();
module.sayNameBetter(); // 'i say my name! i say my name better!'

Note that it's perfectly valid to call subclass without any arguments at all. In that case you'll simply get a new class with an empty constructor.

Also note that if you call subclass on a Module the child module won't automatically inherit the constructor of the parent. This is by design. To inherit the constructor of a parent class simply specify it in your subclass setup:

var Parent = Stapes.subclass({
    constructor : function(name) { = name;

var Child = Parent.subclass({
    // inherit the constructor from parent
    constructor : Parent.prototype.constructor

Because subclass set ups the prototype chain correctly the instanceof parameter will work as expected.

module instanceof BetterModule; // true
module instanceof Module; // true

All modules automatically get a parent property that links back to the prototype of the parent. You can use this to override a method in a new class, but still call the method of the parent class, like the super method that is available in lots of languages.

var BetterModule = Module.subclass({
    // Note that this method name is the same as the one in Module
    sayName : function() {
        BetterModule.parent.sayName.apply(this, arguments);
        console.log('i say my name better');

var module = new BetterModule();
module.sayName(); // 'i say my name! i say my name better!'

The optional classOnly flag can be set to true to make a class without any event or data methods. You will get all of the creation methods, so you can still subclass and extend your class. Use this flag to use Stapes as a simple class creation library.

var Class = Stapes.subclass({
    constructor : function(name) { = name;
}, true /* <-- 'classOnly' flag */);

'subclass' in Class; // true
'get' in new Class(); // false


module.extend( object[, object...])
Stapes.extend( object )

Extend your class instance properties by giving an object. Keys with the same value will be overwritten. this will be set to the objects context.

var Module = Stapes.subclass();

var module = new Module();

    "names" : ['claire', 'alice'],

    "sayName" : function(i) {
        console.log( "Hello " + this.names[i] + "!" );

module.sayName(1); // 'alice'

Note that using extend is exactly the same as directly assigning properties to the module:

module.names = ['claire', 'alice'];

// Is the same as

    names : ['claire', 'alice'];

Both extend and proto accept multiple objects as arguments:

var module = new (Stapes.subclass());

var instruments = { guitar : true };
var voices = { singing : true };

module.extend(instruments, voices);

console.log('guitar' in module, 'singing' in module); // true, true

extend is also useful for stuff like configuration properties.

var Module = new Stapes.subclass({
    constructor : function(props) {
        this.extend( props );

    sayInfo : function() {
        console.log( + ' plays ' + this.instrument);

var module = new Module({
    'name' : 'Johnny',
    'instrument' : 'guitar'


Stapes.extend() can be used for writing extra methods and properties that will be available on all Stapes modules, even after you have created them. This is very useful for writing plugins for functionality that isn't in Stapes.

    // Sets an DOM element for views
    "setElement" : function(el) {
        this.el = el;
        this.$el = $(el); // jQuery or Zepto reference

var Module = Stapes.subclass();
var module = new Module();

module.setElement( document.getElementById("app") );

console.log( module.el ); // "#app" DOM element
console.log( module.$el ); // jQuery or Zepto element

All internal methods are available as the Stapes._ object, so if you want you can overwrite and hack virtually all Stapes behaviour. Note that these methods aren't documented, so you should take a look at the source.


Module.proto( object )

Adds properties and methods to the prototype of the module.

Note that it's usally easier to directly add methods to the prototype using the subclass method. However,if you want to add methods to the prototype later on, proto might be useful.

var Module = Stapes.subclass();

    'sayName' : function() {
        console.log('I say my name');

'sayName' in Module; // false, not a static method
'sayName' in Module.prototype; // true

// Note that using proto is the same as:
Module.prototype.sayName = function() {
    console.log('I say my name');

Both proto and extend accept multiple objects as arguments. This can be very handy for mixins.

var Module = Stapes.subclass();

var instruments = { guitar : true };
var voices = { singing : true };

Module.proto(instruments, voices);

var module = new Module();

console.log(module.guitar, module.singing); // true, true

Event methods


module.on(eventName, handler [, context] )
module.on(object [, context] )
Stapes.on(object [, context] )
Stapes.on(eventName, handler [, context] )

Add an event listener to a Stapes module or object with mixed-in events. When an event is triggered the handler will be called with two arguments: data, which may contain any data, and an eventObject that contains some useful information about the event, such as the scope, target and event name.

As an optional third (when defining a single listener) or second (when defining multipe listeners using an object) parameter you can set what the value of this should be in the scope of the event handler. This is handy to prevent having to temporarily save the scope to a self or that variable or use the new bind property of EcmaScript 5.

var Module = Stapes.subclass();

var module = new Module();

module.on('ready', function() {
    console.log('your module is ready!');

    "talk" : function() {
        console.log('your module is talking!');

    "walk" : function() {
        console.log('your module is walking!');

    "eat" : function( food ) {
        console.log('your module is eating ' + (this.get('food') || 'nothing'));

var feedme = new Module();

// Set the scope for the event handler to 'module'
    "feed" : function( food ) {
        this.set('food', food);
}, module);

// "your module is eating nothing"

feedme.emit('feed', 'cookies');

// "your module is eating cookies"

// "cookies"

// null

The on method on the global Stapes object can be used to listen to events from all defined modules.

Listening to the special all event on the Stapes global will trigger on all events thrown in all objects. Very useful for debugging, but be careful not to leave it in your production code :)

var Module = Stapes.subclass({
    constructor : function(name) { = name;

    beReady : function() {

var module1 = new Module('module1');
var module2 = new Module('module2');

Stapes.on('ready', function(data, e) {
    console.log('a ready event was triggered in: ' +;

module1.beReady(); // 'a ready event was triggered in module 1';
module2.beReady(); // 'a ready event was triggered in module 2';

The all event listener is also available on every module, so you can listen to all events from a specific module.

var Module = Stapes.subclass({
    "go" : function() {

var module = new Module();

module.on("all", function(data, e) {

module.go(); // first 'foo', then 'bar'

off, handler)

Removes event handlers from an object. Giving both an eventType and a handler will remove that specific handler from a module. Giving only an eventType will remove all handlers bound to that event type.

With no arguments at all, off() will remove all event handlers from a module.

var Module = Stapes.subclass();
var module = new Module();

var handler = function(){};

    "foo" : handler,
    "bar" : function(){}
});"foo", handler); // Removes only the specific handler for foo"bar"); // Removes all 'bar' handlers; // Removes all handlers


module.emit(eventName[, data])

Trigger an event on the module. eventName can be a space seperated string if you want to trigger more events. data can be any Javascript variable you want, and will be passed to any event listeners

var Module = Stapes.subclass({
    "sleep" : function() {
        this.emit('sleeping', 'very deep');

var module = new Module();

module.on('sleeping', function(how) {
    console.log("i'm sleeping " + how);

module.sleep(); // "i'm sleeping very deep"



It's possible to add Stapes' event handling methods to any Javascript object or function. This can be very handy if you want to create an object that only uses event handlers, or for an object or function that already exists and you don't want to convert to a Stapes module.

Here's how to add event methods to an object:

var module = {};

module.on('sing', function() {
    console.log("i'm singing!");

module.sing = function() {

module.sing(); // i'm singing!

Stapes.mixinEvents returns the object, so you could write the first two lines from the previous example even shorter:

var module = Stapes.mixinEvents( {} );

No, wait! It can be even shorter! Without any arguments Stapes.mixinEvents returns a new object with mixed-in events.

var module = Stapes.mixinEvents();

You can also add event methods to a function:

function Module(what) {
    this.what = what;

Module.prototype.sing = function() {
    this.emit('sing', this.what);

var m = new Module("Happy Birthday");

m.on('sing', function(what) {
    console.log("i'm singing " + what + "!");

m.sing(); // i'm singing Happy Birthday!

Note that these events are also triggered on the main Stapes object, so you can use Stapes.on to catch events from these mixed-in objects as well.

Stapes.on('sing', function(data, e) {
    console.log("Singing from " +;

var module = Stapes.mixinEvents( {} ); = "a cool module!";

module.sing = function() {

module.sing(); // 'Singing from a cool module!'

Data methods


module.each( function, [context] );

Iterate over all attributes of a module.

When giving a context parameter this will be set as the this value in the iterator function. If context is not set it will be set to the module itself.

var Module = Stapes.subclass();
var singers = ['Johnny', 'Emmylou', 'Gram', 'June'];
var module = new Module();

module.msg = "I'll be your ";


module.each(function(singer) {
    console.log(this.msg + singer);

// Using the second context parameter of each()
module.singers = new (Stapes.subclass());
module.singers.push( singers );

module.singers.each(function(singer) {
    console.log(this.msg + singer);
}, module);


module.filter( function );

Gets an array of attribute values using a custom function.

The callback function gets two arguments: the value of the attribute, and the original key.

        name : 'Johnny',
        playing : false
        name : 'Emmylou',
        playing : true

var playing = module.filter(function(singer) {
    return singer.playing;
}); // [ { name : 'Emmylou', playing : true }]


module.get( key );
module.get( key1, key2, ... );
module.get( function );

Gets an attribute by key. If the item is not available will return null

var Module = Stapes.subclass();
var module = new Module();

    'instrument': 'guitar',
    'name': 'Johnny'

module.get('instrument'); // 'guitar'

You can get multiple key / value pairs when you use more than one argument:

module.get('instrument', 'name'); // { 'instrument' : 'guitar', 'name' : 'Johnny' }

You can also use a function to get a specific value. This is comparable to filter, however, filter always returns an array of results, while get always returns a single result.



Returns all the attributes of a module as an object. Handy for JSON serializing and persistence layers.

Note that this method returns a copy/clone instead of a reference.



Returns all attributes as an array, so you can easily iterate. Note that the original key of the attribute is always available as a 'id' key in the the value, provided your value is an object.

Note that this method returns a copy/clone instead of a reference.

    "name" : "Johnny",
    "instrument" : "guitar"

module.getAllAsArray().length; // '2'


module.has( key );

Checks if a key is available and returns true or false.

module.set('singer', 'Johnny');

module.has('singer'); // true
module.has('instrument'); // false

map function, [context] )

Just like each, map iterates over all attributes of a module. map returns a new array, where every attribute value of a module has been passed through function.

module.push([1, 2, 3]);

var arr = {
    return nr * 2;

console.log(arr); // '[2, 4, 6]'

By default map gets the module as the value of this, but this can be overwritten with the second argument.


module.push( value, [silent] );
module.push( array, [silent] );

Sets a value, automatically generates an unique uuid as a key.

You can also push an array of values.

Just as with set the optional silent flag will prevent any change events from being emitted.

For the rest of the behaviour of this method see set.


m.getAll(); // will look something like { "5323be61-afb8-4034-b408-51132756cd43" : "foo"}


push returns the module, so this method is chainable.


module.remove( key, [silent] );
module.remove( function );

Deletes an attribute. Triggers remove and change events.

remove also triggers namespaced change and remove events (e.g. change:foo and remove:foo).

You can either use a key as an argument or a function

module.remove(function(item) {
    return item.done === true;

It's possible to remove multiple keys in one go, simply space seperate them:

module.remove('singer instrument johnny');

If you do not want your remove to trigger an event set the optional silent flag to true.

module.remove('singer', true /* <-- silent flag */);

Without any arguments, remove deletes all attributes in a module and triggers change and remove events.

module.size(); // 3
module.size(); // 0

remove returns the module, so this method is chainable.


module.set(key, value, [silent]);
module.set(object, [silent]);

Sets an attribute. Use push if you want to 'push' a value with a random uuid, for collections.

To set multiple attributes in one go, use an object as an first argument.

Every attribute will trigger a change event. A key that doesn't exist will trigger a create event, a key that does exist will trigger an update event.

All events will have the key of the attribute as their event value.

Special namespaced events will also be triggered. These events have a value of eventType:key. So for example, a set on an attribute called 'name' will generate a change:name event. These events will have the attribute value instead of the key as a data argument in the event callback.

    "change" : function(key) {
        console.log('Something happened with ' + key);

    "change:name" : function(value) {
        console.log('name was changed to ' + value);

    "create" : function(key) {
        console.log("New attribute " + key + " added!");

    "update" : function(key) {
        console.log("Attribute " + key + " was updated!");

module.set('name', 'Elvis'); // will trigger 'change' and 'create' events
module.set('name', 'Johnny'); // will trigger 'change' and 'update' events

    "name" : "Elvis",
    "instrument" : "guitar"

If you do not want your set to trigger any events set the optional silent flag to true

module.set('singer', 'Johnny', true /* <-- silent flag */);

This also works for objects:

    'singer' : 'Johnny',
    'instrument' : 'guitar'
}, true /* silent */);

To get the old or previous value of an attribute use the mutate event instead of change. There are both namespaced and general versions of this event, just like change. Instead of the value of the attribute it will return an object with oldValue and newValue properties. For convenience it also returns the key of the attribute.

module.set('name', 'Johnny');

    "mutate:name" : function(values) {
        console.log(values.oldValue, values.newValue); // "Johnny, Emmylou"

    "mutate" : function(values) {
        // Returns 'Emmylou'
        // Note that this is identical to writing:
        // module.on(
        //     'change',
        //     function(key) {
        //         console.log( module.get(key) );
        //     }
        // );

module.set('name', 'Emmylou');

Note that it's still perfectly fine to assign properties to the Stapes module directly, as long as you don't overwrite existing properties. All the data methods are useful if you want to do model-like stuff, but for ordinary properties that don't need change events setting attributes using get and set is fine.

module.on('change:name', function() {
    // Obviously, this event hander will never trigger
}); = "Elvis";

console.log(; // "Elvis"

set returns the module, so this method is chainable

Stapes doesn't have a native way of doing validation, but you could overwrite the set (and possibly update) method to accomplish the same:

var Person = Stapes.subclass({
    set : function(key, value) {
        if (key === 'email') {
            if (value.indexOf("@") === -1) {
                this.emit('error', 'Invalid email adress');
            } else {
                Stapes.prototype.set.apply(this, arguments);
        } else {
            // Normal set() behavior
            Stapes.prototype.set.apply(this, arguments);

var johnny = new Person();

johnny.on('error', function(msg) {
    alert( msg ); // 'Invalid email adress'

johnny.set('email', '');



Returns the number of attributes in a module.

module.push(['Johnny', 'Emmylou', 'June', 'Gram']);

console.log( module.size() ); // '4'


module.update( key, fn, [silent] );
module.update( fn );

Updates an attribute with a new value, based on the return value of a function.

Just as with set update will generate change and update events.

module.set('singer', 'Elvis');

module.update('singer', function(singer) {
    return 'Johnny';

console.log( module.get('singer') ); // 'Johnny';

You can also pass a single function as an argument. In that case, update will run on all attributes in the module.

    { "name" : "Johnny", "singer" : false},
    { "name" : "Emmylou", "singer" : false}

module.update(function(item) {
    item.singer = true;
    return item;

The callback function in update gets two arguments: the value being modified, and the original key. The this value of the callback will be set to the module you're updating.

The silent flag will prevent any change events from firing.

update returns the module, so this method is chainable.




Returns the current version of Stapes. Note that this property is only available on the Stapes global variable, not on individual modules.


Here are some notes on using Stapes in various different situations.

Module loading

Stapes can be used together with an AMD module loader like Require.js, CommonJS loaders like the one in Node or simply as an old-fashioned global variable.

Here's the example from the introduction using Require.js

// 'module.js'
require(["path/to/Stapes"], function(Stapes) {
    var name;

    function showPrivate() {
        console.log("You shouldn't be seeing this: ", name);

    var Module = Stapes.subclass({
        constructor : function(aName) {
            name = aName;

    return Module;

// somewhere else
require(['module'], function(Module) {
    var module = new Module('Elvis'); // You shouldn't be seeing this: Elvis

Private variables

If you want to use private variables and functions, use Stapes like this:

var Module = (function() {
    var name;

    function showPrivate() {
        console.log("You shouldn't be seeing this", name);

    var Module = Stapes.subclass({
        constructor : function(aName) {
            name = aName;

    return Module;

var module = new Module('Emmylou');

However, note that this will only work with a single instance of the class because the scope stays the same. Creating an extra module will overwrite the private variables from the previous instance.

Odds and ends

Bugs and known limitations

  • Attributes are stored in an object internally. According to the Javascript spec objects don't guarantee that properties are returned in order. However, all browsers do return object properties in order except for Chrome where numbered keys won't return in order.

    In the future this will be fixed, but it requires a big rewrite. For now the best way to prevent this problem is to simply avoid using numbered attributes. So don't write something like module.set('1', 'one');


  • 1.0.0
    • Feature get now accepts multiple arguments so you can use it like Underscore's pick (Issue #38). Thanks for the suggestion Santervo!
    • Feature mutate events are now emitted whenever an attribute is removed (issue #35). Thanks Jasper!
    • Not a feature per se, but the website got a complete makeover using the wonderful Bootstrap framework.
  • 0.8.0 - July 9th 2013
    • create() has been completely removed after the deprecation in 0.7.0
    • Feature set now also accepts the silent flag for objects (issue #28). Thanks for the suggestion Neogavin!
    • Feature remove without any arguments now removes all attributes in a module.
    • Bugfix The silent flag did not work with push (issue #39). Thanks for reporting Gamadril!
  • 0.7.1 - February 27th 2013
    • Thanks to josher19 the docs now have nice tooltips for all the methods in the in-code examples!
    • Bugfix Stapes.extend was broken (issue #33). Thanks gonchuku!
    • Bugfix Fixed the todos examples, thanks Erik!
    • Bugfix Fixed events in subclasses. (issue #29), thanks Eric!
    • Bugfix Fixed a problem where unbinding an event would throw an error in some rare cases (issue #30). Thanks Jasper!
  • 0.7.0 - January 14th 2013
    • Feature Completely revised the creation of new modules with subclass. The old create is still available for backwards compatibility. Read here why i deprecated create.
    • Feature Added a map function to every module.
    • Feature update now gets the module set as the this context, and gets the key in the callback function.
    • Feature update now has a silent option too.
    • Feature remove now accepts multiple keys to remove.
    • Bugfix getAllAsArray no longer overwrites an id value if its present in the object
  • 0.6 - October 14th 2012
    • Feature remove now also triggers namespaced events (issue #13).
    • Feature set, push and remove now have an optional silent flag that will preveny any events from being triggered (issue #18)
    • Feature push, set, remove and update now return the module, so you can chain these methods (issue #17)
    • Bugfix Specific events that were emitted on Stapes.on gave a wrong scope (issue #19)
    • Bugfix Events didn't bubble up to the global Stapes object (issue #12)
    • Bugfix Fix for the remove handler in IE8. Thanks @wellcaffeinated!
    • Stapes.util has been removed. If your code depends on it you can use a compatibility plugin.
  • 0.5.1 - July 20th 2012
    • Feature All private methods are now part of the Stapes._ which means plugin authors can overwrite and redefine every part of Stapes.
    • Bugfix Fixed a bug where calling create() on a module wouldn't increase the guid (issue #8). Thanks @wellcaffeinated!
  • 0.5 - July 2nd 2012
    • Feature Add event to any method using the mixinEvents method
    • Feature Added the off event method to remove event handlers
    • The two todos examples are updated to the latest version from TodoMVC
  • 0.4 - May 10th 2012
    • Feature Added the whole bunch of utility methods.
    • Feature Added an each method to Modules for easy iteration over attributes
    • Feature Added a size method to get the number of attributes in a module.
    • Bugfix Data in event handlers was silently changed to null if it was falsy, so passing false as a data argument would result in handlers getting null instead of the expected data argument.
    • Updated the two todos examples, using the versions from the TodoMVC collection
    • Removed the undocumented init method that was part of every Stapes module
    • Rewrote the util functions for cleaner code (including a map and an each with a context parameter).
  • 0.3 - April 5th 2012
    • Feature Added the mutate change event.
    • Feature update now accepts a single function as an argument too.
    • Bugfix Setting an attribute with the same value as the old value doesn't trigger a change event anymore.
    • getAll() and getAllAsArray() now return a clone of the attributes instead of a reference.
    • Removing the undocumented changemany and createmany events.
  • 0.2.1 - March 28th 2012
    • Fixed a bug where global events didn't always work because the guid was set to 0 initially. Thanks @frenkie!
  • 0.2 - March 4th 2012
    • First release!


Thanks to all of you for contributing code, docs, reporting bugs, giving good advice and inspiration!