NodeJS Development

This article is about installing and using JDash NodeJs packages on your backend.

If you want to use JDash Cloud to store and manage dashboard related data you can continue from Getting Started section.

Step 1: Initial setup

Use npm to install JDash NodeJs packages.

npm install jdash-express --save

Note: If this is the first time you use npm to add a package, first execute npm init to create a package.json.

JDash uses Express. Express is a minimal and flexible Node.js web application framework that provides a robust set of features for web and mobile applications.

Basic server application

Below code snippet creates a simple NodeJs application, which serves static files from root folder.

var express = require('express');
var bodyParser = require('body-parser');

// Create an app
var app = express();

app.use(bodyParser.urlencoded({ extended: false }));

// Start listening port 3001
app.listen(3001, function () {
    console.log('Demo App launched.'); //App has started.    

Step 2: Attaching jdash-express middleware to your application

Right before app.listen() method, place the following code, just after initializing the static folder as seen above with app.use(express.static(__dirname)).

var jexpress = require('jdash-express').default;

// create a router for jdash
var jdashRoutes = express.Router();

// jexpress acts as a middleware for specified route.
// configure jexpress with router and user callback
    principal: function (request) {
        return {
            user: "current-user", // username which makes this request
            appid: "myapp" // application id of this app
    provider: null // we will explain provider details at the later stages.

// Use this router
app.use('/jdash/api/v1', jdashRoutes);

app.listen(3001, function () {
    console.log('JDash Demo App launched.');

Setting a principal and application name

Use principal property of jexpress configuration object to get user from current request. This value is used to set the user name property of dashboards and dashlets inside database, so that each user can have their own dashboards and dashlets.

You also need to provide an application name. Application name allows to use same database instance for different applications.

Using providers

Providers are NodeJs packages, which allow you to retrieve and persist dashboard data i.e. dashlet configurations, layouts and so on.

Currently JDash has two built-in NodeJs packages for MongoDB and MySQL.

Using MongoDB with JDash

Use npm to install JDash MongoDb for NodeJs package.

npm install jdash-mongodb --save
var mongoose = require('mongoose');
var jmongo = require('jdash-mongodb').default;

var connStr = 'Your connection string goes here'; 
/* i.e. 'mongodb://localhost:27017/jdash-demo' */

// Create a database connection
var connection = mongoose.createConnection(connStr);

// Configure JDash when database connection is ready.
connection.on('connected', function () {
    console.log('Connected to the JDash Demo Mongo Database.')
    // Configure jexpress with router and user callback 
        principal: function (request) {
            return {
                user: "current-user", 
                appid: "myapp" 
        // Set provider
        provider: jmongo({
            connection: connection

As seen above, jexpress and principal can now be configured inside the connection.on() method callback, which is called as soon as the database is ready. Once the application connects to the database, set the user and appid values and specify the provider.

Using MySQL with JDash

Use npm to install JDash MySQL Provider.

npm install jdash-mysqldb --save
var mysql = require('mysql');
var jmysql = require('jdash-mysqldb').default;

// Create a database connection
var connection = mysql.createPool({
    connectionLimit: 100,
    host: 'localhost',
    port: 3306,
    user: 'root',
    password: '1234',
    database: 'jdash_local'

        principal: function (request) {
            return {
                user: "current-user", 
                appid: "myapp" 
        provider: jmysql({
            connection: connection

Step 3: Client side development

Use npm to install JDash UI package.

npm install jdash-ui --save

This will create node_modules/jdash-ui folder.

Create index.html inside your project root and paste below code.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">

    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="initial-scale=1, maximum-scale=1, user-scalable=no" />
    <title>JDash Tutorial</title>

    <!-- jdash client library -->
    <script src="node_modules/jdash-ui/dist/jdash.min.js"></script>

    <!-- jdash theme & elements -->
    <link rel="import" href="node_modules/jdash-ui/dist/components/jdash.html">

<body class="j-light-gray j-padding">



Step 4: Develop your first dashlet

You use j-dashlet element to define a dashlet.

Content of j-dashlet can include template element which can be used to define dom (innerHTML) of your dashlet. An optional script element inside j-dashlet can be used to execute javascript for this dashlet.

Copy the following code inside <body> tag.

<!-- Define <hello-world> dashlet -->
<j-dashlet id="hello-world" title="Hello world!">
        <!-- This will be the HTML content of your dashlet  -->
        jdash.define(function () {

            this.initialized = function () {
                // Dom is ready!
                var h1 = this.querySelector('h1')
                h1.textContent = 'Hello World!';


Step 5: Create and display dashboard

Use j-dashboard element to display a dashboard.

Inside body tag, add following code.

    <button id="createDashboardBtn">Create Dashboard</button>
    <button id="addDashletBtn">Add Dashlet</button>
    <div id="dashboardList"></div>

    <j-dashboard id="dashboard" j-view-mode="dashletedit">
        <h2 j-bind="title"></h2>

Add a script element after body and paste below code.

    jdash.ready(function () {

        // Set provider
        jdash.Provider = new jdash.ProviderTypes.OnPremise({ url: '/jdash/api/v1' }); // define your endpoint

        // createDashboardList();
        document.querySelector('#createDashboardBtn').addEventListener('click', function () {
            var title = window.prompt('Set a title for new dashboard');

            // Create a new dashboard
                title: title
            }).then(function (result) {
                console.log('Dashboard created with id:' +;
            }).catch(function (err) {
                alert('There was an error creating dashboard: ' + err.message || err)

        // add hello world dashlet to dashboard
        document.querySelector('#addDashletBtn').addEventListener('click', function (e) {

Step 6: View dashboards

As the last step, we will implement the code to view existing dashboards.

jdash.Provider.getMyDashboards method returns a list of dashboards current user owns. Note that you initialize current credentials by setting a valid value for userToken param for jdash.Provider.init method.

Add following function inside script element.

function createDashboardList() {
    var container = document.querySelector('#dashboardList');

    // clear existing buttons.
    container.innerHTML = '';
    return jdash.Provider.getMyDashboards().then(function (result) {

        // for each dashboard create a button
        for (var i = 0; i <; i++) {
            var btn = document.createElement('button');
            btn.textContent =[i].title;
            btn.addEventListener('click', function (e) {
                var idToLoad =;

Note that the createDashboardList() function is commented on Step 5. Uncomment this function after Step 6, so that the when page loads / user creates a new dashboard, dashboard list is updated.

Step 7: Download source code

Source code of this guide can be found at this GitHub Repo.

Also to find more detailed samples about client development see our sample application, you can download source code from our GitHub Repository

If you enjoy JDash you can continue from Basic Concepts.