Getting started

  1. How KO works and what benefits it brings
  2. Downloading and installing

Observables

  1. Creating view models with observables
  2. Working with observable arrays

Computed observables

  1. Using computed observables
  2. Writable computed observables
  3. How dependency tracking works
  4. Pure computed observables
  5. Reference

Bindings

Controlling text and appearance

  1. The visible binding
  2. The text binding
  3. The html binding
  4. The css binding
  5. The style binding
  6. The attr binding

Control flow

  1. The foreach binding
  2. The if binding
  3. The ifnot binding
  4. The with binding
  5. The component binding

Working with form fields

  1. The click binding
  2. The event binding
  3. The submit binding
  4. The enable binding
  5. The disable binding
  6. The value binding
  7. The textInput binding
  8. The hasFocus binding
  9. The checked binding
  10. The options binding
  11. The selectedOptions binding
  12. The uniqueName binding

Rendering templates

  1. The template binding

Binding syntax

  1. The data-bind syntax
  2. The binding context

Creating custom bindings

  1. Creating custom bindings
  2. Controlling descendant bindings
  3. Supporting virtual elements
  4. Custom disposal logic
  5. Preprocessing: Extending the binding syntax

Components

  1. Overview: What components and custom elements offer
  2. Defining and registering components
  3. The component binding
  4. Using custom elements
  5. Advanced: Custom component loaders

Further techniques

  1. Loading and saving JSON data
  2. Extending observables
  3. Deferred updates
  4. Rate-limiting observables
  5. Unobtrusive event handling
  6. Using fn to add custom functions
  7. Microtasks
  8. Asynchronous error handling

Plugins

  1. The mapping plugin

More information

  1. Browser support
  2. Getting help
  3. Links to tutorials & examples
  4. Usage with AMD using RequireJs (Asynchronous Module Definition)

The "component" binding

The component binding injects a specified component into an element, and optionally passes parameters to it.

Live example

First instance, without parameters

Second instance, passing parameters

Source code: View

    <h4>First instance, without parameters</h4>
    <div data-bind='component: "message-editor"'></div>

    <h4>Second instance, passing parameters</h4>
    <div data-bind='component: {
        name: "message-editor",
        params: { initialText: "Hello, world!" }
    }'></div>

Source code: View model

    ko.components.register('message-editor', {
        viewModel: function(params) {
            this.text = ko.observable(params && params.initialText || '');
        },
        template: 'Message: <input data-bind="value: text" /> '
                + '(length: <span data-bind="text: text().length"></span>)'
    });

    ko.applyBindings();

Note: In more realistic cases, you would typically load component viewmodels and templates from external files, instead of hardcoding them into the registration. See an example and registration documentation.

API

There are two ways to use the component binding:

  • Shorthand syntax

    If you pass just a string, it is interpreted as a component name. The named component is then injected without supplying any parameters to it. Example:

    <div data-bind='component: "my-component"'></div>
    

    The shorthand value can also be observable. In this case, if it changes, the component binding will dispose the old component instance, and inject the newly-referenced component. Example:

    <div data-bind='component: observableWhoseValueIsAComponentName'></div>
    
  • Full syntax

    To supply parameters to the component, pass an object with the following properties:

    • name — the name of the component to inject. Again, this can be observable.
    • params — an object that will be passed on to the component. Typically this is a key-value object containing multiple parameters, and is typically received by the component’s viewmodel constructor.

    Example:

    <div data-bind='component: {
        name: "shopping-cart",
        params: { mode: "detailed-list", items: productsList }
    }'></div>
    

Note that whenever a component is removed (either because the name observable changed, or because an enclosing control-flow binding removed the entire element), the removed component is disposed

Component lifecycle

When a component binding injects a component,

  1. Your component loaders are asked to supply the viewmodel factory and template

    • Multiple component loaders may be consulted, until the first one recognises the component name and supplies a viewmodel/template. This process only takes place once per component type, since Knockout caches the resulting definitions in memory.
    • The default component loader supplies viewmodels/templates based on what you have registered. If applicable, this is the phase where it requests any specified AMD modules from your AMD loader.

    Normally, this is an asynchronous process. It may involve requests to the server. For API consistency, Knockout by default ensures that the loading process completes as an asynchronous callback even if the component is already loaded and cached in memory. For more about this, and how to allow synchronous loading, see Controlling synchronous/asynchronous loading.

  2. The component template is cloned and injected into the container element

    Any existing content is removed and discarded.

  3. If the component has a viewmodel, it is instantiated

    If the viewmodel is given as a constructor function, this means Knockout calls new YourViewModel(params).

    If the viewmodel is given as a createViewModel factory function, Knockout calls createViewModel(params, componentInfo), where componentInfo.element is the element into which the not-yet-bound template has already been injected.

    This phase always completes synchronously (constructors and factory functions are not allowed to be asynchronous), since it occurs every time a component is instantiated and performance would be unacceptable if it involved waiting for network requests.

  4. The viewmodel is bound to the view

    Or, if the component has no viewmodel, then the view is bound to any params you’ve supplied to the component binding.

  5. The component is active

    Now the component is operating, and can remain on-screen for as long as needed.

    If any of the parameters passed to the component is observable, then the component can of course observe any changes, or even write back modified values. This is how it can communicate cleanly with its parent, without tightly coupling the component code to any parent that uses it.

  6. The component is torn down, and the viewmodel is disposed

    If the component binding’s name value changes observably, or if an enclosing control-flow binding causes the container element to be removed, then any dispose function on the viewmodel is called just before the container element is removed from the DOM. See also: disposal and memory management.

    Note: If the user navigates to an entirely different web page, browsers do this without asking any code running in the page to clean up. So in this case no dispose functions will be invoked. This is OK because the browser will automatically release the memory used by all objects that were in use.

Note: Template-only components

Components usually have viewmodels, but they don’t necessarily have to. A component can specify just a template.

In this case, the object to which the component’s view is bound is the params object that you passed to the component binding. Example:

ko.components.register('special-offer', {
    template: '<div class="offer-box" data-bind="text: productName"></div>'
});

… can be injected with:

<div data-bind='component: {
     name: "special-offer-callout",
     params: { productName: someProduct.name }
}'></div>

… or, more conveniently, as a custom element:

<special-offer params='productName: someProduct.name'></special-offer>

Note: Using component without a container element

Sometimes you may want to inject a component into a view without using an extra container element. You can do this using containerless control flow syntax, which is based on comment tags. For example,

<!-- ko component: "message-editor" -->
<!-- /ko -->

… or passing parameters:

<!-- ko component: {
    name: "message-editor",
    params: { initialText: "Hello, world!", otherParam: 123 }
} -->
<!-- /ko -->

The <!-- ko --> and <!-- /ko --> comments act as start/end markers, defining a “virtual element” that contains the markup inside. Knockout understands this virtual element syntax and binds as if you had a real container element.

Note: Passing markup to components

The element you attach a component binding to may contain further markup. For example,

<div data-bind="component: { name: 'my-special-list', params: { items: someArrayOfPeople } }">
    <!-- Look, here's some arbitrary markup. By default it gets stripped out
         and is replaced by the component output. -->
    The person <em data-bind="text: name"></em>
    is <em data-bind="text: age"></em> years old.
</div>

Although the DOM nodes in this element will be stripped out and not bound by default, they are not lost. Instead, they are supplied to the component (in this case, my-special-list), which can include them in its output however it wishes.

This is useful if you want to build components that represent “container” UI elements, such as grids, lists, dialogs, or tab sets, which need to inject and bind arbitrary markup into a common structure. See a complete example for custom elements, which also works without custom elements using the syntax shown above.

Disposal and memory management

Optionally, your viewmodel class may have a dispose function. If implemented, Knockout will call this whenever the component is being torn down and removed from the DOM (e.g., because the corresponding item was removed from a foreach, or an if binding has become false).

You must use dispose to release any resources that aren’t inherently garbage-collectable. For example:

  • setInterval callbacks will continue to fire until explicitly cleared.
    • Use clearInterval(handle) to stop them, otherwise your viewmodel might be held in memory.
  • ko.computed properties continue to receive notifications from their dependencies until explicitly disposed.
    • If a dependency is on an external object, then be sure to use .dispose() on the computed property, otherwise it (and possibly also your viewmodel) will be held in memory. Alternatively, consider using a pure computed to avoid the need for manual disposal.
  • Subscriptions to observables continue to fire until explicitly disposed.
    • If you have subscribed to an external observable, be sure to use .dispose() on the subscription, otherwise the callback (and possibly also your viewmodel) will be held in memory.
  • Manually-created event handlers on external DOM elements, if created inside a createViewModel function (or even inside a regular component viewmodel, although to fit the MVVM pattern you shouldn’t) must be removed.
    • Of course, you don’t have to worry about releasing any event handlers created by standard Knockout bindings in your view, as KO automatically unregisters them when the elements are removed.

For example:

var someExternalObservable = ko.observable(123);

function SomeComponentViewModel() {
    this.myComputed = ko.computed(function() {
        return someExternalObservable() + 1;
    }, this);

    this.myPureComputed = ko.pureComputed(function() {
        return someExternalObservable() + 2;
    }, this);

    this.mySubscription = someExternalObservable.subscribe(function(val) {
        console.log('The external observable changed to ' + val);
    }, this);

    this.myIntervalHandle = window.setInterval(function() {
        console.log('Another second passed, and the component is still alive.');
    }, 1000);
}

SomeComponentViewModel.prototype.dispose = function() {
    this.myComputed.dispose();
    this.mySubscription.dispose();
    window.clearInterval(this.myIntervalHandle);
    // this.myPureComputed doesn't need to be manually disposed.
}

ko.components.register('your-component-name', {
    viewModel: SomeComponentViewModel,
    template: 'some template'
});

It isn’t strictly necessary to dispose computeds and subscriptions that only depend on properties of the same viewmodel object, since this creates only a circular reference which JavaScript garbage collectors know how to release. However, to avoid having to remember which things need disposal, you may prefer to use pureComputed wherever possible, and explicitly dispose all other computeds/subscriptions whether technically necessary or not.