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Continuous Redrawing of Views


You'd like to redraw your views every few seconds/minutes e.g. to update relative timestamps (like on twitter.com).


Have a clock object with a pulse attribute in your application which increments using a timed interval. You want to let view(s) bind values to be refreshed when the pulse attribute increments.

The clock object can be used to create new instances for binding to new views generated within the application, like a list of comments.

ClockService object

This ClockService is an example of an object that may come from a library. And, is injected into the application via an initializer.

During initialization the tick method is called which uses Ember.run.later with a time of 250 milliseconds as the interval. A property is set at the end of the interval. Since the tick method observes the incremented property another interval is triggered each time the property increases.

export default Ember.Object.extend({
    pulse: Ember.computed.oneWay('_seconds').readOnly(),
    tick: function () {
      var clock = this;
      Ember.run.later(function () {
        var seconds = clock.get('_seconds');
        if (typeof seconds === 'number') {
          clock.set('_seconds', seconds + (1/4));
      }, 250);
    _seconds: 0

Binding to the pulse attribute

In this recipe, an application initializer is used to inject an instance of the ClockService object, setting a controller's clock property to this instance.

export default {
  name: 'services',
  initialize: function(container, app) {
    // inject into a specific route
    app.inject('controller:interval', 'clock', 'service:clock');

The controller can set any computed properties based on the pulse property of the injected clock instance.

In this case the seconds property is bound to the pulse property of the controller's clock. The property clock.pulse was injected during initialization.

The controller has (session) data to display seconds to visitors, as well as a handful of properties used as conditions in the Handlebars template.

export default Ember.Controller.extend({
    secondsBinding: 'clock.pulse',
    fullSecond: function () {
      return (this.get('seconds') % 1 === 0);
    quarterSecond: function () {
      return (this.get('seconds') % 1 === 1/4);
    halfSecond: function () {
      return (this.get('seconds') % 1 === 1/2);
    threeQuarterSecond: function () {
      return (this.get('seconds') % 1 === 3/4);

A controller for a list of comments, each comment will have a new clock instance when added to the list. The comment item controller sets up the seconds binding, used by the template to show the time since the comment was created.

export default Ember.Controller.extend({
  seconds: Ember.computed.oneWay('clock.pulse').readOnly()
import ClockService from '../services/clock';

export default Ember.ArrayController.extend({
    itemController: 'commentItem',
    comment: null,
    actions: {
      add: function () {
          comment: this.get('comment'),
          clock: ClockService.create()
        this.set('comment', null);

Handlebars template which displays the pulse

The seconds value is computed from the pulse attribute. And the controller has a few properties to select a component to render, fullSecond, quarterSecond, halfSecond, threeQuarterSecond.

{{#if fullSecond}}
{{#if quarterSecond}}
{{#if halfSecond}}
{{#if threeQuarterSecond}}
<h3>You&apos;ve nyaned for {{digital-clock seconds}} (h:m:s)</h3>
{{render 'comments'}}

A template for a list of comments

<form {{action "add" on="submit"}}>
  {{input value=comment}}
  <button>Add Comment</button>
{{#each this as |item|}}
  <li>{{item.comment}} ({{digital-clock item.seconds}})</li>

Handlebars helper to format the clock display (h:m:s)

This helper is used in the template like so {{digital-clock seconds}}, seconds is the property of the controller that will be displayed (h:m:s).

export default Ember.Handlebars.makeBoundHelper(function(seconds) {
    var h = Math.floor(seconds / 3600);
    var m = Math.floor((seconds % 3600) / 60);
    var s = Math.floor(seconds % 60);
    var addZero = function (number) {
      return (number < 10) ? '0' + number : '' + number;
    var formatHMS = function(h, m, s) {
      if (h > 0) {
        return '%@:%@:%@'.fmt(h, addZero(m), addZero(s));
      return '%@:%@'.fmt(m, addZero(s));
    return new Ember.Handlebars.SafeString(formatHMS(h, m, s));


To explore the concept further, try adding a timestamp and updating the clock's pulse by comparing the current time. This would be needed to update the pulse property when a user puts his/her computer to sleep then reopens their browser after waking.

Further reading: