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Customizing Adapters

In Ember Data, the logic for communicating with a backend data store lives in the Adapter. Ember Data's Adapter has some built-in assumptions of how a REST API should look. If your backend conventions differ from these assumptions Ember Data makes it easy to change its functionality by swapping out or extending the default Adapter.

Some reasons for customizing an Adapter include using underscores_case in your urls, using a medium other than REST to communicate with your backend API or even using a local backend.

Extending Adapters is a natural process in Ember Data. Ember takes the position that you should extend an adapter to add different functionality instead of adding a flag. This results in code that is more testable, easier to understand and reduces bloat for people who may want to subclass your adapter.

If your backend has some consistent rules you can define an adapter:application. The adapter:application will get priority over the default Adapter, however it will still be superseded by model specific Adapters.

export default DS.RESTAdapter.extend({
  // Application specific overrides go here

If you have one model that has exceptional rules for communicating with its backend than the others you can create a Model specific Adapter by running the command ember generate adapter adapter-name". For example, running ember generate adapter post will create the following file:

export default DS.RESTAdapter.extend({
  namespace: 'api/v1'

By default Ember Data comes with several builtin adapters. Feel free to use these adapters as a starting point for creating your own custom adapter.

  • DS.Adapter is the basic adapter with no functionality. It is generally a good starting point if you want to create an adapter that is radically different from the other Ember adapters.

  • DS.RESTAdapter is the most commonly extended adapter. The RESTAdapter allows your store to communicate with an HTTP server by transmitting JSON via XHR. Most Ember.js apps that consume a JSON API should use the REST adapter.

  • DS.ActiveModelAdapter is a specialized version of the RESTAdapter that is set up to work out of the box with Rails-style REST APIs.

Customizing the RESTAdapter

The DS.RESTAdapter is the most commonly extended adapter that ships with Ember Data. It has a handful of hooks that are commonly used to extend it to work with non-standard backends.

Endpoint Path Customization

The namespace property can be used to prefix requests with a specific url namespace.

export default DS.RESTAdapter.extend({
  namespace: 'api/1'

Requests for person would now target http://emberjs.com/api/1/people/1.

Host Customization

By default the adapter will target the current domain. If you would like to specify a new domain you can do so by setting the host property on the adapter.

export default DS.RESTAdapter.extend({
  host: 'https://api.example.com'

Requests for person would now target https://api.example.com/people/1.

Path Customization

By default the RESTAdapter will attempt to pluralize and camelCase the model name to generate the path name. If this convention does not conform to your backend you can override the pathForType method.

For example, if you did not want to pluralize model names and needed underscore_case instead of camelCase you could override the pathForType method like this:

export default DS.RESTAdapter.extend({
  pathForType: function(type) {
    return Ember.String.underscore(type);

Requests for person would now target /person/1. Requests for userProfile would now target /user_profile/1.

Authoring Adapters

The defaultSerializer property can be used to specify the serializer that will be used by this adapter. This is only used when a model specific serializer or ApplicationSerializer are not defined.

In an application, it is often easier to specify an ApplicationSerializer. However, if you are the author of a community adapter it is important to remember to set this property to ensure Ember does the right thing in the case a user of your adapter does not specify an ApplicationSerializer.

export default DS.RESTAdapter.extend({
  defaultSerializer: '-default'

Community Adapters

If none of the builtin Ember Data Adapters work for your backend, be sure to check out some of the community maintained Ember Data Adapters. Some good places to look for Ember Data Adapters include: