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Services and Utilities

For Super Rentals, we want to be able to display a map showing where each rental is. To implement this feature, we will take advantage of several Ember concepts:

  1. A utility function to create a map from the Google Maps API.
  2. A service to keep a cache of rendered maps to use in different places in the application.
  3. A component to display a map on each rental listing.

Making Google Maps Available

Before implementing a map, we need to make a 3rd party map API available to our Ember app. There are several ways to include 3rd party libraries in Ember. See the guides section on managing dependencies as a starting point when you need to add one.

The Google Maps API requires us to reference its library from a remote script. In this case we'll provide this script to our Ember app via an addon called ember-simple-google-maps.

ember install ember-simple-google-maps

Google Maps requires an API key for deployment. You can Generate an API key from Google. Add your new API key to the application by stopping the server and restarting it with the environment variable, GOOGLE_MAPS_API_KEY.

GOOGLE_MAPS_API_KEY=<your key here> ember s

Accessing the Google Maps API with a Utility

Ember utilities are reusable code that can be accessed from various parts of the application. For Super Rentals, we'll use a utility to access the Google Maps API. The utility will abstract the Google API away from our Maps service, which will allow for future reuse of the maps API within the application, easier refactoring to alternate maps implementations, and easier testing of code that depends on it.

Now that we have the maps API available to the application, we can create our map utility. Utility files can be generated using Ember CLI.

ember g util google-maps

The CLI generate util command will create a utility file and a unit test. We'll delete the unit test since we don't want to test Google code.

Our app needs a single function, createMap, which makes use of google.maps.Map to create our map element, google.maps.Geocoder to lookup the coordinates of our location, and google.maps.Marker to pin our map based on the resolved location.

export default function googleMaps() {
  return true;
import EmberObject from '@ember/object';

const google = window.google;

export default EmberObject.extend({

  init() {
    this.set('geocoder', new google.maps.Geocoder());

  createMap(element, location) {
    let map = new google.maps.Map(element, { scrollwheel: false, zoom: 10 });
    this.pinLocation(location, map);
    return map;

  pinLocation(location, map) {
    this.get('geocoder').geocode({address: location}, (result, status) => {
      if (status === google.maps.GeocoderStatus.OK) {
        let geometry = result[0].geometry.location;
        let position = { lat: geometry.lat(), lng: geometry.lng() };
        new google.maps.Marker({ position, map, title: location });


Fetching Maps With a Service

Now that we are able to generate a map element, we will implement a maps service that will keep a reference to the Map object we create, and attach the map to an element in our application

Accessing our maps API through a service will give us several benefits

  • It is injected with a service locator, meaning it will abstract the maps API from the code that uses it, allowing for easier refactoring and maintenance.
  • It is lazy-loaded, meaning it won't be initialized until it is called the first time. In some cases this can reduce your app's processor load and memory consumption.
  • It is a singleton, which means there is only one instance of the service object in the browser. This will allow us to keep map data while the user navigates around the app, so that returning to a page doesn't require it to reload its maps.

Let's get started creating our service by generating it through Ember CLI, which will create the service file, as well as a unit test for it.

ember g service maps

Now implement the service as follows. Note that we check if a map already exists for the given location and use that one, otherwise we call a Google Maps utility to create one.

import Service from '@ember/service';
import { camelize } from '@ember/string';
import EmberObject from '@ember/object';

import MapUtil from '../utils/google-maps';

export default Service.extend({

  init() {
    if (!this.get('cachedMaps')) {
      this.set('cachedMaps', EmberObject.create());
    if (!this.get('mapUtil')) {
      this.set('mapUtil', MapUtil.create());

  getMapElement(location) {
    let camelizedLocation = camelize(location);
    let element = this.get(`cachedMaps.${camelizedLocation}`);
    if (!element) {
      element = this.createMapElement();
      this.get('mapUtil').createMap(element, location);
      this.set(`cachedMaps.${camelizedLocation}`, element);
    return element;

  createMapElement() {
    let element = document.createElement('div');
    element.className = 'map';
    return element;


Display Maps With a Component

With a service and utility that render a map to a web page element, we'll connect it to our application using a component.

Generate the map component using Ember CLI.

ember g component location-map

Running this command generates three files: a component JavaScript file, a template, and a test file.

Let's start by adding a div element to the component template. This div will act as a place for the 3rd party map API to render the map to.

<div class="map-container"></div>

Next, update the component to append the map output to the div element we created.

We provide the maps service into our component by initializing a property of our component, called maps. Services are commonly made available in components and other Ember objects by "service injection". When you initialize a property with import { inject } from '@ember/service';, Ember tries to set that property with a service matching its name.

With our maps service, our component will call the getMapElement function with the provided location. We append the map element we get back from the service by implementing didInsertElement, which is a component lifecycle hook. This function runs during the component render, after the component's markup gets inserted into the page.

import Component from '@ember/component';
import { inject as service } from '@ember/service';

export default Component.extend({
  maps: service(),

  didInsertElement() {
    let location = this.get('location');
    let mapElement = this.get('maps').getMapElement(location);

You may have noticed that this.get('location') refers to a property location we haven't defined. This property will be passed in to the component by its parent template below.

Finally open the template file for our rental-listing component and add the new location-map component.

<article class="listing">
  <a {{action 'toggleImageSize'}} class="image {{if isWide "wide"}}">
    <img src="{{rental.image}}" alt="">
    <small>View Larger</small>
  <div class="detail owner">
    <span>Owner:</span> {{rental.owner}}
  <div class="detail type">
    <span>Type:</span> {{rental-property-type rental.category}}
      - {{rental.category}}
  <div class="detail location">
    <span>Location:</span> {{rental.city}}
  <div class="detail bedrooms">
    <span>Number of bedrooms:</span> {{rental.bedrooms}}
  {{location-map location=rental.city}}

After starting the server we should now see some end to end maps functionality show up on our front page!

super rentals homepage with maps

You may now either move onto the next feature, or continue here to test the maps feature we just added.

Unit testing a Service

We'll use a unit test to validate the service. Unit tests are more isolated than integration tests and application tests, and are intended for testing specific logic within a class. (Note: you should restart ember test --server whenever you add a new service, otherwise the new service will not be available to your unit tests).

For our service unit test, we'll want to verify that locations that have been previously loaded are fetched from cache, while new locations are created using the utility. We will isolate our tests from actually calling Google Maps by stubbing our map utility. On line 19 of maps-test.js below we create a JavaScript object to simulate the behavior of the utility, but instead of creating a Google map, we return an empty JavaScript object.

To instantiate the service, we can instantiate it through ember's resolver using the factoryFor method. factoryFor allows us to have control over the creation of the service in Ember, to pass arguments to the constructor that can override parts of the service for our tests.

For cases where we do not need to override parts of the service, we can use lookup In our test below we are passing in our fake map utility object in the first test, and passing a cache object for the second test.

import { module, test } from 'qunit';
import { setupTest } from 'ember-qunit';

const DUMMY_ELEMENT = {};

module('Unit | Service | maps', function(hooks) {
module('service:maps', 'Unit | Service | maps', function (hooks) {

  // Replace this with your real tests.
  test('it exists', function(assert) {
    let service = this.owner.lookup('service:maps');

  test('should create a new map if one isnt cached for location', function (assert) {
    let stubMapUtil = {
      createMap(element, location) {
        assert.ok(element, 'createMap called with element');
        assert.ok(location, 'createMap called with location');
        return DUMMY_ELEMENT;
    let mapService = this.owner.factoryFor('service:maps').create({ mapUtil: stubMapUtil });
    let element = mapService.getMapElement('San Francisco');
    assert.ok(element, 'element exists');
    assert.equal(element.className, 'map', 'element has class name of map');

  test('should use existing map if one is cached for location', function (assert) {
    let stubCachedMaps = {
      sanFrancisco: DUMMY_ELEMENT
    let mapService = this.owner.factoryFor('service:maps').create({ cachedMaps: stubCachedMaps });
    let element = mapService.getMapElement('San Francisco');
    assert.equal(element, DUMMY_ELEMENT, 'element fetched from cache');


When the service calls createMap on our fake utility stubMapUtil, we will run asserts to validate that it is called. In our first test notice that we expect four asserts to be run in line 18. Two of the asserts run in the test function, while the other two are run when createMap is called.

In the second test, only one assert is expected (line 33), since the map element is fetched from cache and does not use the utility.

Also, note that the second test uses a dummy object as the returned map element (defined on line 5). Our map element can be substituted with any object because we are only asserting that the cache has been accessed (see line 39).

The location in the cache has been camelized (line 30), so that it may be used as a key to look up our element. This matches the behavior in getMapElement when city has not yet been cached.

Integration Testing the Map Component

Now let's test that the map component is relying on our service to provide map elements.

To limit the test to validating only its own behavior and not the service, we'll take advantage of the registration API to register a stub maps service. That way when Ember injects the map service into the component, it uses our fake service instead of the real one.

A stub stands in place of the real object in your application and simulates its behavior. In the stub service, define a method that will fetch the map based on location, called getMapElement.

import Service from '@ember/service';
import { module, test } from 'qunit';
import { setupRenderingTest } from 'ember-qunit';
import { render } from '@ember/test-helpers';
import hbs from 'htmlbars-inline-precompile';

const StubMapsService = Service.extend({
  getMapElement(location) {
    this.set('calledWithLocation', location);
    // We create a div here to simulate our maps service,
    // which will create and then cache the map element
    return document.createElement('div');

module('Integration | Component | location map', function(hooks) {

  hooks.beforeEach(function() {
    this.owner.register('service:maps', StubMapsService);
    this.mapsService = this.owner.lookup('service:maps');

  test('should append map element to container element', async function(assert) {
    this.set('myLocation', 'New York');
    await render(hbs`{{location-map location=myLocation}}`);
    assert.equal(this.element.querySelector('.map-container').childNodes.length, 1, 'container should have one child');
    assert.equal(this.get('mapsService.calledWithLocation'), 'New York', 'should call service with New York');

  test('it renders', async function(assert) {
    // Set any properties with this.set('myProperty', 'value');
    // Handle any actions with this.set('myAction', function(val) { ... });

    await render(hbs`{{rental-listing}}`);

    assert.equal(this.element.textContent.trim(), '');

    // Template block usage:
    await render(hbs`
        template block text

    assert.equal(this.element.textContent.trim(), 'template block text');


In the beforeEach function that runs before each test, we use the built-in function this.register to register our stub service in place of the maps service. Registration makes an object available to your Ember application for things like loading components from templates and injecting services in this case.

The call to the function this.inject.service injects the service we just registered into the context of the tests, so each test may access it through this.get('mapsService'). In the example we assert that calledWithLocation in our stub is set to the location we passed to the component.

Stubbing Services in Application Tests

Finally, we want to update our application tests to account for our new service. While it would be great to verify that a map is displaying, we don't want to hammer the Google Maps API every time we run our application test. For this tutorial we'll rely on our component integration tests to ensure that the map DOM is being attached to our screen. To avoid hitting our Maps request limit, we'll stub out our Maps service in our application tests.

Often, services connect to third party APIs that are not desirable to include in automated tests. To stub these services we simply have to register a stub service that implements the same API, but does not have the dependencies that are problematic for the test suite.

Add the following code to your application test

import Service from '@ember/service';
import { module, test } from 'qunit';
import { setupApplicationTest } from 'ember-qunit';
import setupMirage from 'ember-cli-mirage/test-support/setup-mirage';
import {
} from '@ember/test-helpers'

let StubMapsService = Service.extend({
  getMapElement() {
    return document.createElement('div');

module('Acceptance | list rentals', function(hooks) {

  hooks.beforeEach(function() {
    this.owner.register('service:maps', StubMapsService);

What's happening here is we are adding our own stub maps service that simply creates an empty div. Then we are putting it in Ember's registry using the owner object given by the test context. When our component loads the maps service, it gets our stub service instead. That way every time that component is created, our stub map service gets injected over the Google maps service. Now when we run our application tests, you'll notice that maps do not get rendered as the test runs.

application tests without maps