Implementing jQWidgets into an AngularJS SPA

In this tutorial we will show you how to implement jQWidgets controls into a single-page application (SPA) built with AngularJS. If you are unfamiliar with our previous tutorials which cover the basics of using jQWidgets with Angular, we suggest you take a look at them first before proceeding with this guide:

1. The Single-page Application

For our purposes, we will be using a ready-made AngularJS SPA, courtesy of Breeze.js. The app is called Zza! and represents an online pizza restaurant. You can download the example from here. Without going into unnecessary details, we will only mention that this SPA utilizes Breeze, Mongo, Express, Angular and Node. But don't worry, you would not need any previous knowledge of these frameworks to follow our guide. We will focus solely on the UI-part of the SPA and the jQWidgets implementation.

But first, make sure you run the project before we start modifying it. Here are the steps to setting up the Zza! SPA (taken from the file, included in the download):

Click to show how to run Zza!


  • Node.js, version 0.10 or later
  • MongoDB, version 2.6 or later

Install and use

The following instructions assume that the folder breeze.js.samples-master\node\zza-node-mongo is your working directory.

Install MongoDb database

  1. Unzip ~/database/ into that database directory, side-by-side with the zip itself.
  2. Open a command / terminal window
  3. Start mongodb server while pointing to this database directory. On my windows machine, from the project root directory, I enter: c:/mongodb/bin/mongod --dbpath database.
    Console output should indicate that MongoDb server started successfully and is listening on port 27017 (or adjust the mongodbUrl in ~\server\database.js to the appropriate port).

Install dependencies and launch app server

  1. Open a second command / terminal window
  2. Navigate to the client folder, ~/node/zza-node-mongo/client
  3. Install the bower packages: bower install
  4. Navigate to the server folder, ~/node/zza-node-mongo/server
  5. Install the node modules: npm install
  6. Launch the app server: node server/server.js.
    Console output should indicate that app server started successfully and is listening on port 3000.

Launch Zza in a browser

Start your browser with address http://localhost:3000

When you run the SPA, you can see there are five views - Home, Order, Customer, About and Cart. We will modify the Order and Cart views and add some jQWidgets controls to them.

2. The Order View

Here is what the Order view looks like by default:

On the left there is a menu and underneath it - two tables, one for items added to the cart and one for viewed items. Our goal is to convert the menu to a jqxMenu and the tables to jqxDataTables.

2.1. Adding the jQWidgets files

First, we have to add the needed jQWidgets scripts and style sheets to our SPA. We will be working with zza-node-mongo\client as our base folder. In it, note the sub-folders app, css and lib. In css we add a jqwidgets folder, containing:

And in lib we add:

The final step is to reference these files in the SPA itself, in the file index.html. These are the links and scripts that are needed:

2.2. The Order Sidebar (orderSidebar.html)

In the file app\order\orderSidebar.html is the view that contains the menu and two tables. We need to modify it in order to implement jQWidgets in this view. Here is how we add the jqxMenu:

The menu items are list items, generated throgh the Angular directive ng-repeat. Notice the three custom directives we have here:

We will expand on these directives in Step 2.3. For now, here is the rest of the sidebar view, with the same custom directives approach applied to the two tables:

2.3. The Custom Directives

We will now define the aforementioned directives in a new file called jqwidgets-directives.js. Create it in the folder app\directives. Here is the contents of the directives file (for now):

The directive onRender fires a custom event, ngRepeatFinished when all items are rendered by ng-repeat. This is necessary because of the asynchronicity of ng-repeat - we only want to initialize our widget when all items have been loaded.

The ng-jqxsettings directive gets the widget's name from ng-jqwidgets, converts the settings string into an object and intializes the widget when the ngRepeatFinished event fires.

These directives are used by the three widgets we want on our sidebar. Here is how it looks after all the changes we have made:

3. The Cart View

The other view we will implement jQWidgets in is the Cart view. Here is its default look:

The file that controls the cart is app\order\cart.html, which we will modify, so that the order details are shown in a jqxDataTable. Here is the source code of the view after the modification:

As with the widgets in the Order view, this data table utilizes the custom directives ng-jqwidgets and on-render (described in Step 2.3). The main difference here is that the cart data table does not use ng-jqxsettings but another directive - ng-jqxsettings-cart. For the sake of less code in our view, this directive has all the needed settings pre-loaded. While this means the directive is specific strictly to this data table instance (unlike ng-jqxsettings), the benefits are that the much larger code that is needed for the cart table (including custom buttons rendering, aggregates, etc.) does not clutter the html page and stays "behind the scenes". The code of ng-jqxsettings-cart is given here (it, too, is implemented in jqwidgets-directives.js):

Like in the default look, the "Remove" buttons delete an item from the cart via the scope's method removeItem. The click functionality is applied to the buttons in jqxDataTable's rendered callback function. The total price of the order is calculated automatically by the data table aggregates from the columns "Quantity" and "Price". The following is a screenshot of the new cart look: