Controllers may either be normal objects, or functions. If the controller is given as a function, it is called as a constructor (using the new operator) and passed the model as an argument. So a controller could be set up like this:

var PostController = function(post) { = post;

PostController.prototype.favourite = function() { = true;

Serenade.render("post", post, PostController);

When the controller is a constructor, it is initialized before the view is rendered. This means that it is impossible to access the view from the constructor function. This gives you the opportunity of doing whatever you need before rendering happens.

For both controllers passed as functions and as regular objects, if they implement a method called loaded then it is called with the root element of the view and the model after the view has rendered:

var PostController = function(post) {};

PostController.prototype.loaded = function(view, model) {
  new Datepicker(view.querySelector("#date"));

Serenade.render("post", post, PostController);

As you can see, the loaded function makes it possible to bind events to views which fall outside the normal flow of Serenade views and events.

If you're using CoffeeScript you can use classes for your controllers:

class PostController
  constructor: (@post) ->
  loaded: (view) -> new Datepicker(view.querySelector("#date"))
  favourite: -> @post.favourite = true

Serenade.render("post", post, PostController)


Events are bound and given a name in the view. When the event is triggered, Serenade looks up the property with the name of the event on the controller and calls it as a function. Such a function is called an action.

Actions receive as parameters the element that the event was bound to, the model, and the event object itself.

Since the action has access to the DOM element, you can interact with the DOM from your controller actions. Be careful with modifying the DOM though. Ideally you would just update properties on model objects and have the view automatically reflect those changes.

Events are bound by using the event:name=binding syntax for an element's attributes like so:

  h3 "Post"
  a[href="#" event:click=like] "Like this post"

You can use any DOM event, such as submit, mouseover, blur, keydown, etc. This will now look up the property like on your controller and call it as a function. You could implement this as follows:

var controller = {
  like: function(element, model) { model.liked = true; }

In this example, if we have scrolled down a bit, we would jump to the start of the page, since the link points to the # anchor. In many JavaScript frameworks such as jQuery, we could fix this by returning false from the event handler. In Serenade.js, returning false does nothing. Thankfully the event object is passed into the function call on the controller, so we can use the preventDefault function to stop the link being followed:

var controller = {
  like: function(element, model, event) {
    model.liked = true;

Preventing the default action of an event is really, really common, so having to call preventDefault everywhere gets old very fast. For this reason, Serenade.js has a special syntax in its templates to prevent the default action without having to do any additional work in the controller. Just append an exclamation mark after the event binding:

  h3 "Post"
  a[href="#" event:click=like!] "Like this post"