External Web Clients

You may want to build your own custom web applications using Girder. Since Girder cleanly separates API from UI, it is straightforward to use a mounted Girder API for app authentication and data storage. You may additionally use Girder’s JavaScript libraries and UI templates to assist in building applications.

Including the Girder REST API


See the Deploy section for instructions on deployment of Girder under Apache. You may host your web application alongside Girder and use its REST interface.


Tangelo is a CherryPy based web server framework for rapid data analytics and visualization application development. Tangelo has options for directly mounting the Girder API and static application files inside a Tangelo instance. See details in Tangelo’s setup documentation.

Using Girder JavaScript Utilities and Views

Including the JavaScript

Use the following to include the Girder libraries in your web application, assuming Girder is hosted at /girder:

<script src="/girder/static/built/girder.ext.min.js"></script>
<script src="/girder/static/built/girder.app.min.js"></script>


girder.ext.min.js includes requirements for Girder, including jQuery, Bootstrap, Underscore, and Backbone. You may wish to use your own versions of these separately and not include girder.ext.min.js.

Extending Girder’s Backbone application

Girder defines a top-level class at girder.App. This object is responsible for bootstraping the application, setting up the overall layout, and responding to global events like g:login and g:navigateTo. Developers can choose to derive their own application from this class to use the functionality that it provides. For example, the following derivation would modify the normal application bootstrapping

// set the path where girder's API is mounted
girder.apiRoot = '/girder/api/v1';

var App = girder.App.extend({
   start: function () {

      // disable girder's router

      // call the super method
      return girder.App.prototype.start.call(this, {
          fetch: false,  // disable automatic fetching of the user model
          history: false,// disable initialization of Backbone's router
          render: false  // disable automatic rendering on start
      }).then(_.bind(function () {

         // set the current user somehow
         girder.currentUser = new girder.models.UserModel({...});

         // replace the header with a customized class
         this.headerView = new MyHeaderView({parentView: this});

         // render the main page

         // start up the router with the `pushState` option enabled
         Backbone.history.start({pushState: true});
      }, this));

// initialize the application without starting it
var app = new App({start: false});

// start your application after the page loads
$(document).ready(function () {

Other methods that one may need to override include the following:

Bind handlers to the global girder.events object.
Render (or re-render) the entire page.


girder.router.enabled(false) must be set to false to disable URL routing behavior specific to the full Girder web application.

Using Girder Register and Login UI

To use Girder UI components, you will need the following CSS files in your HTML:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/girder/static/built/girder.ext.min.css">
<link rel="stylesheet" href="/girder/static/built/girder.app.min.css">


girder.ext.min.css includes requirements for Girder, including Bootstrap and some additional Bootstrap extensions. You may wish to use your own versions of these separately and not include girder.ext.min.css.

To make login and logout controls, provide a dialog container and login/logout/register links, and a container where the dialogs will be rendered:

<button class="btn btn-link" id="login" href="#">Login</button>
<button class="btn btn-link" id="register" href="#">Register</button>
<label class="hidden" id="name" href="#"></label>
<button class="btn btn-link hidden" id="logout" href="#">Logout</button>
<div class="modal fade" id="dialog-container"></div>

In your JavaScript, perform callbacks such as the following:

$('#login').click(function () {
    var loginView = new girder.views.LoginView({
        el: $('#dialog-container')

$('#register').click(function () {
    var registerView = new girder.views.RegisterView({
        el: $('#dialog-container')

$('#logout').click(function () {
        path: 'user/authentication',
        type: 'DELETE'
    }).done(function () {
        girder.currentUser = null;

girder.events.on('g:login', function () {
    if (girder.currentUser) {
        $("#name").text(girder.currentUser.get('firstName') + " " + girder.currentUser.get('lastName'));

        // Do anything else you'd like to do on login.
    } else {

        // Do anything else you'd like to do on logout.

// Check for who is logged in initially
    path: 'user/authentication',
    error: null
}).done(function (resp) {
    girder.currentUser = new girder.models.UserModel(resp.user);

You can find an example minimal application using Girder’s login and register dialogs in the source tree at /clients/web-external.