JavaScript and CSS

Read this guide if you'd like to know

  • how to load JavaScript and CSS files in the Piwik UI
  • how plugins should create JavaScript files
  • how to work with Piwik Core's JavaScript code

JavaScript libraries

Piwik uses the following JavaScript libraries:

Include new JS libraries only if they are vital to your plugin. If many plugins decide to use a custom library, the UI will slow down and plugins might get problems when different plugins load different versions of those libraries.

Assets inclusion

Plugins tell Piwik about their asset files through the AssetManager.getStylesheetFiles and AssetManager.getJavaScriptFiles events. Event handlers are registered in your plugin file (YourPluginName.php) and should append paths to assets to the given $files array:

public function registerEvents()
    return array(
        'AssetManager.getStylesheetFiles' => 'getStylesheetFiles',
        'AssetManager.getJavaScriptFiles' => 'getJavaScriptFiles',

public function getStylesheetFiles(&$files)
    $files[] = "plugins/MyPlugin/stylesheets/myStylesheet.less";
    $files[] = "plugins/MyPlugin/stylesheets/myCssStylesheet.css";

public function getJavaScriptFiles(&$files)
    $files[] = "plugins/MyPlugin/javascripts/myJavaScript.js";

Asset merging and compiling

In production environments, Piwik will concatenate all JavaScript files into one and minify it. LESS files will be compiled into CSS and merged into one CSS file. Piwik does not merge and minify JavaScript and CSS files on every request as it takes a long time to do this. They are only merged on certain events, such as when enabling a new plugin.

To make sure your changes will be actually visible and executed you need to enable the development mode in case you have not done yet:

./console development:enable

This way JavaScript files won't be merged and you can debug the original JavaScript source code.

Special HTML Elements

The following is a list of special elements that you should be aware of as you develop your plugin or contribution:

  • #root: The root element of everything that is displayed and visible to the user.

  • #content: The root element that contains everything displayed under the main reporting menu and the row of 'selector' controls (ie, the period selector, the segment selector, etc.).

  • .top_controls: The element that contains the 'selector' controls. Only one of these elements.

  • .widgetContent: The root element of each widget. Events are posted to this specific element.

Global variables defined by Piwik

Piwik defines several global variables (held in window.piwik) regarding the current request. Here is what they are and how you should use them:

  • piwik.token_auth: The token_auth of the current user. Should be used in AJAX requests, but should never appear in the URL.
  • piwik.piwik_url: The URL to this Piwik instance.
  • piwik.userLogin: The current user's login handle (if there is a current user).
  • piwik.idSite: The ID of the currently selected website.
  • piwik.siteName: The name of the currently selected website.
  • piwik.siteMainUrl: The URL of the currently selected website.
  • piwik.language: The currently selected language's code (for example, en).

Coding conventions

When writing JavaScript for your contribution or plugin, you would ideally respect the following coding conventions.

Self-executing anonymous function wrapper

Every JavaScript file you create should surround its code in a self-executing anonymous function:

 * My JS file.
(function ($, require) {

    // ... your code goes here ...

})(jQuery, require);

If you need to use global objects, they should be passed in to the anonymous function as is done above. Anything that should be made available to other files should be exposed via require.

JavaScript modularization

Piwik attempts to modularize all JavaScript code through the use of Piwik's require function. This function (inspired by node.js' require function) will create nested objects in the window object based on a namespace string (for example, 'MyPlugin/Widgets/FancySchmancyThing').

Here's how it should be used:

(function ($, require) {

    // get a class that we're going to extend
    var classToExtend = require('AnotherPlugin/Widgets').TheirWidget;

    // extend it
    function MySpecialWidget() {;

    $.extend(MySpecialWidget.prototype, classToExtend.prototype, {
        // ...

    // export the class so it is available to other JavaScript files
    var exports = require('MyPlugin/NamespaceForThisFile');
    exports.MySpecialWidget = MySpecialWidget;

})(jQuery, require);

All new JavaScript should modularize their code with the require function. The window object should be accessed sparingly, if ever.

Important JavaScript classes

Piwik Core defines many classes that should be reused by new plugins and contributions. These classes can be used to, among other things, change the page the UI shows, load a popover and get themed color values from CSS.


The broadcast object is stored directly in the window object and should be used to parse the current URL, load a page in the area below the menu and load persistent popovers.

Note: Though the object is stored in window and not a JS namespace, it can still be accessed using require by calling require('broadcast').

Parsing the URL

broadcast contains several methods for parsing the Piwik URL. Piwik's main UI stores secondary set of query parameters in a URL's hash value. This is the URL that is loaded below the menu. broadcast's URL parsing functions will look for query parameter values in the hash as well as the main query string, so it is important to use them instead of directly accessing window.location.href.

broadcast provides the following functions:

  • isHashExists(): Returns the hash of the URL if it exists, false if otherwise.
  • getHashFromUrl(): Returns the hash of the URL. Can be an empty string.
  • getSearchFromUrl(): Returns the query string.
  • extractKeyValuePairsFromQueryString(): Converts a query string to an object mapping query parameter names with query parameter values.
  • getValuesFromUrl(): Returns an object mapping query parameter names with query parameter values for the current URL.
  • getValueFromUrl(): Returns one query parameter value for the current URL by name.
  • getValueFromHash(): Returns one query parameter value in the hash of the current URL by name.
  • getHash(): Returns the hash of the URL.

To learn more about an individual function, see the method documentation in the plugins/CoreHome/javascripts/broadcast.js file.

Loading new Piwik pages

To load a new page below the main Piwik menu, use the propagateNewPage() function with a URL to the controller method whose output should be displayed:

(function (require) {

    var broadcast = require('broadcast');
    broadcast.propagateNewPage('index.php?module=MyPlugin&action=mySpecialPage', true);



The ajaxHelper class should be used whenever you need to create an AJAX request. Plugins should not use $.ajax directly. ajaxHelper does some extra things that make it harder to write insecure code. It also keeps track of the current ongoing AJAX requests which is vital to the UI tests.

To use the ajaxHelper, create an instance, configure it, and then call the send() method. To learn more, read the documentation in the source code (located in plugins/Morpheus/javascripts/ajaxHelper.js).

For example:

(function (require, $) {

    var ajaxHelper = require('ajaxHelper');

    var ajax = new ajaxHelper();
    ajax.setCallback(function (response) {
    ajax.setFormat('html'); // the expected response format

})(require, jQuery);

Learn more

  • To learn about creating new report visualizations read our Visualizing Report Data guide.
  • To learn more about the asset merging system read this blog post by the system's author.
  • To learn more about theming read our Theming guide.