Erik Aybar

Ember.js Example App w/ Twitter Bootstrap (SASS) and ember-cli

November 16, 2014

This is an introductory look at setting up a fresh Ember.js App using ember-cli, setting up a few basic templates/routes, and installing/configuring some assets such as Twitter Bootstrap (using SASS) using Bower.

I recently came into a situation where I need to accomplish just this and found that the due to Ember’s rapid evolution, many of the articles had become out of date. Which will surely happen to this article as well. Please note this article is using ember-cli v0.1.2, node v0.10.31, and Ember v1.8.1.

If you are new to Ember.js, I highly recommend heading over the the Ember docs and Getting Started Guides and spending a bit of time getting to know the framework at least on a high level. If you have any type of Ruby on Rails, Laravel, (or any other similar MVC-ish frameworks that utilize generators and the command line), you will feel right at home :).

Ember.js Homepage

Quick Start - Copy/Paste (bad!)

Assuming you are already setup with node, ember (ember-cli), and bower.

Recommended: Head on over the my Ember.js w/ Bootstrap (SASS) Example App Quick Start instructions.

At the time of this writing:

# Clone the repo and change directories
git clone MyEmberApp && cd MyEmberApp
# Because we never work/commit on master ... right? ;)
git checkout -b feature/my_first_feature
# Install the dependencies (package.json && bower.json)
npm install && bower install
# Fire up the ember-cli server
ember server
# Done. See that wasn't so bad, was it?

# (optionally in a new tab)
open http://localhost:4200

Now you should be able to browse to: http://localhost:4200 and be up and running with Ember.js and Bootstrap 3!

It should look a bit like this:

and from there you have a decent starting point to start learning and experimenting with many of Ember.js’s features/concepts such as:

The Long Version - Step-by-Step

… Although very short long version :)

Step 0: Required Tools:

Install node.js

If you don’t already have node.js installed on your system, you will need to start here. If you search for “How to install node.js on [YOUR OPERATION SYSTEM]” you will come across 100 different methods on how to do just that.

The simplest way is the just head on over to and download the one click installer.

I’ve found I have a much better time (and would recommend you take this route) using nvm (Node Version Manager)

Their quick install instructions are pretty straightforward. Just make sure to set stable as your default alias.

# Download and setup nvm
curl | bash

# Now install and activate the most recent "stable" node
nvm install stable
nvm alias default stable

# At this point you should be golden (try these to verify...)
which node
which npm
Install ember-cli and bower
npm install -g ember-cli
npm install -g bower

Note: if you have to use sudo for any npm install -g [...] commands then your node is likely not installed correctly. If you installed via nvm this should be a non-issue :)

Step 1: Scaffold Default Ember App via ember-cli

$ ember new my-first-ember-app
$ cd my-first-ember-app
$ ember server

At this point you should be able to browse to: http://localhost:4200/

If your are running into problems… well, try try again ;)

Step 2: Add Some Basic Routes/Templates

If you are new to ember-cli, then you will want to head over and checkout the ember-cli Generator docs.

Some blurb here… Yay! ember-cli so great…

$ ember generate template login

Declare the route in your router.js for "/login"

// app/router.js - {

And for good measure, let’s throw in some Bootstrap specific markup so we can verify that the Bootstrap 3 assets (including glyphicons/fonts) are setup correctly.

// app/templates/login.hbs
<!-- Note: this is vanilla HTML. TODO: Emberify!-->

<form class="form" action="#">

  <label for="email" class="sr-only">Email</label>
  <input type="email" class="form-control input-lg" name="email" id="email" placeholder="Email"/>


  <label for="password" class="sr-only">Password</label>
  <input type="password" class="form-control input-lg" name="password" id="password" placeholder="Password"/>


  <button class="btn btn-lg btn-primary">
    <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-cog"></span> Log Me In!


Step 3: Add Dependencies for Bootstrap and SASS

$ bower install --save-dev bootstrap-sass-official
$ npm install --save-dev broccoli-sass

Note: bootstrap-sass is not the bootstrap-sass you are looking for!

[…] bootstrap-sass is taken so make sure you use the command above.

Step 3b: Enable Bootstrap Assets

// Brocfile.js

Rename app.css to app.scss

mv app/styles/app.css app/styles/app.scss

Import Bootstrap

Now you could import directly from the bower_components/[...]/bootstrap.scss, but I like to have a little more control/visibility over my imports (especially since the bower_components’s Bootstrap is not tracked in the git repository).

  • Add a @import "bootstrap_imports"; to the top of your app.scss.
  • Within the app/styles/ add a bootstrap_imports.scss
  • Load the page. Your new app should be Bootstrap-ified!

Step 3c: Using Bootstrap Glyphicons with ember-cli and Broccolli (fonts path)

Some blurb here…

Add this to your Brocfile.js

// Brocfile.js
app.import('bower_components/bootstrap-sass-official/assets/fonts/bootstrap/glyphicons-halflings-regular.woff', {
  destDir: 'fonts/bootstrap/'

Step 3c: Start Customizing Bootstrap!

// bootstrap_imports.scss

// Our custom variables
@import "bootstrap_variables";

// Core variables and mixins
@import "bower_components/bootstrap-sass-official/assets/stylesheets/bootstrap/variables";

// Other import statements below here
// [...]

Any variables you declare in this new file will take precedence over those declared in the deafult _variables.scss included by Bootstrap.

In Closing…

Well. That about sums it up for now :)

I plan to refine and update my Ember.js w/ Bootstrap (SASS) Example App repo as I plan to use it from time to time.

By the time you read this, the repo will likely be much more up to date, relevant, and useful. Please let me know of any suggestions/alternatives/resources as at the time of this writing I am fairly new to the land of Broccoli and Ember.js myself!

Erik Aybar

👋🏽 Hi! I'm Erik Aybar. I'm a software person working remotely from St. George, Utah. This is my blog.