Employee Directory using JavaScript SDK

Learn how to create a simple Employee Directory application using Appacitive as the backend to fetch data. This application uses Backbone.js to organize the code, and Twitter Bootstrap to organize the UI.

Checkout code for this sample

GitHub .zip File Demo App Store

This app allows you to search for employees by name and view their details. It also allows to navigate up and down the Org Chart by clicking the employee’s manager or any of his/her direct reports.

Appacitive's Javascript SDK is built mostly in the way models and collections work in backbone.js, with changes to accomodate Appacitive's API convention. Thus integrating SDK with backbone apps becomes more easy.

This tutorial demonstrates two features Data Store and Graph API provided by Appacitive Platform. As part of design best practice, you will learn how to model your app and bind your custom objects to the view.


  • Underscore
  • jQuery
  • Backbone
  • Bootstrap

Above specified dependencies are specific to this app. SDK has no dependencies on any libraries.

Follow this guide to get hands on with this App.

1. Modeling app backend on Appacitive

Following video shows how to create the model for the app on Appacitive Platform.

2. Importing Sample Data

This is an optional step.

Once the model is in place you can import some sample data in your app. All the information and images for the employees is taken from ccoenraets/directory-backbone-bootstrap.

Retrieving API Key and Application Id

You will require API Key and Application Id to import data, to get these details, open your app on Appacitive Portal. API key for the app is available on your app's home page at the bottom. To get the App Id, open application details view by clicking on edit icon near your app's name.

Launch Import Tool

3. Download and Run the App

The app itself has no dependency on a specific back end. Thus you can download and run the app without having to set up a server and a database.

You can download the app here .

Because the templates of this application are loaded using XMLHTTPRequest, you will get a cross domain error (Access-Control-Allow-Origin) if you load index.html from the file system (with the file:// protocol). Make sure you load the application from a web server. For example: http://localhost:8000.

For MAC OS you can simply use Anvil. For others, just install nodejs and then run this command in your app's directory

node server.js 8000

4. Using the Javascript SDK

The data layer is architected with simple and pluggable data adapters. By default the application uses an in-memory data adapter, but it can be switched to use Appacitive data adapter.

4.1 Include the SDK

To change the data adapter, just comment out model-in-memory.js script, and uncomment the appacitive-js-sdk-v0.9.7.7.min.js and model-appacitive-com.js scripts in index.html.


<!-- Uncomment the script below to access the application data using an in-memory data store -->
<!--<script src="js/models/model-in-memory.js"></script>-->

<!-- Uncomment the two scripts below to use Appacitive.com as the data persistence layer. -->
<script src="http://cdn.appacitive.com/sdk/js/appacitive-js-sdk-v1.0.10.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="js/models/model-appacitive-com.js"></script>

4.2 Initialize SDK

Replace {{API Key}} with your Api Key and {{App Id}} with your App Id in model-appacitive-com.js.

  apikey: "{{API Key}}", 
  env: "sandbox", 
  appId: "{{App Id}}"

Note: We suggest using the client key as API key to maintain security and controlled access on your data.

3.3 Code Walkthrough

Employee Directory is a single page application: index.html is essentially empty. Views are injected into and removed from the DOM as needed. Even though it is a single page application, the Backbone.js Router makes it easy to keep the different states of the app bookmarkable and deep-linkable.

All Appacitive related models and collections are present in model-appacitive-com.js. We use the concept of relationships in this tutorial.

  • One-to-Many association. A manages relationship is defined between employees labelled as Manager-to-Employee. This relationship is defined in the Employee model as a collection of employees (the direct reports). The initialize functions sets reports property in the employee model with a new instance of Reports Collection. That collection is populated with reporting employees from the result of Graph API query, on employee fetch.
// To initialize reports collection
// And override default fetch function
// To call fetchDetails
initialize: function() {
    this.reports = new directory.ReportsCollection();

    //override fetch method 
    this.fetch = this.fetchAllDetails;

The Employee model is mapped to employee type in our Appacitive app. The default fetch function is overriden by fetchDetails. This function uses graph API to fetch details for that employee.

In addition, it also populates the reports collection with employees who report to this employee. It also sets the managerid and managername with the details of the manager to whom this employee reports.

// Use projection query to fetch employee details for this employee
// Returns all employees who report to this employee as well as to whom this employee reports
fetchAllDetails: function(options) {
    var self = this;

    // Create grpah projection query by pass employee id
    var query = new Appacitive.Queries.GraphProjectQuery('manages', [this.id]);

    // Create a promise
    var promise = Appacitive.Promise.buildPromise(options);

    // Call fetch
    query.fetch().then(function(employees) {

        // As we've overrided fetch function we'll need to copy 
        // employee attributes in existing object
        self.copy(employees[0].toJSON(), true);

        // Contains all employees who're connected to this employee by manages relationship
        self.children = employees[0].children;

        // reports contains employees with label `employee` in relation
        // Basically reports contains all employees who report directly to this employee
        var reports = self.children.reports;

        // managedBy contains employees with label `manager` in relation
        // Basically managedBy contains employee to whom this employee directly reports
        var managedBy = self.children.managedby;

        // If this employee is managed by any other employye 
        // Then we set managerid and managername property in this employee
        if (managedBy.length > 0) {
            self.set('managerid', managedBy[0].id);
            self.set('managername', managedBy[0].name());

        // Add reports to reports collection of this object

        // Fulfill the promise
        promise.fulfill.apply(promise, [self, reports]);
    }, function() {
        // Reject the promise
        promise.reject.apply(promise, arguments);

    // Return promise
    return promise;

The EmployeeCollection is the collection of all employees. It overrides the default fetch function of the collection, to add or remove filters ( to filter stuff on basis of firstname or lastname or nothing) to the query before making fetch call.

By default the query property in Appacitive.Collection is initialized with a FindAll query for that model. In our case the model is Employee.

// Employee Collection
// ---------------

// The collection of employees is backed by *Appacitive*
directory.EmployeeCollection = Appacitive.Collection.extend(({

    // Reference to this collection's model.
    model: directory.Employee,

    // Override base fetch function to set filters in query when called
    fetch: function(options) {
        console.log('custom fetch');
        // If options contain name then only define filters else set filter as empty
        if (options.data && options.data.name) {
            // Filter on firstname
            var firstNameFilter = Appacitive.Filter.Property('firstname').match(options.data.name);

            // Filter on firstname
            var lastNameFilter = Appacitive.Filter.Property('lastname').match(options.data.name);

            // Combine both the filters by Oring them
            var filter = Appacitive.Filter.Or(firstNameFilter, lastNameFilter);

            // Set filter for this collection 
        } else {
            // Set empty filter

        // Call base fetch function with all arguments
        Appacitive.Collection.prototype.fetch.apply(this, arguments);


The ReportsCollection overrides the default fetch function of the collection, as projection query from employee fetches and adds employees to this collection. Thus it returns a fulfilled promise in fetch call.

// Reports Collection
// ---------------

// The collection of employees who report to another employee
directory.ReportsCollection = Appacitive.Collection.extend(({

    // Reference to this collection's model.
    model: directory.Employee,

    // Override fetch function to avoid making any API calls
    // As projection query from employee fetches and adds employees to this collection
    fetch: function(options) {
        var promise = Appacitive.Promise.buildPromise(options);
        var self = this;
        setTimeout(function() {
        }, 0);
        return promise;


Following video explains Graph API in more detail.


You have created a fully functional Employee Directory App using Javascript SDK backed by Appacitive Platform. In this App we have explored two features Data Store and Graph API feature provided by Appacitive Core.

What's next?

You can check out our other samples to know more about Javscript SDK and other features provided by Appacitive Platform. For complete API reference of Javascript SDK go to our help docs.