Ember Data v1.13 Released

– By Igor Terzic, The EmberData Team

We are proud to announce the release of Ember Data 1.13. This represents the first stable release of Ember Data since its creation over 3 years ago.

As we explained in the The Ember 2.x Project blog post, going forward Ember Data will be syncing up its releases and version numbers with Ember.js releases.

Ember Data 1.13 is the first release of Ember Data that syncs its version with a version of Ember.js. It will be followed by Ember Data 2.0, which will be released alongside Ember.js 2.0. Ember Data 1.13 is fully backwards compatible with Ember Data beta.19, allowing for a smooth upgrade path.

Ember Data 1.13 Overview

Ember Data 1.13 is a massive release we are very proud of. The highlight of the Ember Data 1.13 release is a total overhaul of Ember Data's internal format and Serializer API to follow JSON API.

Two years ago Tom Dale and Yehuda Katz published a vision for how Ember Data should look in the future and articulated the need for a single, ubiquitous JSON API standard.

We are very happy to see the vision for that JSON API standard come to life in the form of the JSON API 1.0 release.

JSON API and Ember Data have been intertwined since JSON API's inception. @dgeb gives the origins of JSON API in his 1.0 announcement:

Yehuda Katz wrote the first draft of the JSON API specification in May 2013 after hammering out the details in a long discussion with Steve Klabnik at RailsConf. JSON API began as a codification of the shared expectations of a single server library for Rails, ActiveModel::Serializers, and a single JavaScript client library, Ember Data.

Ember Data has long supported JSON API through a community adapter started by @0x8890 and maintained by @kurko. However, now that JSON API has reached 1.0, it's time for Ember Data to uphold its part of the bargain and make using JSON API a first-class experience.

We have done exactly that, and Ember Data 1.13 adds support throughout the Ember Data stack for JSON API:

  • Ember Data 1.13 ships with a fully supported JSON API Adapter and Serializer. In 2.0, these will become the default Adapter and Serializer.
  • JSONSerializer and RESTSerializer have been refactored and streamlined to return JSON API payloads.
  • store.push now accepts JSON API compliant payload.
  • Ember Data InvalidError objects now accept JSON API error objects

Switching to the JSON API format unlocks many new features which will be added in the 2.0 cycle, including first-class pagination, filtering and metadata support.

While using JSONSerializer, RESTSerializer and ActiveModelSerializer is not deprecated, we consider JSON API to be the happiest of the happy paths for using Ember Data, and if you are creating a new app today and have control over the API you should be using JSON API, because it is a well designed and comprehensive solution for JSON serialization. If your app is using the vanilla JSONSerializer or RESTSerializer, you will not have to make any changes, and your app will continue to work. The existing serializers have been updated in a backwards compatible way to return JSON API data to the store.

Other major changes in Ember Data 1.13 include:

Upgrade Guide

Ember Data 1.13 is backwards-compatible with previous beta versions, and there are no breaking changes between Ember Data 1.13 and Ember Data beta.19. Ember Data follows Ember.js's lead in not removing any features in this release. The upgrade path should be familiar to Ember.js users: upgrade, remove deprecations, upgrade again.

You should update your codebase to Ember Data 1.13, remove all the deprecations and then move to Ember Data 2.0. It is critically important to do this process step by step so that you won't miss deprecation warnings. Otherwise, your app might fail in hard-to-debug ways.

If you have customized your serializer, you should upgrade to Ember Data 1.13, check the upgrade guide to see if you need to make any changes, and then set a temporary flag on your Serializer: isNewSerializerAPI. This will opt you into the new serializer API. Once you are on the Ember Data 2.0 train, new Serializer API is the default one, and there is no need for a flag.

We will be publishing a detailed step by step upgrade guide along with Ember.js deprecations guides and ember-watson helpers that will automatically upgrade some of the deprecations for you.

Release Logistics

Ember Data 1.13 is the last release of Ember Data that supports IE8 and the 1.x series of Ember.js. Ember Data 2.0-beta.1 will be released shortly, and it will follow the Ember.js release train. Ember Data 2.0 will not work with the Ember.js 1.x series.

We would like to extend a special thanks to the many contributors who have helped out with this release. We would also like to recognize the following contributors who helped with multiple issues leading up to this release. If you would like to help, please join #dev-ember-data in the Ember Community on Slack.

We would also like to thank the companies which generously sponsored some of the work that has gone into Ember Data:

As always this release can be obtained from npm (for use with ember-cli), rubygems, or bower. The builds are also available as static files at http://emberjs.com/builds.

New Features

Simplified Find Methods

Ember Data methods on the store have grown organically over the life of the project. Originally, Ember Data started with store.find(type) to request all records for a type and store.find(type, id) to request a specific record. Later Ember Data added ways to issue a query to the server via store.find(type, {query}) or always reload a record from the backend using store.fetchById(type, id) and store.fetchAll(type).

We realized the overloaded store.find method and inconsistent naming of other methods is confusing for both new and existing developers. As a result, we have renamed many of the existing store methods to make them more consistent and approachable for all developers.

In particular, store.find, store.all, store.getById have been deprecated and are replaced with consistently named methods. New methods follow a convention: If they are async and potentially go to the server, they start with find, and if they only get store local data without side-effects they start with peek. If they return a single record they end in Record and if they return all the records they end in All .

Reorganized Find Methods

Async from server/store Sync from store Query server
Single Record findRecord(type,id) peekRecord(type, id) queryRecord(type, {query})
All Records findAll(type) peekAll(type) query(type, {query})*

* A query usually does not return all the records of a type, so doesn't end in All.

query and queryRecord

The final use case for the old store.find method was issuing queries to the server. This usage of store.find(type, { query }) has been deprecated and replaced by a new query method on the store.

store.query(type, { query });

In addition to store.query we have also added a queryRecord for issuing arbitrary queries to the backend where the expected response is a single record.

store.queryRecord(type, { query });

Thanks to @thaume for his work implementing this feature.

Better Caching Defaults for findAll and findRecord

In Ember Data beta.19 calling store.find(type, id) would fetch the fresh data from the server the first time find was called, and then every time after that return cached data. If the user always needed fresh data, they had to know to call store.fetchRecord, and if they needed to background update they would have to make multiple calls and be careful about what they return from a route's model: hook.

Calling store.find(type) had the exact opposite behavior, where it would always go to the server, and the user had to know to use store.all(type) to only use local data. Mimicking the caching behavior of find(type, id) when using find(type) was not at all straightforward for new developers to write.

Having observed many Ember apps in the wild, we have realized that neither of these two behaviors are the most common use case and deserving of being the default. The most commonly desired behavior we have seen in Ember apps is:

  • First time store.find is called, fetch new data
  • Next time return cached data
  • Fetch new data in the background and update

This is the behavior of the new findRecord and findAll methods.

The first time you call findRecord and findAll they behave the same as the old find method:

//visiting /users/1 for the first time
model: function() {
  //We do not already have the user, so
  //store.findRecord returns a promise that resolves
  //after it has fetched the user from the server
  return this.store.findRecord('user', 1);

However if you already have the data cached locally, they resolve immediately while fetching new data in the background:

//visiting /users/1 for the second time
model: function() {
  //We already have the user, so store.findRecord
  //will resolve immediately with cached data, but will
  //send off a request in the background to update the user record
  //and once the user is updated your template will show the new changes
  return this.store.findRecord('user', 1);

While this is a great default data retrieval strategy, there are certain cases where you want to ensure you have the freshest data (the old store.fetch behavior).

Because of that, findRecord and findAll accept reload: true an option in order to modify their default behavior.

If, for example you want to charge user for a purchase, and want to make sure you get their latest account balance, you can pass a reload: true option that will ensure we get the freshest data before continuing:

//visiting /users/1/confirm-payment
model: function() {
  return this.store.findRecord('user', 1, { reload: true });

All of these behaviors are also shared by findAll:

store.findAll('user');  //goes to the server the first time
store.findAll('user');  //after that returns from cache, but updates in background
store.findAll('user', { reload: true });  //enforces getting fresh data

fetchById and fetchAll Replaced by findRecord and findAll

Having these two methods, with customizable flags allows us to get rid of: store.fetchById and store.fetchAll.

store.fetchById(type, id) -> store.findRecord(type, id, { reload: true });
store.fetchAll(type, id) -> store.findAll(type, { reload: true });

New Adapter Hooks for Better Caching

While store.findRecord and store.findAll now have sensible caching defaults and are easy to override in specific places in the app, oftentimes your app and adapter layer have specific knowledge related to caching. For example, your backend might have given you an expires header, or you may not want to try fetching background updates if the network is down. To support these use cases, we have added new adapter hooks to customize caching app wide beyond passing options to findRecord and findAll.

Now, whenever you call findRecord or findAll, and the record is already cached in the store, the store will ask the adapter whether it needs to immediately reload it, or if it needs to update it in the background.

For example, if you are building an events ticketing system, in which users can only reserve tickets for 20 minutes at a time, and want to ensure that in each route you have data that is no more than 20 minutes old you could write:

shouldReloadRecord: function(store, ticketSnapshot) {
  let timeDiff = moment().diff(ticketSnapshot.attr('lastAccessedAt')).minutes();
  if (timeDiff > 20) {
    return true;
  } else {
    return false;

This method would ensure that whenever you do findRecord('ticket') you will always get a ticket that is no more than 20 minutes old. In case the cached version is more than 20 minutes old, findRecord will not resolve until you fetched the latest version. By default this hook returns false, as most UIs should not block user interactions while waiting on data update.

You can also customize whether you should try and do a background update. For example, if you do not want to fetch complex data over a mobile connection, or if the network is down, you can implement shouldBackgroundReloadRecord

shouldBackgroundReloadRecord: function(store, snapshot) {
  if (window.navigator.connection === 'cellular' ||
    window.navigator.connection === 'none') {
    return false;
  } else {
    return true;

Adapter#shouldBackgroundReloadRecord is called by the store when the store is resolving the findRecord promise with a cached record. If this method returns true the store will attempt to reload the record from the adapter in the background. The default implementation for this method in Ember Data 1.13 is to always return false, in order to ease the upgrade path. However in Ember Data 2.0 this will be changed to always return true.

Symmetric methods have also been added for store.findAll.

shouldReloadAll: function(store, snapshotRecordArray)
shouldBackgroundReloadAll: function(store, snapshotRecordArray)

@eccegordo put together this table listing all the new store apis and the methods they replace.

Ember beta.19 Ember 1.13
store.getById(type, id) store.peekRecord(type, id)
store.all(type) store.peekAll(type)
store.find(type, id) store.findRecord(type, id, options)
store.find(type) store.findAll(type, options)
N/A store.queryRecord(type, query)
store.find(type, { query }) store.query(type, query)
store.fetch(type, id) store.findRecord(type, id, {reload: true})

JSON API Support

JSON API Adapter and Serializer

Ember Data 1.13 comes with support for JSON API 1.0. There is a new DS.JSONAPIAdapter and DS.JSONAPISerializer that support working with JSON API backends. In Ember Data 2.0 the JSON API Adapter will be the default loaded by Ember Data.

Internal Format Change to JSON API

In Ember Data beta.19, you communicated updates to the store by calling store.push(type, id). We have now changed store.push so it receives a JSON API object, store.push({JSON API compound document})

For example

store.push('user', { id: 1, name: 'Pangratz' });


  data: {
    id: '1', 
    type: 'user', 
    attributes: { 
      name: 'Pangratz' 

This allows for much better and fine grained meta handling, and ensures we do not have to support, maintain and document a completely custom JSON format as we had to until now, but can reference the JSON API specification.

We will be publishing an ember-watson helper that will be rewriting all the uses of store.push inside your tests to the new format, as well as addon with helpers that convert the old store.push format into the new format.

New Serializer API for custom Serializer authors

If you made a store.findRecord('user', 1) request in Ember Data beta.19 and your server payload looked like:

  user: { id: 1, name: 'wecc', accounts: [1, 2] },
  accounts: [
    { id: 1, email: 'wecc@sweden.se' },
    { id: 2, email: 'wecc@greece.gr' }

Your serializer would get the payload passed in an extract hook and its job was to:

  • normalize and store.push everything that is not the primary record, in this case the array of sideloaded accounts
  • normalize and return the primary data, in this case the user data

Having these two ways of pushing data to the store, with both returning primary record data from extract hooks but also doing store.push with other data was both confusing, hard to debug and optimize and also prevented us from implementing proper metadata support, especially for sideloaded arrays and records.

In Ember Data 1.13 this process has been greatly simplified. In 1.13 Serializers should make the whole payload conform to the JSON API spec, and return the whole payload. They should no longer store.push themselves.

In order to be backwards compatible, we created a new hook normalizeResponse which Serializers should now implement and return JSON API from that hook.

For example a Serializer responsible for normalizing the above sample payload would transform the payload to:

  data: { 
    id: '1', 
    type: 'user', 
    attributes: {
      name: 'wecc'
    relationships: {
      accounts: {
        data: [
          { id: '1', type: 'account' },
          { id: '2', type: 'account' }
  included: [{ 
    id: '1',
    type: 'account',
    attributes: {
      email: 'wecc@sweden.se'
  }, {
    id: '2',
    type: 'account',
    attributes: {
      email: 'wecc@greece.gr'

We will be posting a detailed Serializer transition guide shortly.

New JSONSerializer and RESTSerializer API

As we rewrote JSONSerializer and RESTSerializer to implement the new Serializer API we also simplified and greatly improved their own APIs. Previously the possible places to modify a response for store.find('user', 1) were

  • extract
  • extractFind
  • extractSingle
  • normalizePayload
  • normalizeHash
  • normalize
  • extractMeta
  • normalizeRelationships
  • normalizeAttributes

The new Serializer API allowed us to simplify these. If you receive a response to store.findRecord('user', 1) in Ember Data 1.13 you can customize your response in

  • normalizeResponse - entry method to the Serializer and responsible for normalizing any response, gets the full payload, returns a JSON API compound document
  • normalizeFindRecordResponse - a normalizeResponse for a specific operation
  • normalize - normalizes data for a single record, returns a JSON API compound document
    • extractId | extractAttributes | extractRelationships - normalize delegates to these methods to extract the id, attributes and relationships from the payload. They receive the full payload for a single record and return the subsets of data for id, attributes and relationships, conforming to the JSON API specification.
  • extractMeta - extracts the metadata for a payload

Transition to the new JSONSerializer and RESTSerializer APIs

If you have a custom serializer you will need to make some new changes to your serializer to get it ready for Ember Data 2.0.

Custom extract Methods

If you have custom extract hooks you need to do two things:

First, rename:

  • extract() => normalizeResponse()
  • extractFindAll() => normalizeFindAllResponse()
  • extractFind() => normalizeFindRecordResponse()
  • extractFindMany() => normalizeFindManyResponse()
  • extractFindBelongsTo() => normalizeFindBelongsToResponse()
  • extractFindHasMany() => normalizeFindHasManyResponse()
  • extractFindQuery() => normalizeQueryResponse()
  • extractQueryRecord() => normalizeQueryRecordResponse()
  • extractCreateRecord() => normalizeCreateRecordResponse()
  • extractDeleteRecord() => normalizeDeleteRecordResponse()
  • extractUpdateRecord() => normalizeUpdateRecordResponse()
  • extractSave() => normalizeSaveResponse()
  • extractSingle() => normalizeSingleResponse()
  • extractArray() => normalizeArrayResponse()

Second, make sure that your extract hooks return a full JSON API compound document (http://jsonapi.org/format/#document-top-level) with the primary resource(s) in a data array or object and eventual sideloaded resources in a included array. Every resource object (http://jsonapi.org/format/#document-resource-objects) has to follow the JSON API format with id, type, attributes in attributes and relationships in relationships. For the full specification of the JSON API format see http://jsonapi.org/format/.

Custom extractMeta Method

If you have a custom extractMeta method you have to make sure it returns the meta data instead of calling store.setMetadataFor() (or relying on _super to do so).

Custom normalize Method

If you have a custom normalize() method you need to update this to return a full JSON API Document (http://jsonapi.org/format/#document-top-level) with the primary resource object (http://jsonapi.org/format/#document-resource-objects) located in data.

Opt Into the New Serializer API

To tell Ember Data that you are ready to use the new Serializer API, add isNewSerializerAPI: true when extending JSONSerializer or RESTSerializer. The new JSONAPISerializer uses the new Serializer API by default. The isNewSerializerAPI flag is only required for Ember Data 1.13 and will be removed in Ember Data 2.0. The new JSONAPISerializer only supports the new Serializer API.

Thanks to @wecc for his hard work on implementing this feature in a backwards compatible way.

We would also like thank @kurko for his efforts maintaining the community JSON API adapter.

New Errors API

Similarly to the find APIs, our error handling APIs have grown over time, and the switch to JSON API has given us a great opportunity for cleanup and standardisation. @tchak has done a great job rewriting our Errors API to be JSON API compatible, while keeping backwards support for REST/JSON/ActiveModel adapters. There are two main changes in Ember Data 1.13 error handling:

  • Cleaner adapter hooks for errors
  • Using JSON API Error object format

Cleaner adapter hooks for errors

Previously, if you were subclassing the RestAdapter you could overwrite ajaxSuccess and ajaxError hooks to implement custom error handling. However, potential errors come in many flavors. For example, you could be receiving responses with a status code of 200 with the body of { error: error }. In this case it was not intuitive to write error handling code in a method called ajaxSuccess. Because of this and many other examples, we realized that ajaxSuccess and ajaxError were not the correct level at which to implement error handling.

In Ember Data 1.13 we are introducing a new, simpler adapter hook: handleResponse while deprecating ajaxSuccess and ajaxError.

The responsibility of handleResponse is to take the returned status, response headers and payload, and decide whether to pass the payload through as a success, or to return an instance of AdapterError or InvalidError.

For example, if your API engineers for some unknown reason decided to return 200 OK with an error message, you could subclass your adapter to handle this:

handleResponse: function(status, headers, payload) {
  if (status === 200 && payload.errors) {
    return new InvalidError(payload.errors);
  return this._super(...arguments);

You could also subclass two helper methods, isInvalid and isSuccess to customize when you adapter considers a request succesful or not valid.

Default implementation of isInvalid returns true if http status code is 422, however, you may desire other semantics, for example checking the code property on a JSON API error object.

This refactor also allows us to abstract away the jQuery jqXHR object, which was tying Ember Data's Rest Adapter too closely with jQuery's implementation of ajax. New hooks take three arguments instead of jqXHR: status code, a hash of response headers and parsed payload. It makes them agnostic about the underlying implementation and will allow us to use methods like fetch in the future.

Using JSON API Error object format

Similarly to the rest of Ember Data 1.13, we have refactored the error handling to use JSON API. JSON API has specified an error objects format. Starting with Ember Data 1.13 we are using JSON API format to communicate errors from the adapter to the store. We are deprecating the current Ruby on Rails inspired format for creating InvalidError objects and replacing it with proper JSON API objects. The old format is supported with a deprecation warning in 1.13.

Deprecated format:

new DS.InvalidError({
  first_name: ['is invalid']

New format:

new DS.InvalidError([
    source: { pointer: 'data/attributes/first_name' },
    detail: 'is invalid'

Thanks to @tchak and @twokul for working on the design and implementation of the new API.

Significant Deprecations

In addition to new features, Ember Data 1.13 introduces deprecations for features and behavior that will be removed in Ember Data 2.0.

Async Relationships

In Ember Data 2.0 relationships will be asynchronous by default. Sync relationships will still be supported but you will need to manually opt into them by setting { async: false } on your relationships. Ember Data 1.13 will log a deprecation warning you if you have any relationships where the async property is not explicitly set. Additionally you can use ember-watson to help identify cases in your codebase where you have relationships without an explicit async property.

DS.Store#filter Moved to an Addon

With Ember Data 2.0 and the commitment to semver we found we were not happy with the state of the current store.filter() method. It currently only supports a limited number of uses cases and often is a source of memory leaks in long running applications. In order to give Ember Data time to iterate on a better filter API the current store.filter method has been deprecated and its functionality is being moved into an addon https://github.com/ember-data/ember-data-filter/.

In Ember 2.0, if you would like to use the current store.filter method you will need to include the ember-data-filter addon with your application.

DS.ActiveModelAdapter Moved to an Addon

DS.ActiveModelAdapter and DS.ActiveModelSerializer has also been moved to an addon. It will continue to be supported by the Ember Data team, however, it will no longer ship with Ember Data by default in Ember Data 2.0.

Custom Stores

Over the years, Ember Data has supported a number of namespaces where custom stores can be defined. In order to make things conceptually simpler Ember Data 2.0 will require custom stores to be define as a service.

If you have a custom store in your Ember CLI app defined in app/store.js you will need to move it to app/services/store.js. If you have a custom store in your globals app you will need to move it to App.StoreService.

JSON API Adapter Default

In Ember Data 2.0 the default adapter will be the JSONAPIAdapter. In Ember Data 1.13 when loading the default RESTAdapter there will be a deprecation warning.

To silence the warning and continue using the RESTAdapter you will need to set the RESTAdapter as your application adapter.

// app/adapters/application.js
import DS from 'ember-data';

export default DS.RESTAdapter;

store.push Changes

Previously, Ember Data allowed users to add a record to the store using store.push('model-name', {}). This format has been deprecated and now store.push will take a JSON API document as its first and only argument. This new change will allow Ember Data to get better performance in Ember Data 2.0 by deferring the creation of DS.Model instances until they are needed by user code. store.pushMany has also been deprecated because you can push multiple records using in a JSON API document.

rollback Renamed to rollbackAttributes

record.rollback() has been deprecated to record.rollbackAttributes(). This new name more closely matches its behavior and will allow for a new record.rollback() to be introduced in the future that rolls back relationships in addition to attributes.

isDirty Renamed to hasDirtyAttributes

record.isDirty() has been deprecated to record.hasDirtyAttributes(). This new name more closely matches its behavior and will allow for a new record.hasDirtyRelationships() to be introduced in the future that allows you to check dirtiness of relationships.

Preloading Record Data on Find

If you previously used the preload argument to store.find it has been moved into the preload key on findRecord's options argument

// Deprecated
store.find('comment', 1, { post: 1 });

// Ember Data 1.13 style
store.findRecord('comment', 1, { preload: { post: 1 }});


Ember Data 1.13