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1.1.0 • Public • Published

Bluejax is a library that wraps jQuery's ajax function in Bluebird promises. This is not the first library of this kind, but the other libraries that existed when Bluejax was created did not satisfy our needs, or appeared defunct.


  • Wraps jQuery.ajax in Bluebird promises.

  • Optionally retry failed queries a number of times before giving up.

  • Optionally diagnoses failed queries: network failure, server down, something else?

jQuery Versions Supported

In the 3.x and 2.x series: any version.

In the 1.x series: 1.11 or later. This being said, Bluejax probably works fine with 1.9 and 1.10.

Platforms Supported

Bluejax's is tested on Chrome, Firefox, IE11 and 10, Edge, Opera, and Safari (on El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks). We test against the latest versions offered by the vendors of these browsers on their respective platforms.

Bluejax's suite fails on IE9. I currently have no plans to work on adding support for IE9 but if you want to provide a pull request that will make Bluejax run on IE9 and will keep its current tests passing, you are welcome to do so.

Loading Bluejax


Your loader should be configured so that it can find Bluejax, jQuery and Bluebird. jQuery and Bluebird are requested by Bluejax as jquery and bluebird respectively.


Once installed, you should just be able to do var bluejax = require("bluejax"). jQuery and Bluebird should also be installed. Just like in the AMD case, they are required as jquery and bluebird respectively.

script elements

If you are just loading it in a browser with script. jQuery and Bluebird must have been loaded beforehand.

Using Bluejax

The module exports these items:

  • ajax(...) is a function that passes all its arguments to jQuery.ajax. By default, it returns a promise that resolves to the data received. If it fails, it will reject the promise with a GeneralAjaxError or a an exception whose class is derived from GeneralAjaxError.

    ajax(url).then(function (data) {
        document.getElementById("foo").innerHTML = data;
  • ajax$(...) does the same thing as ajax(...) but it returns an object that has the keys xhr and promise. The value of promise is the same as the value returned by ajax(...) the xhr object is an object like the jqXHR returned by jQuery.ajax.

    Important note: the xhr object only encapsulate the tries that Bluejax performs. It will be successful if the Ajax query was successful within the number of tries specified and will fail if the tries failed. It is not affected by the diagnosis done after all tries failed. If you need diagnostic information you must use the promise.

    This call can be useful for the purpose of inserting Bluejax in contexts that expect to work with jQuery.ajax. For instance, I can make Backbone use Bluejax for all its Ajax requests. In this case, I use a special useBluejax option to turn on the use of Bluejax. Those calls that do use use useBluejax go through unchanged.

      var origAjax = Backbone.ajax;
      Backbone.ajax = function ajaxWrapper(options) {
        if (!options.useBluejax) {
          return, options);
        // Return the xhr because this is what callers to ``Backbone.ajax``
        // expect.
        return ajax$(options).xhr;

    Although the callers of Backbone.ajax do not get a promise. The callers still benefit from the possibility of retrying queries. If everything goes to hell they do not get the diagnosis information themselves but a handler that listens for unhandled rejections could use the rejection information to provide an informative error message. This is actually the case for my Backbone application that uses the snippet above.

  • make(options, field) is a utility function that creates a new ajax$-like function. The options parameter is an object containing Bluejax options. The returned value is a new function that works like ajax but which has its Bluejax options set to the values contained in the options object.

    The field parameter allows you to automatically extract a field. If you do not specify a value for field, then the return value will be the same object returned by $ajax. If you want to retrieve only one field from that object, you must specify the field name. To get the same value as the ajax(...) call, you'd need to put "promise" for the value of field.

    Example: it is possible to create a new function that will return verbose results: var ajaxVerbose = make({verboseResults: true}, "promise"); and use it in the same way ajax is used:

      ajaxVerbose("").spread(function (data, textStatus,
                                                         jqXHR) {
  • GeneralAjaxError is a class that derives from JavaScript's stock Error. It aims to provide a somewhat saner way to handle Ajax errors than what jQuery provides by default. When jQuery.ajax fails, Bluejax creates an exception derived from GeneralAjaxError that has its jqXHR, textStatus and errorThrown fields set to the corresponding fields of callback that should be passed to the .fail(...) method of the object returned by jQuery.ajax. Its message field is constructed as follows:

    • If errorThrown is set, the message is "Ajax operation failed: errorThrown (jqXHR.status).".

    • Otherwise, if textStatus is set, the message is "Ajax operation failed: textStatus.".

    • Otherwise, the message is "Ajax operation failed."

  • HttpError is raised if the response had an HTTP status that signaled an error.

  • TimeoutError is raised if the rejection was caused by a timeout.

  • AbortError is raised if the rejection was caused by an abort.

  • ParserError is raised if the rejection was caused by a parsing problem.

  • ConnectivityError indicates a network problem. This class of error is never raised directly but is raised through its children:

    • BrowserOfflineError is raised if the browser is offline.

    • ServerDownError is raised if the server is down.

    • NetworkDownError is raised if the network is down.

  • If none of the more specialized cases above apply, then AjaxError is raised.


Bluejax currently supports these options:

  • tries tells Bluejax to retry the query for a number of times. Note that the value here should be a number greater than 1. (Values less than 1 yield undefined behavior.)

  • shouldRetry is a function with the following signature shouldRetry(jqXHR, textStatus, errorThrown). It should return true if the query should be retried, or false if an error should be returned immediately.

    If no value is specified, the default function returns true if the previous query failed due to reasons other than the HTTP status code reporting an error, aborted or had a parser error. Basically, it retries the connection if the issue appears to be at the network level rather than an application issue.

  • delay specifies the delay between retries, in milliseconds.

  • diagnose is an object with the following keys:

    • on must be true for diagnosis to happen. (This makes diagnosis easy to turn off, while keeping the other diagnosis settings intact.) Make sure to read the section on diagnosis rules and URL transformations below before to understand what it is that happens when you turn diagnosis on!!!

    • serverURL must be a URL that used to test whether your server is running or not. We recommend making it a path that is inexpensive to serve. For instance, your internet-facing nginx instance could have a rule that serves 200 and no contents for GETs to /ping. Bluejax uses this URL to double check whether your server is up.

    • knownServers must be an array of URLs to known internet servers. Bluejax uses these URLs to determine whether the Internet is accessible or not.

  • verboseExceptions when set to true will cause exception messages to additionally contain the text "Called with: " followed by a JSON dump of the options that were passed to ajax(...). This can be useful to identify which call precisely is failing.

  • verboseResults causes the promise to resolve to [data, textStatus, jqXHR] where each element of the array is the corresponding parameter passed to the callback of the .done(...) method of the object returned by jQuery.ajax. You would use this in a case where just receiving data is not enough for your usage scenario.

    Bluebird's .spread method is useful to unpack the array:

     ajax(url, {
               bluejaxOptions: { verboseResults: true }
          }).spread(function (data, textStatus, jqXHR) {...

There are two ways to set Bluejax options:

  • You can set set the bluejaxOptions field on a settings object passed to ajax. Remember that ajax(...) takes the same parameters as jQuery.ajax. When you pass a settings parameter to the call, it may contain a bluejaxOptions field that sets verboseExceptions:

        url: "",
        bluejaxOptions: {
            verboseExceptions: true
  • You can create a new ajax-like function with make.

Diagnosis Rules

Diagnosis happens only if the final try for the request failed with an error other than an HTTP error, an abort or a parser error. Otherwise, no diagnosis occurs and the error is reported immediately.

Bluejax uses the following rules when diagnosis is requested:

  1. If navigator.onLine is false, Bluejax reports that the browser is offline.

  2. If a serverURL is specified, then it checks whether the server is responds to a GET at this URL:

A. If the server responds, Bluejax reports the error that was reported by the last try.

B. If the server does not respond, Bluejax reports the result of a connectivity check.

  1. If a serverURL was not specified, Bluejax reports the result of a connectivity check.

Connectivity Check

  1. If knownServers does not exist or is an empty list, then it reports that the server appears to be down.

  2. Otherwise, Bluejax contacts all the servers. If none of them respond, then it reports that the network appears to be down. Otherwise, it reports that the server appears to be down.

URL Checking Rules

For all URLs used in diagnosis, these two transformations are applied in order:

  1. If the URL ends with a / and has no query string, then the URL is transformed by adding favicon.ico. Requesting the root page of a site may result in a large amount of data being returned. Requesting favicon.ico would in most cases result in a relatively small amount of data.

  2. If the URL has no query, then the URL is transformed by adding a query that is a single number corresponding to the current time. This is done to bust caches.

So if you specify a known server as the URL used for the query will be, where ttttt is the number described above. If you specify then the URL used for the query will be If the URL you give in the options contains a query, it won't be modified at all. (We do not recommend such case.)

Developing Bluejax

If you produce a pull request run gulp lint and gulp test first to make sure they run clean. If you add features, do add tests.


We need a Mocha run to test loading Bluejax as a CommonJS module with script elements. The Karma run, which exercises over 95% of the code, uses RequireJS to load Bluejax.

Ideally, we combine the results of the Karma runs with the result of the Mocha run. The problem though is that as we speak, karma-coverage uses Istanbul 0.4.x but to get coverage with Mocha with code that has run through Babel, we need Istanbul 1.0.0-alpha2 or higher. We've not been able to combine the formats produced by the various versions.


Browser Stack

Bluejax is tested using BrowserStack. BrowserStack provides this service for free under their program for supporting open-source software.


npm i bluejax

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