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2.3.2 • Public • Published

brutal.js (2.3.4)

Brutal.JS has gone PRIVATE

Minimalist framework for building JS apps. Aims to be more efficient than React, Vue or Angular, both for rendering and development.



  • Minimal DOM updates without "Virtual DOM" overhead
  • Keyed and singleton components
  • Only specify a component's position 1 time, every subsequent render invocation automagically updates the right nodes.
  • Uses native JS features and requires no transpilation or build step.
  • Fully isomorphic, running browser-side or server-side (with builtin hydration).
  • Use normal HTML conventions (omit some end tags, omit quotes, lowercase attr names ~ unlike JSX).
  • Add event listeners inline using the lowercased event name, like click, keydown, etc.
  • Small, fast and XSS safe.
  • Can be used in place of Deku, lit-html, AppRun or React.


You can see the below test working here.

This demonstrates minimal DOM updating, and keyed and singleton 'DOM pinning' of components/templates.

  import {R,$} from '../r.js';
  self.firsth1 = null;
  self.secondh1 = null;
  // A brutal template uses the `R` template tag:
  let sayHello = (name) => R`<h1 bond=${el => firsth1 = el}>Hello ${name}</h1>`;
  // It's rendered with the `to()` function:
  sayHello('World').to(document.body, 'afterBegin');
  // And re-renders only update the data that changed, without
  // VDOM diffing!
  // And it automagically knows WHERE to update those nodes. 
  setTimeout(() => sayHello('Everyone'), 1000);
  setTimeout(() => { 
    secondh1 = document.querySelector('h1'); 
    alert(firsth1 === secondh1) 
  }, 3000);
  // the automagical updating even works with keys, 
  // just include a template value that's an object with a 'key' property
  let keyedSayHello = (name, key) => $`${{key}} <p>I am ${name}</p>`;
  keyedSayHello('Peter', 1).to(document.body, 'beforeEnd');
  keyedSayHello('Adam', 2).to(document.body, 'beforeEnd');
  setTimeout(() => keyedSayHello('Michael-Peter', 1), 4000);
  setTimeout(() => keyedSayHello('Cain & Abel', 2), 3000);


From NPM:

$ npm i --save brutalist-web

Then using on server with CJS:

  const {R} = require('brutalist-web');

Or using on server with ESM:

  import {R} from 'brutalist-web';

Using on client with the Unpkg CDN:

  <script type=module src=></script>

Consider relative paths if you want to self-host. For example, (you probably wouldn't do this): if you were serving your node_modules directory, at the /node_modules path, and the script importing was serving from the /app path, you would import like:


  import {R} from '../node_modules/brutalist-web/r.js';

Note: The client imports require you to specify r.js while the server does not. This is owing to the current slightly different syntax and semantics of ES imports between client and server.

Simple Example

This is Brutal.js:

function ButtonWidget({name}) {
  return R`
    <button click=${() => showModal(name)}>
      Show ${name} Modal

More examples

For more extensive examples, the tests listed above, or see a TodoMVC app written in Brutal.js. Also take a look at the component code in Brutestrap UI Kit, a UI Kit being built with Brutal.js (and incorporating C3S for scoping styles to components).

Basic documentation


There's two ways to add event handlers to your markup.

Either directly in the template string with eventName=${functionValue} syntax or by passing an object with handlers=${handlersObj} syntax.

The handlers object must map event names to function values.


const handlers = {
  click: e => console.log(e),
  mouseover: e => alert(e)
R`<input handlers=${handlers}>`

is equivalent to:

R`<input click=${e => console.log(e)} mouseover=${e => alert(e)}>`;

Multiple listeners per event

In order to add multiple listeners, use an array of functions:

R`<button click=${[
    e => console.log(e), 
    f => { if ('[value="clear"]') )'form').reset() }
  ]}>Clear Form</button>`;


Syntax noise


function view(state) {
  return $`
    <article class="media ${state.profile?"profile":""}">
            $`<p class=byline>${state.byline}</p>` :
            $`<p class=tags>${state.tags}</p>`
 => $`<p>${p}</p>`)


function view(state) {
  return (
    <article classNames="media {state.profile?"profile":""}">
      <ArticleHeader props={state}></ArticleHeader>
          <p classNames="byline">{state.byline}</p> :
          <p classNames="tags">{state.tags}</p>
      { => <p>{p}</p>)

You can decide which syntax noise you prefer. For my part, I prefer the Brutal.JS one, and especially prefer how no transpiler / toolchain is required to use it.

I also particularly like how the $ alias designates the "boundary" between markup and code. It indicates when we "go in" to markup, via $` and indicates when we "go out" of markup, via ${.

Other information

Where does Brutal come from?

Brutal is a project to build a minimal framework for JS apps in non-transpiled pure ECMAScript.

It does minimal DOM updates without the use of a virtual DOM. It uses template literals instead of JSX. The main file (r.js) is just 500 SLOC.

It came out of two projects I did to attempt to build a React-like API without using React's source code or JSX at all. I followed the React Tutorial and built the minimal amount of code to copy the demos given in the tutorial. The projects (with live demos as GitHub pages) are:

Other similar/related projects


npm i brutalist-web

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