Add complete bootstrap to Phoenix

Redactado por: Felipe Juárez Murillo

It has been a while since I make a post and this is my first post in English so be gentle with me :P

Since a couple of months I been working in a language called elixir and with his web framework phoenix, I have had a lot of fun with these elements. But sometimes I been struggling with configurations that should be easy maybe I don’t read that carefully or maybe I’m a knucklehead, but whatever the reasone is, I hope this configuration works for you and give you a little help of how configure your Javascripts third parties for your Phoenix application.

When you create a new application with phoenix you will notice (when you start the server) that actually phoenix have bootstrap but that is not true at all, if you want to add a dropdown or something more sophisticated like a dialog or a carousel you will find that there is no javascript and the only thing that you have is the stylesheet so in order to add the complete bootstrap you need a couple steps before.

Well let’s get started with this thing:

In order to manage all the libraries that you need to work with it is recommended to install bower. Actually phoenix in his Static Assets page encourage you to do it.

So we are going to follow this path and add bootstrap with bower but first we are going to create the bower.json file for storing our dependencies:

bower init

Then we are going to create a file named .bowerrc with this file we are going to tell to bower where are going to need to put all the javascripts that we need it from now on. In this file we are going to put the next instruction:

  "directory": "web/static/vendor"

Now is the time to install bootstrap and for that we need to run the following instruction in your shell:

bower install -S bootstrap

Now that we have bootstrap if you check your vendor directory you will see that there is not only bootstrap, it is also jquery (because is a dependency for bootstrap), if have not heard of bower before I recommend you to look for other proyects it will save you a lot of time and space in your repository.

Well at this moment, if you run your phoenix.server you will find a couple of errors, so lets fix that:

  1. Let’s remove the bootstrap css that phoenix ships with. For this open your web/static/css/app.css and remove the first 6 lines of code of the file.
  2. Then open your brunch-config.js and in the conventions section add the following:

   conventions: {
     assets: /^(web\/static\/assets)/,
     ignored: [
3. After that you will need to load jquery and bootstrap in order, i.e. First jquery and then bootstrap. This is because brunch will merge all js in alphabetical order and we require that jquery loads first. For this we move to the joinTo in the files section and add the next lines:

   files: {
     javascripts: {
       joinTo: "js/app.js",
       order: {
         before: [
   ... more code ...

After this you can open the main layout of your application and put the next code:

<div class="dropdown">
  <button class="btn btn-default dropdown-toggle" type="button" id="dropdownMenu1" data-toggle="dropdown" aria-haspopup="true" aria-expanded="true">
    <span class="caret"></span>
  <ul class="dropdown-menu" aria-labelledby="dropdownMenu1">
    <li><a href="#">Action</a></li>
    <li><a href="#">Another action</a></li>
    <li><a href="#">Something else here</a></li>
    <li role="separator" class="divider"></li>
    <li><a href="#">Separated link</a></li>

And this is going to work as expected. Now you can make use of everything that boostrap have.

Oh! I forgot for copying the fonts and icons that bootstrap have you need to use a tool called assetsmanager-brunch this is for manage assets that are not minify or uglify like images or fonts. For this we need to do:

  1. Install assetsmanager-brunch with npm help. Run the following npm install --save assetsmanager-brunch
  2. Then in the plugins section add the following code:

   assetsmanager: {
       copyTo: {
         '/' : ['web/static/vendor/bootstrap/dist/fonts']

That’s all folks! At least for this post I hope you enjoy and Good Luck, Have Fun!

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