Require.js LogoLearn How to Build a Social Media Plugin, Using Require.js and the Asynchronous Module Definition (AMD) Pattern

In Getting Started with Require.js – Part II, we took a closer look at the way the Require.js JavaScript library works. We created modules that depended on other modules, and learned how the return value of a module can be used to expose functionality to the outside world.

In Part III of this series, we will use Require.JS to build a social media plugin. We’ll leverage the concepts and techniques used in Part II to create reusable front-end code that has real-world usefulness. You’ll be able to take the code from the completed working example, copy it, tweak it, and use it for your own web page.

Since we have discussed a great deal of Require.js implementation details, I’ll keep the discussion on a high level here. You can drill down into the code for a completed working example and review all of the nitty-gritty details if you like. The focus of this article is to provide an example that demonstrates how Require.js can be put to use in a real-world context.

Before we dive into the code, it might help to see the full working example for this article:

NOTE: For most of the examples, I will provide a link to the actual module file. I don’t think there is much point in repeating that same code here in the article. You can simply view it in your browser.

Example # 1

In Example # 1, we have the markup for our web page. You’ll notice that I have removed the CSS in the head and most of the content in the body. This is only to keep the code example short. Otherwise, it is identical to the working example.

In this example, after including require.js, we use the require() function. The first argument is social-menu.js. This is the only dependency for the JavaScript code in the page. In the anonymous function that is the second argument to the require() function, we reference social-menu.js as “menu”. We then call the init() method of the variable “menu”, which is an object. We know this because as we will see shortly, the return value of the module social-menu.js is an object with a method named init(). We pass an array to meunu.init(). This array contains strings that identify the social media icons we want to include in our plugin. Next, we will take a closer look at the module: social-menu.js.


This module has one dependency: social-markup.js. Inside of our module, social-markup.js is referred to as “socialMarkup”. Inside of the init() method, we instantiate the socialMarkup() constructor. We then use the getLinks() method of the socialMarkup() object. When past the appropriate array, the getLinks() method will return a DOM object that only needs be appended to the DOM, which we do on the very next line.

The beauty of this Asynchronous Module Definition (AMD) pattern is that as we step through the code, the implementation details of each dependency is abstracted away by the module that we depend on. We simply “need” that module, Require.js loads it asynchronously for us, and then we use it. This makes it easier to follow and understand code that you did not write. As you follow the dependency chain, digging deeper into the code, you can see more implementation details (if you choose to do so).


If you look towards the bottom of this module, you’ll see that it returns a function. That function is meant to be used as a constructor. The line “this.getLinks = function(arr){…” indicates that when instantiated, the resulting object will have a method named “getLinks()”. The private variables “makeAnchor”, “addTitle”, “addClickHandler” and “makeImage” are all helper functions that handle the implementation work needed to create the DOM object that this module returns. Lastly, notice that this module’s sole dependency is “social-icons.js”, which contains the data we need to construct the actual social media icons and event handlers.


This module has no dependencies. It returns an object whose properties are all objects containing data for each social media type. Each of those individually named objects has the following properties:

  • Image: A data URI that provides an image, so that we don’t need to reference external resources.
  • Title: What users see when they hover over the icon.
  • Handler: A function that will be the click-event handler for that social media icon.

Now that we have taken a high-level view of the code, re-visit the full working example for this article:

In the full working example, you’ll notice that each social media icon allows you to share the page (e.g., “tweet” “pin”, “facebook post”, etc…). These actions are determined by the click event handler that we specified for each icon in the module: social-icons.js. The images for icons themselves are provided by the data URL for each social media type (once again in “social-icons.js”), as well as the title that you see when you hover the mouse over that icon.


In this article, we put to use, in a real-world context, the concepts and techniques that we learned in Part I and Part II. We created a social media plugin that actually works. I hope you have enjoyed this series. Require.js is a powerful and helpful JavaScript library that helps you to create loosely-coupled, modular, reusable code.

Helpful Links for Require.js and Asynchronous Module Definition (AMD)


Asynchronous Module Definition (AMD)