Filter and Sort Tables in Ember


Requirements for tables that can be filtered and sorted are common occurrences in many types of web applications. When I would have such a need in the past I would usually pull in a jQuery plugin and hope that I could mold it to meet my needs with a minimal amount of rework. Thankfully, with the wave of JavaScript frameworks, requirements such as these are trivially easy to fulfill.

The Example

For our example, we will create a table of notable individuals in the computer science arena. Our table will allow users to filter and sort the contents of any field in the table.

The Route

To begin, we create our index route. We have a model that consists of an Ember array that lists the people to be displayed in our table.

App.IndexRoute = Ember.Route.extend({
  model: function() {
    return Ember.A([
      {id: 1, firstName: "Bram", lastName: "Moolenaar", knownFor: "Vim"},
      {id: 2, firstName: "Richard", lastName: "Stallman", knownFor: "GNU"},
      {id: 3, firstName: "Dennis", lastName: "Ritchie", knownFor: "C"},
      {id: 4, firstName: "Rich", lastName: "Hickey", knownFor: "Clojure"},
      {id: 5, firstName: "Guido", lastName: "Van Rossum", knownFor: "Python"},
      {id: 6, firstName: "Linus", lastName: "Torvalds", knownFor: "Linux"},
      {id: 7, firstName: "Yehuda", lastName: "Katz", knownFor: "Ember"}

The Controller

The Ember controller takes care of the sorting for us, assuming that we provide the desired attribute to sort in sortProperties. All that is left for us to implement is a way to change what property is sorted and a filter for the objects in our table.

We want to show all of the people when the user has no input in the filter field so we only apply our filter if the theFilter field has a value in it. Note that we apply the filter to arrangedContent, we do this so the sort will be reflected in our results when we change the value of sortProperties. Finally, we will have the filterPeople property watch theFilter and sortProperties for changes.

App.IndexController = Ember.ArrayController.extend({
  sortProperties: ['id'],
  theFilter: "",

  checkFilterMatch: function(theObject, str) {
    var field, match;
    match = false;
    for (field in theObject) {
      if (theObject[field].toString().slice(0, str.length) === str) {
        match = true;
    return match;

  filterPeople: (function() {
    return this.get("arrangedContent").filter((function(_this) {
      return function(theObject, index, enumerable) {
        if (_this.get("theFilter")) {
          return _this.checkFilterMatch(theObject, _this.get("theFilter"));
        } else {
          return true;
  }).property("theFilter", "sortProperties"),

  actions: {
    sortBy: function(property) {
        this.set("sortProperties", [property]);

The Template

Our temple is quite basic. The points to note are: we assign the sortBy action to each of the column heads in the table to allow the user to be able to sort by the desired field and we then loop over each element in the filterPeople property.

<script type="text/x-handlebars" data-template-name="application">

<script type="text/x-handlebars" data-template-name="index">
 {{input value=theFilter type='text' placeholder='Filter'}}

  <table class="table table-striped">
        <th {{action "sortBy" "id"}}>ID</th>
        <th {{action "sortBy" "firstName"}}>First Name</th>
        <th {{action "sortBy" "lastName"}}>Last Name</th>
        <th {{action "sortBy" "knownFor"}}>Known For</th>
      {{#each person in filterPeople}}


Here is a live demo of the example provided. I have added some CSS to indicate which column is being sorted as well as the ability to sort both ascending and descending.

Ember Starter Kit

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