web community project for
high-quality web components

Elix is a community-driven collection of high-quality web components for common user interface patterns such as lists, menus, dialogs, carousels, and so on. The modular nature of web components let you easily incorporate them into your web apps, and their standard definition ensures good results across all mainstream browsers.

A generic tab button with a text label
Classic tabs for Settings and other configuration
Single-selection list box
Shows a single panel at a time
Basic tabs structure for navigation and configuration
A strip of tab buttons


Most applications make use of common, general-purpose user interface patterns such lists, menus, dialogs, carousels, and so on. Such patterns can be efficiently implemented and packaged as web components. Their modular nature lets you easily incorporate web components into your web application, and their standard definition ensures good results across browsers.

This arrangement permits a beneficial economy of scale, as common patterns only have to be implemented once. But that is not to say that it’s easy to develop general-purpose user interface patterns as solid components. To the contrary, implementing even simple patterns with a very high degree of quality can entail substantial complexity.

For that reason, the Elix project believes that implementing high-quality, general-purpose components is best done as a community effort. This spreads the cost of creating the components across organizations, and ensures that the resulting components satisfy a broad range of concerns and can be used in many contexts.

Core Principles

  • Usability excellence.  All components are designed with the experience of the end user in mind. Each component tries to provide the best implementation possible of a very common user interface pattern. The components try to provide a great user experience by default, freeing you from having to worry about small details, and letting you focus on your application’s core value. Elix includes universal access in its definition of usability excellence: our components should provide a great experience to all users regardless of temporary or permanent handicaps.
  • As good as HTML elements.  These components are measured against the Gold Standard checklist for web components, which uses the built-in HTML elements as the quality bar to which web components should aspire. These components should work predictably and reliably in a wide variety of contexts and with good performance.
  • Good building blocks.  The project's components are designed to be used as-is, without requiring customization or further coding. But no design can meet every situation. (There is no One Carousel to Rule Them All.) So these components are factored into parts that you can readily recombine to create solid components to meet your needs. Composition is generally preferred over class inheritance as a means of aggregating behavior; see the elix-mixins package for details.
  • Use the platform.  These components are generally written as "close to the metal" as is possible while still allowing code to be shared across components. These components are not built upon a monolithic framework, nor is any shared runtime required to use them. By virtue of being web components, these elements can be used with any front-end framework.
  • Maximize the audience of potential contributors.  Designing components that appeal to a broad audience requires accepting contributions from a broad audience. For that to happen, we can’t rely on complex, project-specific abstractions or techniques. We try to write the component code to be as plain as possible, with the least amount of declarative, framework-style magic. In practice, that means that clear, verbose code is often prefered over tight but inscrutable code. For example, we’re willing to tolerate a certain degree of boilerplate code if that makes it easier for you to understand the code or step through it when you’re debugging your own application. If you’re able to write a simple web component in plain JavaScript, a minimal learning curve should allow to you to understand — and contribute to — Elix code.
  • Well-documented.  We do our best to document not only the public API of each component and mixin, but also the underlying intention and design principles. We try to document why something is the way it is in order to make the best use of a potential contributor’s time.
  • Provide a minimalist, themeable appearance.  These components are meant to fit unobtrusively into your application, and so come with a bare minimum of styling. They can be styled with CSS to achieve more distinctive visual effects or branding to blend seamlessly with your application’s own style.
  • Work on all mainstream browsers.  This includes the latest versions of Apple Safari and Mobile Safari, Google Chrome and Chrome for Android, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11, and Mozilla Firefox. The older browsers, notably IE 11, require the use of the web component v1 polyfills.
  • Open process.  The process behind Elix is as important to us as the code artifacts. We strive to incorporate feedback from a general web audience, while at the same time imposing just enough structure to keep the project moving forward at a consistent pace in a consistent direction. To that end, all significant changes to the project are proposed and tracked through Request for Comments (RFC) documents tracked in the Elix RFC repository.

© 2016-2017 Component Kitchen Inc. and contributors to the Elix project. ELIX and the Elix project logo are registered or unregistered trademarks of Component Kitchen Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Any use of such trademarks without written permission sought and obtained from Component Kitchen is prohibited.

The Elix project is administered, as a courtesy, by Component Kitchen for the benefit of the project’s contributors and the developer community as a whole.