When working with the legacy Ember object model, EmberObject, there are a number of caveats and limitations you need to be aware of. For today, these caveats and limitations apply to any classes which extend directly from EmberObject, or which extend classes which themselves extend EmberObject:

  • Component – meaning classic Ember components, which imported from @ember/component, not Glimmer components which are imported from @glimmer/component and do not extend the EmberObject base class.

  • Controller

  • Helper – note that this applies only to the class form. Function-based helpers do not involve the EmberObject base class.

  • Route

  • Router

  • Service

  • Ember Data’s Model class

Additionally, Ember’s mixin system is deeply linked to the semantics and implementation details of EmberObject, and it has the most caveats and limitations.

In the future, some of these may be able to drop their EmberObject base class dependency, but that will not happen till at least the next major version of Ember, and these guides will be updated when that happens.

Mixins and classic class syntax

The Ember mixin system is the legacy Ember construct TypeScript supports least well, as described in Mixins. While this may not be intuitively obvious, the classic class syntax simply is the mixin system. Every classic class creation is a case of mixing together multiple objects to create a new base class with a shared prototype. The result is that any time you see the classic .extend({ ... }) syntax, regardless of whether there is a named mixin involved, you are dealing with Ember's legacy mixin system. This in turn means that you are dealing with the parts of Ember which TypeScript is least able to handle well.

While we describe here how to use types with classic (mixin-based) classes insofar as they do work, there are many failure modes. As a result, we strongly recommend moving away from both classic classes and mixins, and as quickly as possible. This is the direction the Ember ecosystem as a whole is moving, but it is especially important for TypeScript users.

The Ember Atlas includes guides for migrating from classic classes to native classes, along with a variety of patterns for dealing with specific kinds of mixins in your codebase.

Failure modes

You often need to define this in actions hashes, computed properties, etc. That in turn often leads to problems with self-referential this: TypeScript simply cannot figure out how to stop recursing through the definitions of the type.

Additionally, even when you get past the endlessly-recursive type definition problems, when enough mixins are resolved TypeScript will occasionally just give up because it cannot resolve the property or method you're interested in across the many shared base classes.

Finally, when you have "zebra-striping" of your classes between classic classes and native classes, your types will often stop resolving.

Native classes


In general, we recommend (following the Ember Octane guides) that any class which extends directly from the EmberObject base class eliminate any use of EmberObject-specific API and convert to standalone class, with no base class at all. You can follow the ember-classic-decorator workflow to eliminate the base class—switching from init to constructor, getting rid of uses of methods like this.set and this.get in favor of using standalone set and get, and so on.

EmberObject-descended classes

The framework base classes which depend on EmberObject cannot follow the exact same path. However, as long as you are using native class syntax, all of these (Component, Controller, Helper, etc.) work nicely and safely with TypeScript. In each of these cases, the same caveats apply as with EmberObject itself, and you should follow the ember-classic-decorator workflow with them as well if you are converting an existing app or addon. However, because these base classes themselves descend from EmberObject, you will not be able to remove the base classes as you can with your own classes which descend directly from EmberObject. Instead, you will continue to extend from the Ember base classes:

import Component from '@ember/component';
export default class Profile extends Component {}
import Controller from '@ember/controller';
export default class IndexController extends Controller {}
import Helper from '@ember/component/helper';
export default class Localize extends Helper {}
import Route from '@ember/routing/route';
export default class ApplicationRoute extends Route {}
import EmberRouter from '@ember/routing/router'
export default class AppRouter extends EmberRouter {}
import Service from '@ember/service';
export default class Session extends Service {}
import Model from '@ember-data/model';
export default class User extends Model {}

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