One time bindings for AngularJS


One time bindings for AngularJS.


AngularJS is a great framework with many superb features, but when it is used to display large amounts of data, it can become quite slow due to it's binding mechanism.

When you bind data via {{ }} or ng-bind directives, angular sets up watch under the cover which is being executed every time an angular event loop triggers (for example after $http request, or keypress). It's fine when the number of bindings (pieces of dynamic information you want to display) is relatively small up to a few hundred, but when that number increases, page can become unresponsive; expecially on low-end devices (it was Surface RT in my case, and reason to create that project, it was painfully slow even for 200 bindings).

There isn't much you can do about it, except displaying less data (via paging for example), but it's not always the case. Should we wait till browsers implement Object.observe and AngularJS will use it so we get 40x speed-up? We could, but when your data is readonly (and in many cases it is) you can use this project which sets up one time bindings and doesn't create any watchers which is incredibly fast!

bottom line: If you use AngularJS, have performance issues and need to display lots of readonly data, this project is for you!


$ bower install angular-once

or copy once.js file.


  • reference once.js file
  • add once module as adependency to your app (angular.module('yourApp', ['once']))

Lets look at this standard AngularJS code snippet:

	<li ng-repeat="user in users">
	  <a ng-href="{{ user.profileUrl }}">{{ }}</a>
		<a ng-href="{{ user.profileUrl }}"><img ng-src="{{ user.avatarUrl }}"></a>
		<div ng-class="{'formatted': user.description}" ng-bind="user.description"></div>

Now given 100 users (600 watchers), the list is not the only information on the page in most cases. If user's data needs to be only displayed, and not edited inline, we don't need to set up watchers in a ng-repeat directive, especially as the user goes back and forth within the app many times as the list is being refreshed on each display as controller in angular are transient.

Let's look at the same example using angular-once:

	<li ng-repeat="user in users">
	  <a once-href="user.profileUrl" once-text=""></a>
		<a once-href="user.profileUrl"><img once-src="user.avatarUrl"></a>
		<div once-class="{'formatted': user.description}" once-text="user.description"></div>

Number of watchers? 0 (actually 1 as angular uses a separate watch for the ng-repeat directive itself).

IMPORTANT: Built in angular ng-href and ng-src directives support interpolation ({{ }} notation), angular-once doesn't due to performance reasons (avoid setting up watchers).


List below contains comparison of angular-once directives ( one time bindings ) with built in angular directives ( two-way bindings ).

angular-once native angular equivalent example usage
once-text="value" ng-bind or {{ }} <ANY once-text=""></ANY>
once-html="value" ng-bind-html <ANY once-html="user.description"></ANY>
once-src="value" ng-src <img once-src="user.avatarUrl" />
once-href="value" ng-href <a once-href="user.websiteUrl" ></a>
once-title="value" ng-attr-title <ANY once-title=""></ANY>
once-alt="value" ng-attr-alt <img once-alt="" />
once-id="value" ng-attr-id <ANY once-id="" /></ANY>
once-if="condition" ng-if <ANY once-if="user.isAdmin" /></ANY>
once-class="name:cond" ng-class <ANY once-class="{'p': user.admin}" /></ANY>
once-style="value" ng-style <ANY once-style="{color:blue}" /></ANY>
once-show="condition" ng-show <ANY once-show="user.isAdmin" /></ANY>
once-hide="condition" ng-hide <ANY once-hide="user.isAdmin" /></ANY>
once once-attr-*="value" ng-attr-* <ANY once once-attr-tooltip="" /></ANY>


One important thing to note is that when using angular-once and bound data is undefined, it creates a watch which waits until the data is available (promise is resolved). Once the promise is resolved, the watch is removed. Reason for that is to be able to use it with data which is not yet available, but still readonly.

In case bound data contains static and dynamic part, for example once-src="''+ kitty.size" and kitty-size isn't immediately available, you can use the once-wait-for directive to wait untill kitten.size is fetched, so it will look like: once-src="''+ kitty.size" once-wait-for='kitty.size'


Thanks both to @Pasvaz for bindonce and @abourget for $watch fighters, as both modules were inspiration and starting point for creating this module.

Similar projects

  • bindonce - similar, but requires additional bindonce directives which wrap other bindonce directives.
  • watch fighters - similar, but doesn't handle case when there is no data yet to bind, simply binds nothing, so doesn't work with promises.