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Project Layouts

Ember CLI offers two different options for the layout of project files - classic and pods.

Classic layout

The classic project structure is the default when creating a new Ember app or addon. The classic project structure organizes the filesystem by entity types.

For example, if you have a post resource and a tags component in your project, the classic structure would have this filesystem:

├── components
|   └── tags.js
├── controllers
|   └── post.js
├── models
|   └── post.js
├── routes
|   └── post.js
└── templates
    └── post.hbs

The classic project provides the easiest way to get started with Ember. It's the easiest way to generate files using Ember CLI. Addons should only use the classic structure for compatibility with either classic or pods-based consuming applications.

Pods layout

Pods-based projects organize files by features, combining all entity files into a common directory. The aforementioned example as a pods-based project would have this filesystem:

├── components
|   └── tags
|       ├── component.js
|       └── template.js
└── post      
    ├── controller.js
    ├── model.js
    ├── route.js
    └── template.hbs

To create a pods structure in an app you add the --pod option to the ember generate command. For example, to generate the tags component, you would run ember generate component tags --pod.

As your app becomes larger, a feature-driven structure may be better. Splitting your app by functionality/resource would give you more power and control to scale and maintain it.

Developers who choose the pods structure will need to do more of their file management by hand, and there can be unexpected edge cases, so new Ember users are encouraged to use the classic file structure instead.

As mentioned above, addons should not use the pods structure

Classic or pods?

Ember projects do not have to be either classic or pods-based. They can also be mixed projects. By default, if the Ember Resolver can not find a file in the pod structure, it will look for it in the classic structure.

If you start with a classic project, you can switch to the pods-based filesystem as your project grows without changing the existing classic filesystem. You can migrate the classic structure in the future, as time allows.

As stated previously, with pods developers need to do more to manage their file structure. The Ember Resolver can manage a classic, pods-based or mixed app but there can be edge cases with a mixed app.

For example, if you happen to have the same route in both the classic and pods-based structures, which one will the Ember Resolver use?

In this case, the resolver would use the pods route and ignore the classic route.

Pods as default

If you would like to use the pods structure as the default without using the --pod option, you can set usePods in .ember-cli:

// .ember-cli
    "usePods": true


Rather than keep your resource directories on the root of your app, you can create a pods directory and specify its path as the attribute podModulePrefix within config/environment.js The pods path should use the following format: {appname}/{poddir}.

// config/environment.js
module.exports = function(environment) {
  let ENV = {
    modulePrefix: 'my-new-app',
    // namespaced directory where resolver will look for your resource files
    podModulePrefix: 'my-new-app/pods',
    environment: environment,
    rootURL: '/',
    locationType: 'auto'

  return ENV;

Then your directory structure would be:

└── pods
    ├── components
    |   └── tags
    |   ├── component.js
    |   └── template.js
    └── post      
        ├── controller.js
        ├── model.js
        ├── route.js
        └── template.hbs

Common questions

I heard Ember is getting a new project or file structure? Yes, there are proposed Ember changes that include a new project/file structure. The new file system is most similar to pods, with its advantages but with better developer ergonomics like the classic filesystem.

The changes are more than a new filesystem and include improvements to module names, namespacing and the Ember Resolver.

If changes are made to the file structure in the future, they will be accompanied with codemods and other tools to make the migrating your apps easier. The codemod would migrate classic, pods-based and mixed apps.

Developers who want to test drive the experimental layout should read RFC 0143 and #16373.

In general, experimental features should be used with caution, as they are subject to breaking changes, significant iteration, and in some cases, they may be removed altogether.

To follow along with the progress of new features in Ember, check out the Ember Blog.