Last week, I needed to create a series of multi-select checkboxes for a project that I’m working on. The client side framework is EmberJS. There were a few open-source options out there. Unfortunately, they use the existing Ember-CLI. Our project, being a bit older and out of date, cannot use Ember CLI.

But, rolling your own isn’t so difficult. Let’s start with what we’re trying to accomplish. We want to turn a list of checked items into an array of strings.

Multi-select checkboxes

// Our model has a property called "permissions". This property is an
// array of strings.
App.IndexRoute = Ember.Router.extend({
    model: function() {
        return {
            /* snip */
            permissions: []
            /* snip */

// Our controller has an array of available options. As usual, the `label`
// is displayed on screen. The `value` is the string that is stored on the
// model.
App.IndexController = Ember.Controller.extend({
    adminOptions: [
            label: "Can create users?",
            value: "create_users"
            label: "Can disable users?",
            value: "disable_users"
            label: "Can edit users?",
            value: "edit_users"
    // This is used to display the selected permissions in the UI. It is
    // not required as part of the solution.
    selectedAsString: Ember.computed("model.permissions.[]", function() {
        return JSON.stringify(this.get("model.permissions"));

Our component is written in two parts. The first part is the checkbox element itself. The second is the actual component.

// Each available option becomes an instance of a "MultiSelectCheckbox" object.
var MultiSelectCheckbox = Ember.Object.extend({
    label: "label",
    value: "value",
    isChecked: false,
    changeValue: function() {},
    onIsCheckedChanged:"isChecked", function() {
        var fn = this.get("isChecked") === true ? "pushObject" : "removeObject";
        this.get("changeValue").call(this, fn, this.get("value"));

App.MultiSelectCheckboxesComponent = Ember.Component.extend({
    labelProperty: "label",
    valueProperty: "value",
    // The list of available options.
    options: [],
    // The collection of selected options. This should be a property on
    // a model. It should be a simple array of strings.
    selected: [],
    checkboxes: Ember.computed("options", function() {
        var _this = this;
        var labelProperty = this.get("labelProperty");
        var valueProperty = this.get("valueProperty");
        var selected = this.get("selected");
        return this.get("options").map(function(opt) {
            var label = opt[labelProperty];
            var value = opt[valueProperty];
            var isChecked = selected.contains(value);
            return MultiSelectCheckbox.create({
                label: label,
                value: value,
                isChecked: isChecked,
                changeValue: function(fn, value) {

Here is our (very simple) component template.

{{#each checkboxes as |checkbox|}}
        {{input type='checkbox' checked=checkbox.isChecked}} {{checkbox.label}}

Finally, to make use of our component, write the following in your template.

{{multi-select-checkboxes options=adminOptions selected=model.permissions}}

That’s really all it takes. A fully working example of this code is available at JSBin.