Zurb Launches New @Mention Engine, Tribute.Js

Paddi MacDonnell By Paddi MacDonnell  |  May. 04, 2016

Zurb, makers of Foundation, have a reputation for building robust tools that web developers love. They craft effective solutions because they start out to solve problems they encounter themselves.

Now they’re back with a brand new, open-source, ES6 JavaScript @mention engine called Tribute.js.

@mention is a user interface technique for addressing someone directly. When you @mention someone, they are tagged into a conversation. The @mention was first popularized by social media sites like Twitter, but you’ll find it making its way into all manner of applications thanks to adoption by startups like Slack.

Back in 2014 Zurb began merging several of their design apps into a single new platform called Notable. They needed an @mention system, but failing to find a reliable 3rd party option, they decided to build their own. The result is Tribute.js.

Tribute.js is a native JavaScript solution, meaning that it avoids relying on 3rd party plugins or scripts. By avoiding libraries like jQuery, Angular, and so forth, Zurb decreased the chances of conflicts arising between Tribute.js and scripts that run in conjunction with it; which makes Tribute.js a highly usable tool that can be implemented consistently across a multitude of different applications, regardless of the other dependencies you might choose to use.


How tribute.js works

Tribute.js is really simple to implement. First, import Tribute.js’ CSS and JS:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="tribute.css" />
<script src="tribute.js"></script>

Next, you need an element in your markup that will display a @mention:

<input id="commentField" placeholder="Type your comment">

Lastly, initialize Tribute with an array of objects that represent your users and then attach Tribute to the page element:

var tribute = new Tribute({
        {key:"John Doe", value="johndoe"},
        {key:"Jane Doe", value="janedoe"}


When a user types an @ symbol, they’ll be presented with a list of usernames based on the key property, when they select one, the corresponding value property will be inserted.

You can download Tribute for free from Github, or install via npm, and you’ll find a full list of options in the documentation.


Featured image, Conversations via Steve McClanahan.