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This search_preview controller has been an awesome example for us to learn how to make great-looking, functional things in Stimulus. But I have a confession: we didn't really need to do all this work! Why? Because someone already created an open source autocomplete Stimulus controller!

Hello stimulus-autocomplete!

Head to and search for "stimulus". You'll actually find a lot of Stimulus tools here that you can look through. What we're looking for is called stimulus-autocomplete. Here it is. Head to GitHub for find its documentation. Ooh! A GIF! Or.. GIF! This looks like exactly what we want!

Hello stimulus-components!

Before we implement this package, this is just one of many pre-made Stimulus controllers that exists out there. Let's take a quick tour-de-tools!

First up is Stimulus Components: a collection of a bunch of controllers... each with a fancy demo! Let's pick a random one - how about this Lightbox controller - and click into its demo. Yup! If you need to display photos in a Lightbox, there's a pre-made controller for that!

Hello TailwindCSS Stimulus Components!

If you use Tailwind CSS, check out the TailwindCSS Stimulus Components. It also has a demo with fun stuff inside, like a slide over, modals, tab functionality down here and more.

Hello stimulus-hotkeys!

Want to add keyboard shortcuts to your Stimulus controller? There's a tool for that: stimulus-hotkeys.

Hello stimulus-flatpickr

What about a date picker? Try the stimulus-flatpickr controller, which integrates the flatpickr JavaScript library.

And... that's not even everything! You can check out the Awesome Stimulus GitHub resource for more libraries, reading, podcasts, etc about Stimulus.


One last interesting resource is, which holds a bunch of interesting patterns and best practices around Stimulus.

Installing stimulus-autocomplete

Anyways, let's get back to integrating this autocomplete controller. First, we need to install it! Copy the "yarn add" command, find your terminal and run:

yarn add "stimulus-autocomplete@2" --dev

Registering 3rd Party Controllers

So... once this finishes... how are we going to actually use this new controller? When we add a file to the assets/controllers/ directory, Stimulus automatically registers that as a controller, which means we can add a matching data-controller element to the page and it will work. When we install a Symfony UX package, the controllers.json does the same thing for those controllers.

"controllers": {
"@symfony/ux-chartjs": {
"chart": {
"enabled": true,
"fetch": "lazy"
"entrypoints": []

But what about the controller that we just installed? How do we register that with our Stimulus app? Back at the docs, under "Usage", you can see that they import the Autocomplete package... then call some application.register() thing to register this one controller.

But... which file should we add this code to? The answer is assets/bootstrap.js. Notice that this looks pretty similar to the code example, though not exactly the same. The application variable in the docs is the same as the app variable that we have in our file.

import { startStimulusApp } from '@symfony/stimulus-bridge';
// Registers Stimulus controllers from controllers.json and in the controllers/ directory
export const app = startStimulusApp(require.context(

On the docs, copy the import line and... pop that onto the top of our file. Then, to register the controller, down here say: app.register('autocomplete') - that name could be anything... and will determine the data-controller that will be used to connect to this controller in HTML - then Autocomplete.

13 lines | assets/bootstrap.js
// ... line 1
import { Autocomplete } from 'stimulus-autocomplete';
// ... lines 3 - 9
app.register('autocomplete', Autocomplete);
// ... lines 11 - 13

Congratulations! With 1 command and 2 lines of code, we now have a new controller called autocomplete available in our app!

Next: let's use this controller instead of our search-preview controller. It's going to be, well, refreshingly easy to drop in. Also: can we make this third-party controller load lazily... like we've done with some other controllers? Totally!