Problem: How can I fetch an index of shallow models and flesh them out when needed?

Example: you have an index of stories to display but you don’t want to fetch all the stories’ content on the index route.

If your backend api is following the json:api spec. You can use Sparse Fieldsets.

Given the following routes:

// app/router.js {
  this.route('stories', function() {
    this.route('story', { path: ':story_id' });

This should only fetch the attributes you need to display your index of stories.

// app/routes/stories/index.js
model() {
  return'story', { fields: { story: 'title' } });

Then on the individual story route (e.g /stories/1), you can use setupController to flesh out your model with extra data.

// app/routes/stories/story.js
setupController(controller, model) {
  /** this._super(controller, model); **/
  if(!model.get('content')) { // if the model is not fully fleshed-out
    let fullModel = this.findRecord('story',;
    controller.set('model', fullModel);

The model hooks blocks the UI, however the subsequent fetch in setupController will not. This means that if you launch the app at /stories and that navigate to /stories/1 you might see that the stories’ content is missing for a few seconds.

This is actually wanted. We render a part of the UI and then wait for the rest of the UI to load. This is a good place to put a content placeholder while the stories content is being fetched. This is would be a good use case for ember-concurrency.