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The Backbone Style Guide

Table of contents


Use camelCase for variables and functions

// Bad
var my_var = [2, 1]

// Good
var myVar = [2, 1]
// Bad
function my_function(args){

// Good
function myFunction(args){

Use CapitalizedWords for classes and namespaces

// Bad
app.views.search_property = Backbone.View.extend({})

// Good
App.Views.SearchProperty = Backbone.View.extend({})

Do not use {model|view|collection} when naming models, views or collections

// Bad
App.Views.SearchPropertyView = Backbone.View.extend({})

// Good
App.Views.SearchProperty = Backbone.View.extend({})

Use singular for model classes and plural for collection classes

App.Models.Property = Backbone.Model.extend({})
App.Collections.Properties = Backbone.Collection.extend({})

Use singular or plural for views depending if you passing a model or collection

App.Views.SearchProperty = Backbone.View.extend({})

new App.Views.SearchProperty({
  model: new App.Models.Property(...)

App.Views.SearchProperties = Backbone.View.extend({})

new App.Views.SearchProperties({
  collection: [new App.Models.Property(...)]


Always use a root element to not pollute the window namespace

// Bad
SearchProperty = ...

// Still not perfect though
App.SearchProperty = ...

Always use namespaces under the root element to reference backbone components as Models, Views or Collections.

// Bad
App.SearchProperty = Backbone.View.extend({})

// Good
App.Views.SearchProperty = Backbone.View.extend({})

Have exactly 1 file that contains all namespace initialization and bind the root namespace to window

window.App = {}

App.Models = {}
App.Collections = {}
App.Views = {}

File Organization

Assuming root is where you have your javascript assets, the file organization should follow these rules:

  ├── collections
    ├── collections1.js
    └── collections2.js
  ├── helpers
    ├── helper1.min.js
    ├── helper2.min.js
    └── helper3.min.js
  ├── lib
    ├── lib1.min.js
    ├── lib2.min.js
    └── lib3.min.js  
  ├── models
    ├── model1.js
    └── model2.js
  ├── vendor
    ├── vendor1.min.js
    ├── vendor2.min.js
    └── vendor3.min.js
  ├── views
    ├── context1
      ├── view1.js
      └── view2.js
    ├── context2
      ├── view1.js
      └── view2.js
  ├── app.js # initialize namespaces here

Purpose of folders:

  • helpers - Helper classes or helper methods that have dependencies on the application specifics. Example: date functions that convert Date to String objects with a specific format, compute a full name based on a backbone model first name and last name, handling a push state of a specific page, etc..

  • lib - All library code created by our team that supports the app itself but could be applied on other contexts - extended jquery plugins, specific galleries, etc..

  • vendor - All 3rd party code (jquery, backbone, underscore, plugins, etc..). These files should not be modified and they should contain as a comment on top of file which version they at or the file name should reflect the version jquery- In case they need to be modified - always consider issuing a PR for the owner - they should be moved to lib folder.

  • views - Whenever possible introduce context folders to facilitate understanding of the logic and place of the several components. Name it like: search, search_bar, filters, gallery. This helps not only cracking the code but enforces components to be named after their context folder: SearchSort, SearchBarCalendar, SearchBarGuests, FiltersPanel, etc..

If using Rails:

  • the vendor folder should be in /vendor/assets/javascripts

  • the application code should be in /app/assets/javascripts

Requiring the files should follow this order