jQuery Mobile + Backbone.js Sample Application for the BlackBerry 10 WebWorks Platform
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README.md

jQuery Mobile/Backbone Demo

jQuery Mobile is one of the most popular frameworks to build mobile applications. With the Blackberry 10 device supporting apps written in nothing but HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, jQuery Mobile and Blackberry work together very well. Blackberry hosts a github project which is a jQuery Mobile theme designed specifically for the BB10 device. This coupled up with Backbone.js, one of the web's most popular frameworks makes for a well designed, maintainable web application.

Checkout the Boilerplate as a sarting point to create BB10 jQuery Mobile apps.

The boilerplate is broken down into the following structure...

src\collections\
src\models\
src\routers\
src\utils\
src\vendor\
src\views\
src\index.html

backbone.js

Backbone.js is an MV* framework with many great features for building applications. It has 4 main components, models, collections, views, and routers. The models and collections represent data, the views contain the UI logic, and the routers route urls to JS functions. The constructors for Backbone.View, Backbone.Model, Backbone.Collection, and Backbone.Router all have an extend method to extend onto your own objects. This basically takes the existing constructor's from Backbone, and creates a new custom constructor. For example, the basic Backbone model looks like...

var Contact = Backbone.Model.extend({
    initialize: function() {
        // Do something to initialize the model if needed.
    },
    url: "contact"
});
var jim = new Contact({
    name: "Jim Halpert",
    position: "sales"
});
jim.set( "married", true );

Every object that you extend will have some basic inhertited functions available on them. And the constructors created, can then themselves be extended also. If an initialize funciton is present, in the extend options, it will fire just after an object's construction, and a constructor would override the default constructor. Also, models have get and set functions to set model attributes.

And a collection of Contact models would look like...

var Contacts = Backbone.Collection.extend({
    model: Contact,
    url: "contacts"
});
var sales = new Contacts();
sales.add( jim );

Since underscore.js is a requirement of Backbone.js, collections are given many of the underscore utitlity functions. This allows you to do things like filtering, searching, mapping, and much more.

var office = new Contacts( [{
    name: "Jim Halpert",
    position: "sales"
}, {
    name: "Dwight Schrute",
    position: "sales"
}, {
    name: "Michael Scott",
    position: "manager"
}]);

var sales = someContacts.filter(function( contact ) {
    return contact.position === "sales" ;
});

Models and collections also have built in REST style functions. The functions are Collection.fetch, and Model.save, Model.destory, Model.fetch. A collection's fetch method will retrieve a list of data from the url and automatically add new Models to the collection. Similar with the Model.fetch, a GET request will be made to the url, and the data retrieved will be set on the model. The save method will either POST or PUT depending on whether or not the model has an id set. Lastly the destroy method will send a DELETE.

Be sure and checkout the docs about models for more info.

Views in Backbone are for manipulating the UI.

var Home = Backbone.View.extend({
    // A hash of events to delegate.
    events: {
        "click button": "onClickButton"
    },
    // Specify an element to attach this view. 
    el: "#someElement",
    // The constructor function.
    initialize: function() {
        // Do something with this.$el
    },
    onClickButton: function( event ) {
        // A button somewhere inside this.$el was clicked.
    }
});

var home = new Home({
    model: new Contact({
        name: "Pam Halpert",
        position: "reception"
    });
});

The above code defines a Home view and then creates an instance of it. The model passed into the constructor will be available on the instance via this.model. The same is true for 'model', 'collection', 'el', '$el', 'id', 'attributes', 'className', and 'tagName'. If no element is specified via el, then either a div or an element specified by a tagName option will be created. The events is a hash of eventType element: callback, and will delegate the the callback of eventType to an element located inside of this.$el.

A basic router looks like...

var Router = Backbone.Router.extend({
    routes: {
        // Default route
        "": "main",
        // view/1234
        "view/:id": "view"
    },
    main: function() {
        // Trigger some code for this route.
    },
    view: function( id ) {
        // Trigger some code, also has the id from the url param.
    }
});

Routers respond to changes in the Url. The routes is a collection of the route and callback function. The default route is specified with "". There are also Url parameters such as :id which will be available in the arguments passed to the route's callback function.

One more very useful feature of Backbone.js is Backbone.Events. Extending it on to another object gives that new object on, off, and trigger pub/sub functions. The Backbone.Model already has Backbone.Events built into it. You can extend Backbone.Events onto any object to give it these functions...

var Vent = _.extend( {}, Backbone.Events );
Vent.on( "someEvent", function( x, y ) {
    console.log( x + y );
});
Vent.trigger( "someEvent", 2, 4 ); // logs: 6
Vent.off( "someEvent" );

That covers most of Backbone.js's feature set. Refer to the docs for any further help.

jQuery Mobile

jQuery Mobile is a framework for building mobile HTML5 applications. It operates around the idea of simple HTML5 data attributes to configure the application. It's built on top of jQuery and jQuery UI. A simple jQuery Mobile page would look like...

<div data-role="page">
    <div data-role="header">
        Header
    </div>
    <div data-role="content">
        <a href="#page">Link</a>
    </div>
    <div data-role="footer">
        Footer
    </div>
</div>

And, a form in jQuery Mobile would look like...

<div data-role="page">
    <div data-role="header">
        Header
    </div>
    <div data-role="content">
        <div data-role="fieldcontain">
             <label for="name">Text Input:</label>
             <input type="text" name="name" id="name" value=""  />
        </div>

        <div data-role="fieldcontain">
            <label for="textarea">Textarea:</label>
            <textarea cols="40" rows="8" name="textarea" id="textarea"></textarea>
        </div>

        <fieldset class="ui-grid-a">
                <div class="ui-block-a"><button type="submit" data-theme="d">Cancel</button></div>
                <div class="ui-block-b"><button type="submit" data-theme="a">Submit</button></div>
        </fieldset>
    </div>
    <div data-role="footer">
        Footer
    </div>
</div>

There are many different components in jQuery Mobile such as toolbars, dialogs, popups, listviews, all kinds of form elements, basic content formatting, buttons and more, so be sure and check out their docs.

jQuery Mobile Blackberry 10 Theme

The jQuery Mobile theme for Blackberry 10 devices gives some additional jQuery Mobile components and stying. To check out all of the available components and check out the theme, do the following...

git clone https://github.com/blackberry/jQueryMobile-BB10-Theme

Then you can open up the kitchenSink directory and see all of the awesomesauce.

Ripple emulator

The Ripple Emulator is a way to see how your app will run on an actual device. It runs as a chrome extension so go grab it and you can run any url inside the emulator. It's all in browser too! It can test more than just Blackerry devices too, so be sure and download it.

anvil.js

Anvil.js is a convention over configuration build system. By convention it expects the source of the application to be located in the src directory. Anvil.js is not required to build a BB10 app, but it does assist in hosting, concating, minifying, linting, deploying, etc.

To get anvil.js up and running, please ensure the latest version of node.js is running and then run...

npm install -g anvil.js

Then to build the applation run the following...

anvil // Basic build
anvil --ci --host // Watches files, and hosts the application at localhost:3080

Running anvil will take the code from the source directory, process the code and run any plugins or tasks, and output it into a lib directory. There are many plugins for anvil that can be installed via...

anvil install anvil.pluginName

So for instance to make anvil run jslint on your code, simply run anvil install anvil.jslint. Then the next time you run anvil you will see the results of jslint on your code.

The anvil build process can be configured by adding a build.json file to the root where anvil is running. For example to customize where anvil is hosting your site...

{
    "anvil.http": {
        "port": 3000,
        "host": "./examples"
    }
}

Architecture

It's a good practice in JS to have an App object which acts as a namespace to organize your app. A src/js/main.js file will hold the App code that will do the app setup.

(function( win ) {
var App = win.App || {};

$.extend( App, {
    Collections: {},
    Models: {},
    Routers: {},
    Vent: $.extend( {}, Backbone.Events ),
    Views: {}
});

App.init = function() {
    // Do some initializing!  
};

}( window ));

This pattern avoids exposing globals and thereby eliminates naming collisions, and adds to the maintainability of the app. The App.Vent extends Backbone.Events. The Vent then becomes a mediator for all of the app's events. This allows for code such as...

App.Vent.on( "contact.add", function( env ) {
    // Somewhere a contact was added, now do something with it.
    console.log( env.data.contact );
});

App.Vent.trigger( "contact.add", {
    data: { 
        contact: {
            firstName: "Mike",
            lastName: "Jones",
            company: "Blackberry"
        }
    }
});

App.Vent.off( "contact.add" ); // Disables the event.

The trigger function by convention is using an envelope pattern. Any data passed from the trigger will be in the data. This is again merely a convention and not required, but it helps maintainability by creating a standard pattern of event triggering. It's good when using pattern's like this to only publish information that can be serialized w/ JSON.stringify so publishing a function is usually not a great idea.

The main principle of jQuery Mobile is having divs on the page with HTML5 data attributes on them. But, the beauty of backbone is in it's rendering views based off of model data after the page has been loaded. In order to accomplish this, a little plumbing has to be taken care of first.

Thanks to Christophe Coenraets, he has a repository called backbone-jqueryMobile where some of the ideas of rendering jQuery Mobile with Backbone come from. jQuery Mobile pretty much harnesses the entire page, so adding things to the page after it loads can cause some difficulty. So in the boilerplate mentioned earlier there's some code that helps render backbone views correctly with jQuery Mobile.

To get started, a few settings in jQuery Mobile need to be adjusted...

$( document ).bind( "mobileinit", function () {
    $.mobile.ajaxEnabled = false;
    $.mobile.linkBindingEnabled = false;
    $.mobile.hashListeningEnabled = false;
    $.mobile.pushStateEnabled = false;

    // Blackberry jQM Configs
    $.mobile.buttonMarkup.hoverDelay = 0;

    // Use the simultaneous transitions handler for slide transitions
    $.mobile.transitionHandlers.cover = $.mobile.transitionHandlers.simultaneous;
   
    // Set the slide transitions's fallback to "fade"
    $.mobile.transitionFallbacks.cover = "fade";
    $.mobile.listview.prototype.options.icon = false;
    $.mobile.selectmenu.prototype.options.nativeMenu = false;

    // Remove page from DOM when it's being replaced
    $( document ).on( "pagehide", "div[data-role='page']", function ( event, ui ) {
        $( event.currentTarget ).remove();
    });
});

This disables some of the default ajax functionallity of jQuery Mobile so that Backbone can take over. It does all this by attaching to the mobileinit event which jQuery Mobile fires when it's ready. Then there's the pagehide event which ensures that when a page is loaded, the current page is removed from the DOM. The jQuery Mobile team recently added a page to their docs on writing jQuery Mobile with BackBone.js, you can read more here.

The above code disables much of jQuery Mobile's Ajax functionallity to allow Backbone's Router to work.

Next is the $.mobile.changePage function...

var changePage = function ( view ) {
    // Grab the default transition from jQuery Mobile.
    var transition = $.mobile.defaultPageTransition;

    // The views will be the `page`.
    view.$el.attr( "data-role", "page" );

    $( "body" ).append( view.$el );
    
    // We don't want to slide the first page
    if ( view instanceof App.Views.Home ) {
        transition = "none";
        this.firstPage = false;
    }

    // Call jQuery Mobile's manual change page function.
    $.mobile.changePage( view.$el, {
        changeHash: false,
        transition: transition
    });
};

The above code takes a view instance as a parameters, and applies the correct data-attribute to it's DOM element. It then appends the view's element to the body of the DOM, and then calls the $.mobile.changePage by passing in the view.$el. A good approach to take is to have at least one view per, "page" you need in your app, which is what the view.$el.attr( "data-role", "page" ); accomplishes. So you might have a Home, About, or Contact views which will be rendered into <div data-role="page" class="home"></div> via the $el. This function can be called like...

var view = new Home();
changePage( view );

One way of accomplishing the rendering is by using a Router to render different Backbone views depending on the current route. In order to keep the router de-coupled from the rendering, an App.Utils.Rendor object can be created. This object will have utility functions for rendering views. One approach to use in this rendering is triggering events. In the App.Rendor.init there is a listener...

// Initialize `Rendor`.
App.Utils.Rendor = (function() {
    var currentView;

    var init = function() {
        App.Vent.on( "render.view", render );
    };

    // Create a new instance of the view being rendered.
    var render = function( env ) {
        if ( !App.Views[ env.data.name ] ) {
            return;
        }

        changePage( currentView = new views[ env.data.name ]( env.data ) );
    };

    var changePage = function() { ... };

    return {
        init: init
    };
}());

And in the Router you would have...

routes: {
    // Default route
    "": "main",
    // view/1234
    "view/:id": "view"
},
main: function() {
    // Trigger some code for this route.
    App.Vent.trigger( "render.view", {
        data: {
            name: "Home"
        }
    });
},

This prevents the router from directly having a reference to the rendering and adds some maintainability. Basically, the trigger passes an envelope containing the name of the View to render. Then Rendor takes the view name and grabs the constructor out of App.Views[ env.data.name ], and creates a new instance of the view. Finally, the change page function is called passing in the instance of that view.

Views

In order to propertly render the views, a little bit of base code is neccessary. Since everything in Backbone can be extended as mentioned previously, a BaseView can be created. This view can setup some reusable functions that other views can use.

Having this base view allows abstracting out a few other jQuery Mobile rendering pieces...

buildPage: function( className, content, header, footer ) {
    // Header and footer can either be false, null, or pass a constructor name.
    if ( header === false ) {
        this.header = null;
    }
    else if ( typeof header === "undefined" ) {
        this.header = new App.Views.Header();
    }
    else {
        this.header = header;
    }

    if ( footer === false ) {
        this.footer = null;
    }
    else if ( typeof footer === "undefined" ) {
        this.footer = new App.Views.Footer();
    }
    else {
        this.footer = footer;
    }
    
    this.header && this.$el.append( this.header.$el );
    
    this.$el.empty().append( $( "<div />", {
        html: content || "",
        "class": className || "",
        "data-role": "content"
    }));
    
    this.footer && this.$el.append( this.footer.$el );
},
ready: function() {
    this.$el.closest( ".ui-page" ).trigger( "pagecreate" );
}

The above has 2 base functions for page rendering. The first is buildPage. It accepts a className, content, header, and footer. The code then allows for a couple of scenarios for a header and footer. If the header or footer is strictly equal to false, meaning that someone had to pass in a false. If no header or footer is passed in, a default will be instantiated, or lastsly, a header can be directly passed in. Then a div with a role of data-role="content" is appended to the view with optional content being passed in. The App.Views.Header and App.Views.Footer views would follow a similar pattern of rendering the <div data-role="header" />.A simple home view might look like...

App.Views.Home = App.Views.BaseView.extend({
    initialize: function( options ) {
        // Build the page and set the content div's class to `home`.
        this.buildPage( "home" );
        this.render();
    },
    render: function() {
        this.$( ".home" ).html( "Hello World" );
    }
});

The App.Views.Home = App.Views.BaseView.extend is how the functionallity of the BaseView is extended on to the Home view. So, the following code would be appended to the DOM when visiting localhost...

<div data-role="page">
    <div data-role="header"></div>
    <div data-role="content">
        Hello World
    </div>
    <div data-role="footer"></div>
</div>

Data Binding

There are a number of 2-Way binding frameworks out there, one such framework is Backbone.Stickit. Backbone.Stickit adds a stickit function to Backbone.View. Stickit allows you to bind a model to a view by a simple bindings option when creating a view constructor...

bindings: {
    "#firstName": {
        "modelAttr": "firstname"
    },
    "#lastName": {
        "modelAttr": "lastname"
    },
    "#title": {
        modelAttr: "type",
        selectOptions: {
            collection: "App.Titles", // Refers to an array of titles in App.Titles [{ name: "Mr," }, { name: "Mrs."}, ... ]
            labelPath: "name",
            valuePath: "name"
        }
    }
},
render: function() {
    this.stickit();
}

The key in the bindings attribute is a selector for the DOM element being bound to. The modelAttr is the attribute to bind the DOM element to.

So, in review, the request for / would trigger the main function in App.Routers.Home to fire. This would trigger the render.view event which App.Utils.Rendor is listenting for. Rendor then creates an instance of the view, grabs it's $el, calls $.mobile.changePage, and BAM, the page is rendered. Once all of the plumbing work is done, it's simple to create additional views. The idea is to get the plumbing setup and then let Backbone.js handle the rest for you.

Don't forget to checkout the Boilerplate, as most of the plumbing work has already been taken care of.