Backbone Extensions
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"All your base are belong to us" A framework-agnostic complimentary set of Backbone.View, Backbone.Model, Backbone.Collection and Fetch extensions providing flexible convenience idioms and utilities. BackboneBase attempts to not override Backbone methods unless absolutely necessary; constructor/intialize hooks and/or encouraged by the core Backbone source.

This library is a collection of concepts based on observations from a very large Backbone deployment; 1,200 Views, 260 Models, 120 Collections and 50 Routers having 150,000 LOC (non-optimized).


An extenstion of Backbone.View. Features for templating (compiling, caching, etc.), introspection, hieararchical views and consistent class name derivation.

constructor / initialize new View([options])

There are several special options that, if passed, will be attached directly to the view: mid and template. If the view defines an initialize function, it will be called when the view is first created.

All views have a DOM element view.el with additional meta-data set by the constructor; data-cid,data-mid and class.

data-cid is derived from view.cid, data-mid from view.mid and class from view.mid using the view.toClassName formatting function. The data-mid and class attributes are optionally created only if view.mid is defined as a value or function. The class attribute setting is additive; non-destructive.

var view = new BackboneBase.View({mid: 'views/MyView'});

Results in...

<div data-cid="view1" data-mid="views/MyView" class="views-myview"></div>
Catalog of Events

Here's the complete list of built-in BackboneBase.View events, with arguments.

  • "render:template" (view, interpolated, arguments) -- when renderTemplate has been called; capturing the interpolated rendered output. Useful when using async view.renderTemplateDefer and view.renderTemplateDebounce functions.
children view.children

A simple object for storing child Backbone.View references. Child views can be assigned to view.children in view.initialize or optionally passed in the view.constructor. By default an empty object for reference is available in the view.initialize function.

var View = BackboneBase.View.extend({
    initialize: function() {
        this.children.child = new Backbone.View();  


var View = BaseView.extend({children: {child: new Backbone.View()}});
toClassName view.toClassName(className)

Converts a given string into an html/css safe class selector, 'fOo_BaZ' -> foo-baz. Used primarily by the constructor and the derivation of a view.el class attribute based on a passed in or pre-defined view.mid. Override this function for customization based on the conventions of mid and/or presentation rules.

template view.template

All views have a template at all times (the template property). If not specified template is an empty string.

ctemplate view.ctemplate

A callable template function derived from the compilation of view.template. A handy reference instead of re-compiling the template all the time.

setTemplate view.setTemplate(template)

Set an internal template reference view.template and compile into a callable function view.ctemplate.

compileTemplate view.compileTemplate(template)

Compiles JavaScript templates into functions that can be evaluated for rendering. By default this uses the underscore _.template(...). Override this function to use other template libraries.

compileTemplate: function(template) {
    return Handlebars.compile(template);
renderTemplate view.renderTemplate([data])

All views can optionally have a template, if defined this function will call the compiled template passing the data arguments. If a view.template is not defined returns an empty string.

var View = BackboneBase.View.extend({
    template: '<%- time %>',
    render: function() {
        this.$el.html(this.renderTemplate({time: new Date().getTime()});
        return this;
renderTemplateDefer view.renderTemplateDefer([data])

Defers invoking the view.renderTemplate function until the current call stack has cleared, similar to using setTimeout with a delay of 0.

renderTemplateDebounce view.renderTemplateDebounce([data])

Will postpone the view.renderTemplate function execution. Useful for implementing behavior that should only happen after the input has stopped arriving such as rate-limiting.

Underscore Methods

BaseView proxies to Underscore.js to provide many iteration functions on view.children. They aren't all documented here, but you can take a look at the Underscore documentation for the full details...

  • each
  • where
  • findWhere
  • invoke
  • pluck
  • size
  • keys
  • values
  • pairs
  • pick
  • omit
  • defaults
  • clone
  • tap
  • has
  • propertyOf
  • isEmpty
view.each(function(child) {

traverse view.traverse(iteratee, options)

Traverse a n-level deep tree of view.children starting from the top and working down, yielding each in turn to an iteratee function. Each invocation of iteratee is called with two arguments: (parent, child). Use options.view to select a specific view.children view for traversal.

remove view.remove()

Removes a view from the DOM, and calls stopListening to remove any bound events that the view has listenTo'd. Aditionally invokes remove on all view.children.


An extenstion of Backbone.Model. Features for attribute accessors (getters, setters, etc.) and resetting the state of a model.

constructor / initialize new Model([attributes], [options])

There are several special options that, if passed, will be attached directly to the model: setters and getters. If the model defines an initialize function, it will be called when the model is first created.

getters / setters

If a getters or setters hash is not passed directly, uses this.setters or this.getters as the sources. setters and getters are written in the format {"attribute": "callback"}. The attribute is the corresponding model.attribute that when called with model.setter or model.getter will execute the callback. The callback may be either the name of a method on the model, or a direct function body. callback is called with (attr, value, options) as arguments. Return the value to either set/get.

The getters or setters property may also be defined as a function that returns a getters or setters hash, to make it easier to programmatically define your accessors, as well as inherit them from parent models.

getter model.getter(attribute, [options])

Get the current value of an attribute from the model via the matching model.getters hash. If there is no matching model.getters hash defaults to model.get.

A model getter that casts an attribute to a boolean might look something like this:

var Model = BackboneBase.Model.extend({
    "getters": {
        "enabled": function(attr, value) {
            if (value==="yes") {
                return true;
            return false;
var model = new Model({enabled: "yes"});
setter model.setter(attributes, [options])

Set a hash of attributes (one or many) on the model via matching model.setters hash entries. If any of the attributes change the model's state, a "change" event will be triggered on the model. If there is no matching model.setters hash defaults to model.set.

A model setter that converts a boolean to a string attribute value might look something like this:

var Model = BackboneBase.Model.extend({
    "setters": {
        "enabled": function(attr, value) {
            if (value===true) {
                return "yes";
            return "no";
var model = new Model();
model.setter("enabled", true);
reset model.reset(attrs, options)

Clear a model silently and subsquently set new attributes. Useful for when you don't want a double set of change events and the defaults are not sufficient. options are proxied to model.set while {setter: true} will use model.setter.


An extenstion of Backbone.Collection. Features for sorting and duplication.

duplicate collection.duplicate([options])

Returns a new instance of the collection with a new list of models (model references are not maintained). Analogous to a deep collection.clone operation. options can also be passed which will map to the second argument in Collection constructor.

reverse collection.reverse()

Reverses the order of the internally stored array of models.


Request is a module that can be mixed in to any Model or Collection object (defaults in BackboneBase.Model and BackboneBase.Collection), giving the object the ability to manage a queue of requests; the queue by default has a bounded capacity of one.

Catalog of Events

Here's the complete list of built-in BackboneBase.Request events, with arguments

  • "request:dequeued" (model_or_collection, xhr, options) - when a fetch has been pulled from the queue and a request is made.

  • "request:enqueued" (model_or_collection, options) - when a fetch has been placed in the queue as a result of another request being in-flight.

clearFetch object.clearFetch()

Stops an in-flight request if present and clears the existing queue of fetches.

enqueueFetch object.enqueueFetch([options])

In general a server request is non-deterministic; when making more than one request on a model or collection always use object.enqueueFetch.

Creates and makes a request if no in-flight request exists. If an in-flight request exists captures the functions arguments adding it to the fetch queue. Note the queue has a default size of 1 and is a 'first in, first out' data structure. options are passed directly to object.fetch.

If the queue is full, the last set of fetch arguments in the queue will be replaced with the callees new arguments.

var Tweets = BackboneBase.Collection.extend({
    url: ""
var tweets = new Tweets();
setInterval(function() {
        data: {
            q: "backbonejs"
}, 10000);
dequeueFetch object.dequeueFetch()

Remove the next set of fetch arguments in the queue and create and make a request. Stops an in-flight request if present. Is a no-op if the queue is empty leaving any in-flight requests out-bound.