Backbone plugin. Basic functionality views.
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#backbone-base Set of objects for creating medium and large scale web applications with backbone.js.


###Introduction We have been using backbone.js for about 3 years now and we like it. It is not a framework but complete and solid base for frontend application. It doesn't dictate you how to organize application structure, it is aimed to provide you with basic tools like views, models and urls dispatcher. So you have more choices when it comes to application structure and design.

Our long time experience with backbone.js resulted in an application design approach and base objects I'd like to share with everyone.

###Views hierarchy — BaseView By view I actually mean object derived from Backbone.View which is responsible for visual representation. In our applications any view can access any other view without using global varibales. We achieved this with views hierarchy — placing all symantical descendants of a certain view in its .layout attribute.

For example we will place instance of menu of profile page in of ProfileView instance. Or we will keep Inbox page of Messages module in .layout.inbox. .layout can be used for everything that is deeper in hierarchy than current object — UI parts of a page, pages of a section, modules of application and so on.

var ProfileView = BaseView.extend({
	render: function() {
		this.layout.billing = (new BillingView({el: '#billing'})).render(); = (new MenuView({el: '#menu'})).render();
		this.layout.settings = (new SettingsView({el: '#settings'})).render();

		return this;

The only starting point for hierarchy is .app attrbiute of a view where the application instance is kept. Application itself is considered to be the view which initiates all other views. Using .app any view can call other views methods in a simple way:

// Get unread messages from application inbox

Sometimes it is more convenient to access another view through parent view, instead of getting accross long chain of .layout. In this case one can find useful .parent attribute which passed to a view with parent option.

// In .messages.layout.inbox view call method of messages.layout.spam view — put message in a spam box

With all this in mind we get to very common base view for our applications with only .initialize() method rewritten. What it does is just creating a blank .layout and accepting app and parent options.

// BaseView.initialize
initialize: function(options) { = (options || {}).app;
	this.parent = (options || {}).parent;
	this.layout = {};

Any view derived from BaseView can be initialized like this:

// Considering parent view have .app attribute
new InboxView({app:, parent: this})

###Lists — BaseListView Lists are very common for web applications. Certain features may vary but most list views essentially do the same — iterate over array of initial data and place items into the list.

Obviously in most cases we consider Backbone.Collection to be the initial data array. So, what we usually do is iterate over collection of models, wrap model into view and place the view into the list. For later access we will also put view of each item into array called .layout.items.

This way instead of going with events handlers one may use .layout.items for such things:

// Called from list item view this will unselect all siblings. We are crazy about underscore.js
_.invoke(this.parent.layout.items, 'select', false)

We have divided list generation process into reasonable number of steps so that derived list views may implement custom features by redefining just small methods instead of rewriting everything. Important thing is that BaseListView has .ItemView property which holds object used for initiating items views. It can be passed as option or defined within derived view definition:

var PersonsView = BaseListView.extend({
	ItemView: BaseView.extend({
		render: function() { this.$el.html(this.template({lastname: this.model.get('lastname'), title: this.model.get('title')})) },
		tagName: 'li',
		template: Handlebars.compile('{{ title }} {{ lastname }}')

	tagName: 'ul'

###More views These two types of views provide us with an extensible base. So we have solid and simple hierarchy for any application and we have customizable view for most typical operation on the web — representing data.