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A library for building modular and composable Backbone.js applications

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Octocat-spinner-32 bquery.js
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README.md

bQuery

A library for building modular and composable Backbone.js applications

Overview

bQuery is all about building Backbone.Views from small components, compared to an opinionated framework approach. To see how this works, let's look at a simple example.

Let's say we wanted to to be notified when a model attribute is updated inside a view. Let's use a mixin to represent this, here's what it looks like:

bound = (attr, update) ->
  return (bqView) ->
    bqView.init -> @model.on "change:#{ attr }", update, @

This simply adds a this.model.on call to the constructor of a Backbone.View. When the attribute changes the update function will be called.

I will be using coffeescript in my examples because the function syntax is a bit nicer for representing bQuery mixins. But javascript would work just as well, although it's a bit uglier:

var bound = function(attr, update){
  return function(bqView){
    bqView.init(function(){
      this.model.on("change:" + attr, update, this);
    });
  }
}

and there we have it, our first mixin! We can now use our new mixin in any of our bQuery.view()'s like so:

bQuery.view.mixin("bound", bound)

UserView =
  bQuery.view()
        .bound("name", (user, newName) ->
          @$(".userName").text(newName)
        )
        .bound("email", (user, newEmail) ->
          @$(".userEmail").text(newEmail)
        )
        .make()

Nice! .userName and .userEmail will now update whenever name and email are updated.

Updating a field with text is a pretty common task so lets abstract it further:

boundText = (attr, tag) ->
  return (bqView) ->
    bqView.bound attr, (model, newValue) ->
      @$(tag).text(newValue)

bQuery.view.mixin "boundText", boundText

Notice we're reusing bound from before, but with the specific action of updating a dom element's text instead.

var UserView =
  bQuery.view()
        .boundText("name", ".userName")
        .boundText("email", ".userEmail")
        .make()

Ah, much cleaner.

Wrapping it as a plugin

To turn your mixins into digestable functions for the masses, you can mix them directly into the vQuery.view() prototype all at once like so:

bQuery.view.mixin({
    bound: bound
  , boundText: boundText
  , doNothing: -> ->
})

How it works

bQuery.view() creates an object called a bQueryView that has the ability to create Backbone.View objects. By mixing in different functionality you change the resulting Backbone.View. New functionality can be mixed in using the use function until make is called, which returns the Backbone.View.

All bQueryView does is provide a nice declarative way of mixing in functionality and setting properties (via set). It's simple yet it changes the way you build your Backbone apps.

No more this gotchas

Since bquery wires all of the callbacks, you no longer have to worry about the "forgot to bind this" problem. You still have to remember to bind this when writing mixins though.

Reference

bQuery.view(): returns a bQueryView

bQuery.view.mixin(name, mixin): Add a mixin to the prototype of bQueryView. This allows you to call the mixin directly by name instead of doing .use(mixin) all the time.

This makes it easy for libraries to plug themselves into bQuery

e.g.

  # example mixin that alerts when you click .alert
  annoyingAlert = (opts) ->
    return (v) ->
      v.on "click .alert", ->
        alert("hello, " + opts.name)
      # you can even reference other mixins the same way within a mixin!
      v.doNothing()

  bQuery.view.mixin("annoying", annoyingAlert);
  bQuery.view.mixin("doNothing", -> ->)

  bQuery.view()
        .annoying({ name: "bill" })
        .doNothing()

bQuery.view.mixin(mixins): Mixin multiple mixins using the dictionary keys as the name and values as the mixins

bQueryView

.use(mixin)

Mixin a mixin. A Mixin is a function that takes a (bQueryView, Backbone.View). Calling use calls the mixin with the current bQueryView.

.set(prop, val)

Adds a property to the Backbone.View's prototype object. prop is string and val can be anything.

.on(event, cb)

Adds an event handler to the Backbone.View. This is equivalent to setting a property in the events property on the Backbone.View object.

.init(fn)

Adds functionality to inside of the Backbone.Views constructor. Each registered function is executed in order within the Backbone.View constructor.

.view()

Access the Backbone.View object directly. Usually called before .make() to make changes to the Backbone.View object before it is constructed, but this is rarely needed in practice.

.make()

Returns the Backbone.View constructor with all the mixed in functionality, set properties and events.

Examples

Toggle visibility mouseovers

var mouseOvers = function(overElem, toggleElem) {
  return function(v) {
    elem = function(t) {
      return _.isString(toggleElem)? t.$(toggleElem) : toggleElem;
    }
    v.on("mouseover " + overElem, function() { elem(this).show() });
    v.on("mouseout " + overElem, function() { elem(this).hide() });
  }
}
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