A set of best practices and utilities for building Backbone.js applications.
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Backbone Boilerplate

This boilerplate is the product of much research and frustration. Existing boilerplates freely modify Backbone core, lack a build process, and are very prescriptive; this boilerplate changes that.

Organize your application in a logical filesystem, develop your Models/Collections/Views/Routers inside modules, and build knowing you have efficient code that will not bottleneck your users.

Thanks to our Contributors!

Special Thanks to: cowboy, iros, nimbupani, wookiehangover, and jugglinmike


If you would rather use git, you can simply:

cd myproject
git clone https://github.com/tbranyen/backbone-boilerplate.git .
rm -rf .git

This will download the latest boilerplate into your application directory and clean out all the unnecessary git remnants.

If you would like to use the ahem awesome bundled build tool, you will need to install Node.js for your platform. Don't worry! It's super easy now! If not, you can simply delete the build folder.

Navigate to: http://nodejs.org/ and click Download. Once you've downloaded scroll down to the Build section to see how to configure and use it.


Once you have the boilerplate downloaded and extracted, run the following:

node build server

And launch your web browser to http://localhost:8000/, this will load up the tutorial.

Using the server commands

The server has been completely refactored into a Grunt build task instead of a separate Node.js script. This has many added benefits of which defining your server options inside the build/config.js is the best ^_^.

Note: Using RequireJS and AMD you never need to update the index.html file to test in development/debug/release modes. If your paths don't seem to be working, checking the mapping in build/config.js under the server section.

There are lots of other cool settings you can use now for the server, such as port, host and changing the default index.html name.

# Running the development server using the script loader (great for devving)
node build server

# Running the development server using debug (concatenated files)
node build server:debug

# Running the development server using release (minified files)
node build server:release

HTML5 Boilerplate

This boilerplate started with an HTML5 Boilerplate base. It has been stripped of most of the comments and files, which you can see by visiting the H5BP repo.


Filesystem Structure

This structure is very basic and yet offers many advantages such as isolation of concerns whereas libraries and application code are separated completely.

Application code and templates are placed inside the app directory. The index.js file serves as the entry-point into the application and defines the namespace as well as initializing the main application Router. Make sure you change the namespace name here.

The static assets are placed inside the assets directory. The H5BP files are already included here. Place all new JavaScript libraries inside the assets/js/libs directory. If you are dealing with many jQuery plugins, you may want to create a separate plugins folder inside assets/js.

Default structure:

├── app
│   ├── index.js
│   ├── modules
│   └── templates
├── assets
│   ├── css
│   ├── img
│   └── js
├── build
├── favicon.ico
├── index.html
└── test


Modules are placed in the app/modules/ directory. There is an example module there named: example.js. The actual module definition function is located inside the app/index.js file. You create and reference modules with the same function call: namespace.module("<module_name>").

Typically a module contains a single Model/Collection/Router and many Views. Therefore the returned module object is empty except for a Views object property that can be used to attach many Views to, like:

MyModule.Views.Detailed = Backbone.View.extend({ /* ... */ });

MyModule.Views.Main = Backbone.View.extend({ /* ... */ });

Attaching Models/Collections/Routers happen on the same level of the module, like so:

MyModule.Model = Backbone.Model.extend({ /* ... */ });

MyModule.Router = Backbone.Router.extend({ /* ... */ });


Application wide events provide a convenient way for modules to communicate with each other. namespace.app references a copy of the Backbone.Events object, providing access to .on(), .off(), and .trigger(), that are documented in Backbone.js Events

For example, to add a callback to the "all" event:

namespace.app.on("all", function(){}, this);

HTML5 History and Hash Based Navigation

Out the box Backbone Boilerplate enables pushState. It also supplies a script inside app/index.js which attaches a click handler that monitors all links and will automatically route all relative urls through your Backbone application.

It is designed to only route urls that are defined inside your app.Router and not Routers that may be defined elsewhere.

Absolute urls such as http://google.com/ will be routed normally. So if your application contains links to pages or files that you do not want to route through Backbone's router, make them absolute.

In order to test pushState use the development server explained below.

Build Process

The Backbone Boilerplate build process is a state-of-the-art, task-driven Node.js application that utilizes @cowboy's grunt project.

To run the defaults, execute the following command from the project root, and not from inside the build folder.

# Default building with RequireJS outputs to dist/debug
node build debug

# Advanced building with minification
node build release