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A powerful component, based on Backbone.View, that displays your Backbone collections in a dynamic datagrid table.
JavaScript CSS
Branch: master


Backbone.Datagrid is a powerful component, based on Backbone.View, that displays your Backbone collections in a dynamic datagrid table. It is highly customizable and configurable with sensible defaults.

You can refer to the project's website for a nice HTML documentation.

Build Status


The raw sources can be navigated on GitHub. The distributed sources can be found in the dist/ directory or downloaded directly via one of the following links:

Getting started


Create a new datagrid with your collection and options, render it and attach the resulting element to your document:

var myCollection = new MyCollection();
var datagrid = new Backbone.Datagrid({
  collection: myCollection


You will find all the examples listed on this page. Their sources are available in the examples directory of the repository.

  • Solar: a simple and complete example with an in memory collection of planets from the Solar System.
  • GitHub: an example with a collection connected to GitHub's REST API.


Each component composing the datagrid really are Backbone views. Here is a description of these different components. You'll also find for each component (or view), the events that will cause a rendering of the view.

/                                          \

+----------+----------+----------+----------+  ˥
| Column 1 | Column 2 | Column 3 | Column 4 |   } Header
ǂ==========ǂ==========ǂ==========ǂ==========ǂ  ˩
| Val 1-1  | Val 1-2  | Val 1-3  | Val 1-4  |
+----------+----------+----------+----------+  ˥
| Val 2-1  | Val 2-2  | Val 2-3  | Val 2-4  |   } Row
+----------+---------\+----------+----------+  ˩
| Val 3-1  | Val 3-2  \ Val 3-3  | Val 3-4  |
| Val 4-1  | Val 4-2  | \al 4-3  \ Val 4-4  |
                          \___  ___\
                            2 Cells

          +---+---+---+---+---+---+  ˥
          | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | » |   } Pagination
          +---+---+---+---+---+---+  ˩


The backbone.datagrid entry point. A Backbone.View that will be responsible for the entire datagrid management and rendering. It uses the collection passed to the constructor as its data source. The Datagrid view takes care of creating the table HTML element and each of the components described below.

Event bindings:

  • collection#reset will cause a rendering of the whole datagrid.


A Backbone.View for the datagrid's header which is going to render the thead HTML element. It is also responsible for creating a Cell for each column's header.


A Backbone.View for each row of the datagrid. The Row is responsible for rendering a row in the table, that is to say a tr HTML element, and for creating a Cell for each column of the datagrid. The Row uses an entry of the collection: a model.

Event bindings:

  • model#change will cause a rendering of the row.


A Backbone.View for each cell in a Row. One Cell is responsible for rendering a td (or th for a header) HTML element.

There are specialized cells views extending the base Cell and that allows custom renderings that suit your needs:

  • Cell
    • CallbackCell
      • TemplateCell
        • UnderscoreTemplateCell (not available yet)
        • HandlebarsTemplateCell (not available yet)
    • ActionCell

Datagrid options


The Backbone.Collection that is going to be managed by the datagrid.


If the collection should be manipulated in memory for pagination and sorting. Otherwise use REST requests.


Whether or not the datagrid should be paginated.


The class attribute for the generated table. Will override tableAttrs.className.


The class attribute for each datagrid's row: tr tags. Can be a simple string with class names space-separated or a computed string by passing a callback function. The callback function will be called with the model associated to the current row. Will override className attribute that may be returned by rowAttrs.


A nice message to display when the datagrid is empty. Defaults to <p>No results found.</p>.

tableAttrs (object)

If you provide an object in tableAttrs, they will be used as html attributes of the generated table element.

rowAttrs (function)

Unlike tableAttrs, rowAttr may be a function invoked to generate html attributes of the generated tr elements. It's invoked during rendering on each row, with the Corresponding backbone model as first parameter. It must return an object.

var datagrid = new Datagrid({
  collection: collection,
  rowAttrs: function(model) {
    return {'data-id': model.cid, disabled: true};


The columns definitions, see the dedicated section below.

Columns definitions

You can customize the datagrid with columns definition. It is an array of definitions, one for each column you want to see in the datagrid. If no definition is passed to the datagrid, a default column definition is going to be created for you for each property of the model managed by the collection you passed to the datagrid.

A column definition can be a string or an object. If a string is passed, a default column definition will be generated with the specified string used as the column's property.

Column definition

property (string)

The model's property that is going to be displayed in the column. Can be omitted if the column describe a combination of different properties of the model: please refer to custom views below.

title (string)

The title of the column which will be displayed in the table header. If not defined, the column's property will be used for generating a nicely formated title, here are some examples:

  • name => Name
  • events_url => Events Url
  • issue_events_url => Issue Events Url

sortable (boolean)

Whether or not the column is sortable. Default to false.

sortBy (string)

The column which will be used for sorting, see dedicated sorting section below for more details.

comparator (function)

If the column is sortable, a comparator function that is going to be used to sort the datagrid by the column. See the dedicated sorting section below for more informations.

cellClassName (string|callback)

The class name of the cell (td or th). It can be a string or a callback which will be passed the model related to the current row. Will override className attribute that may be returned by cellAttrs.

cellAttrs (function)

May be a function invoked to generate html attributes of the generated td elements. It's invoked during rendering on each cell, with the row backbone model as first parameter. It must return an object.

var datagrid = new Datagrid({
  collection: collection,
  columns: [{
    property: 'foo',
    cellAttrs: function(model) {
      return {'data-id': model.cid, disabled: true};

view (string|callback|object)

The CellView that's gonna be used for rendering the column's cell associated to the current row.

If not defined, the model's attribute corresponding to

You can pass an Underscore template as a string, it will be compiled and executed with the model.toJSON() as context.

You can also pass a callback function. It will be called with the current row's model (the Backbone full model) and the return value will be displayed in the cell.

You can finally pass an object to use one of the specific views provided or a custom view. This object must have a type property which refers to view's type that gonna be used for the Cell. The other properties are gonna be passed to the constructor function of the view.

  title: 'Edit',
  view: {
    type: Backbone.Datagrid.ActionCell,
    label: 'Edit',
    actionClassName: 'btn btn-primary',
    action: function(planet) {
      alert('Would edit ' + planet.get('name') + '!');
      return false;


By default, pagination controls are displayed for a paginated datagrid. But an API is also available to manually control pagination. Each of the following functions causes a datagrid rendering:


The Pager is an object extending Backbone.Model which manages the state of the pagination for the datagrid.

Go to the specified page. Delegates to:;


Set the number of items displayed per page. Delegates to:


Go to the next page.


Go to the previous page.


Returns the current page number.


Returns the current number of element per page.


Tests if the collection has a previous page.


Tests if the collection has a next page.

Pager's events

As Backbone.Model, you can bind events triggered by any object extending Backbone.Model if you want to bind some behavior when the user interact with the pager. You can for example very easily save the current pager status in the sessionStorage:

datagrid.pager.on('change', function(pager) {
  sessionStorage.setItem('datagrid-current-page', pager.get('currentPage'));
  sessionStorage.setItem('datagrid-per-page', pager.get('perPage'));

Here is another example which observes changes of the current page only:

datagrid.pager.on('change:currentPage', function(pager) {
  // A really convenient alert...
  alert("Hey you are changing page for: " + pager.get('currentPage'));

In memory

If the datagrid manages an in memory collection, pagination will be automatically handled for you by slicing the collection with the right start and end indexes according to the current page and the number of elements per page you want to be displayed.

Server API

When dealing with a server API, there are two things you need to configure in your collection for pagination to work properly:

  • set some properties, generally fetched from the API, that will tell the datagrid if a previous, next or specific page is available to display relevant pagination controls.
  • set a data property that will tell the datagrid which request parameters it needs to send to the server to the specify the current page and the number of items per page you want.

Configuring pagination controls

Some of the following properties must be set to the collection:

  • hasPrev if there is a previous page to enable a control which links to the previous page.
  • hasNext if there is a next page to enable a control which links to the next page.
  • totalPages or total the total number of pages or elements to be able to display full pagination controls with a link to each of the available pages.

In the case you know from the server API the total number of pages or elements, you just have to set one of these value for the datagrid to be able to display full pagination controls.

In the case where this information is not available, the datagrid will only be able to display controls for previous and next page according to the related hasNext and hasPrev flags.

You will be able to retrieve these informations from the server API you are dealing with, so the best place to set these properties to the collection is in collection.parse(resp) which is called by Backbone when fetching from the server.

For example, if the server API provides the total number of elements by wrapping the collection:

  total: 24
  content: [{
    foo: 'bar'
  }, {
    foo: 'foobar'

Here is how you could implement your collection's fetch function:

parse: function(resp) { =;
  return resp.content;
  • you first need to store the total number of elements in the collection.
  • Then you have to return the actual array which gonna be used by Backbone to populate the collection. See collection.parse(resp) for more details.

Here is a second example using GitHub's API with JSON-P:

parse: function(resp) {
  this.hasNext = false;
  var link = _.find(resp.meta.Link, function(link) {
    if (link[1].rel == 'next') {
      this.hasNext = true;
      return true;
  }, this);

Here we just set an hasNext flag based on the meta link informations provided by GitHub. As the total number of pages is unknown, only next and previous page will be available as pagination controls.

Configuring request parameters

You have to set the data property in your collection. This can be an object or a function returning an object. This object will be passed as a data option to Backone's collection.fetch(options) and finally passed as a query string by jquery to your server API while fetching a new page.

The pager will be passed to the function so that you will be able to get the currentPage and the number of element perPage wanted to pass them as query parameters values. Here is an example (in your collection):

data: function(pager) {
  return {
    page:     pager.get('currentPage'),
    per_page: pager.get('perPage')

Here would be the query string resulted from fetching the 4th page with 10 elements per page:


Here is an alternative example that will produce the same query string but by directly setting an object:

data: {
  page:     function(pager) { return pager.get('currentPage'); },
  per_page: 10

Here the number of elements per page is definitely fixed (which is generally not a good idea).


Sorted datagrid columns can be sorted by clicking on the column's header cell. A first click will sort in ascending order, the following clicks will toggle sorting direction between descending and ascending. You can also control sorting thanks to the following function.


As for the Pager, the Sorter is an object extending Backbone.Model. Its role is to manage the sorting state of the datagrid.

datagrid.sort(column, [order])

Sort the datagrid by the specified column in the specified order. The column can be the column's property name or the column's index (beginning at 0). You can use Datagrid.Sorter.ASC and Datagrid.Sorter.DESC to specify the sorting direction.

Delegates to datagrid.sorter.sort(column, [order]).


Returns the column which is currently sorted identified by (in order of priority):

  • sortBy if defined in the column definition.
  • property if defined in the column definition.
  • column's index otherwise.


Returns the sorting direction, can be Datagrid.Sorter.ASC or Datagrid.Sorter.DESC.

Sorter's events

In the same way you can bind events triggered by the Pager, you can also bind events triggered by the Sorter (as a Backbone.Model) and react to sorting state changes.

datagrid.sorter.on('change', function(sorter) {
  sessionStorage.setItem('datagrid-sorted-column', sorter.get('column'));
  sessionStorage.setItem('datagrid-sorted-order', sorter.get('order'));

In memory

An in memory collection will be sorted using a comparator function that gonna be passed to Backbone's collection.sort(options).

The comparator function is specific to a sortable column and must be specified in the column's definition. The functions takes two arguments : model1 and model2 and should follow the specifications of the compareFunction expected for Array.sort.

By default the comparator function will be based on String.localeCompare for a sensible alphabetical sorting.

Example of a column definition with a custom comparator function:

  property: 'rank',
  sortable: true,
  comparator: function(p1, p2) {
    return p1.get('rank') - p2.get('rank');

Server API

Configuring how the datagrid will pass sorting parameters to the server API is done in the same way as we configured pagination: using the collection's data attribute.

In addition to the pager, the sorter is passed as a second parameter to the functions which generate request parameters data. All you need to do is to map the request parameters your API is using for sorting to the current sorting status provided by the datagrid in the sorter.

Here is an example data function implementation in your collection:

data: function(pager, sorter) {
  return {
    per_page:  pager.get('perPage'),
    page:      pager.get('currentPage'),
    sort:      sorter.get('column'),
    direction: sorter.get('order')

With this configuration, requesting the 4th page with 10 element per page and sorting by name descendant would produce the following query string:



It is for now in its early stage of developments: the API may be subject to changes.


Grunt is used for managing the development workflow, here is how you cant get up everything you need to contribute to backbone.datagrid:

  1. Install Node.js.
  2. Clone the project: $ git clone $ cd backbone.datagrid
  3. Install dependencies with npm: $ npm install -g grunt-cli $ npm install
  4. Use Grunt for:
    • Linting and testing: $ grunt test
    • Building: $ grunt dist



  • The full Backbone.Model is passed to the CallbackCell's callback function instead of the serialized JSON.
  • You can now use the TemplateCell if you need the serialized JSON (for a compiled template function).
  • Update Backbone to 1.0.0.
  • Fix some memory leaks.
  • Introduce configurable controls with:
    • Pagination control
    • ItemsPerPage control.


  • Fix an issue that caused useless Ajax calls.
  • Display a nice message when the datagrid is empty.
  • Support Backbone 0.9.10.
  • Bower support: backbone.datagrid is now a Bower package and can be installed via bower install backbone.datagrid.


  • Datagrid is now responsible for rendering itself.
  • Improve GitHub example: an input field allows to enter the username.
  • Bug fixes in datagrid's preparation.


  • Support server API with request based pagination and sorting.
  • New example based on GitHub's API which demonstrate server API support.
  • Add a tableClassName option.
  • Minor bug fixes.


  • Group Datagrid objects in Backbone.Datagrid namespace.
  • Release a dedicated Backbone.Datagrid web page with resources and documentation.


  • Initial backbone.datagrid release.
  • Manages in memory collections.


Copyright (c) 2012 Loïc Frering, licensed under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for more informations.

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