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JST templates

The problem: if you need to use view templates in a small-to-large Backbone application, defining your templates in JavaScript code will be unwieldy and difficult to maintain.

Solution: You may need put the templates in a JavaScript file.

The structure

Your app will need to serve a dynamically-created JavaScript file that compiles your files.

A common JST file will create the JST object (in the window namespace), with each of its members defined as template functions. In this example, we'll use Underscore's _.template, which returns functions.

// http://myapp.com/javascripts/jst.js
window.JST = {};

window.JST['person/contact'] = _.template(
    "<div class='contact'><%= name %> ..."
);

window.JST['person/edit'] = _.template(
    "<form method='post'><input type..."
);

You will then need to link to this JavaScript page in your HTML.

<script src="http://myapp.com/javascripts/jst.js"></script>

Using JST templates

In your JavaScript code, simply access the JST object's members to access the views.

var html = JST['person/edit']();

var dict = { name: "Jason", email: "j.smith@gmail.com" };
var html = JST['person/contact'](dict);

Integration notes

  • Rails 3.1 and above: The Rails Asset pipeline already comes with support for JST pages.
  • Rails 3.0 and below: consider using Sprockets or Jammit.
  • In Sinatra: The sinatra-backbone gem can take care of dynamically serving JST templates.