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Rails like central routing control for Backbone.

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README.mkdn

Backbone.Routes

You want to have a central place to control all your routing logic for your Backbone app. Then, Backbone.Routes is for you. This is a Backbone plugin that I created for my own use on one of the projects that I am working on now. You can also check out the introduction blog post.

Warnings

This plugin will replace some of the things that Backbone is doing now.

For example:

class YourApp.Routers.UsersRouter extends Backbone.Router
  routes:
    "/new": "new"

routes will not longer working once you start using Backbone.Routes with your Backbone app. So, what Backbone.Routes is useful for?

Installation

To install this, just load it after Backbone is loaded.

For example in Rails 3.1,

//= require jquery
//= require jquery_ujs
//= require underscore
//= require backbone
//= require backbone_routes

Example

You can check out forkbin to see how Backbone.Routes works.

Features

In fact, if you want to have a central place to control all your routing logic for Backbone. Backbone.Routes is a good plugin that you should use.

Example:

Backbone.Routes.prefix = YourApp.Routers

# Matches from top to bottom.
Backbone.Routes.map
  "/":
    "NavbarRouter": "index"
    "HomeRouter": "index"

  "/signin":
    "NavbarRouter": "index"
    "RegistrationRouter": "signin"

  "/questions":
    "NavbarRouter": "index"
    "QuestionsRouter": "index"
    "SidebarRouter"  : "new_questions"

  "/:nick":
    "NavbarRouter": "index"
    "ProfilesRouter" : "index"
    "SidebarRouter"  : "new_questions"

So, the first thing you have to set is the prefix for Backbone.Routes. The default is window. So, how it is used by Backbone.Routes. If you take a look at the first route: "/". There are NavbarRouter and HomeRouter. So, once you set the prefix, inside Backbone.Routes, it will call:

Backbone.Routes.prefix = YourApp.Routers

# a safer way than actually calling eval()

# The following code is equivalent to
# new YourApp.Routers.NavbarRouter()
new Backbone.Routes.prefix["NavbarRouter"]() # string to class

# and

# The following code is equivalent to
# new YourApp.Routers.HomeRouter()
new Backbone.Routes.prefix["HomeRouter"]() # string to class

So, it also means that you don't have to initiate the Routers again anymore since Backbone.Routes will do the work for you.

And, another cool thing about Backbone.Routes is that it matches routes from top to bottom. So, for the example above, only /signin will get called. On a traditional Backbone app, you will have to structure your Backbone app in the way that /signin is called before /:nick which is really annoying most of the time.

Concurrent Routers

So, you might want to ask, what the following code does?

"/":
  "NavbarRouter": "index"
  "HomeRouter": "index"

Yes, it is exactly what you think it is. Two routers get called when the route / is hit. Why is this? I do this because I separated the logic for the navigation bar and the real homepage. So, my code can be more modularized in the way that people who work on the navigation bar and the people who work on the homepage do not have to step on the foot of each other.

More modularized code also means less commit conflicts and less points of failure.

Caching

Backbone.Routes supports caching too. For example, if you have code similar as:

# Matches from top to bottom.
Backbone.Routes.map
  "/":
    "NavbarRouter": "index"
    "HomeRouter": "index"

  "/signin":
    "NavbarRouter": "index"
    "RegistrationRouter": "signin"

You notice that NavbarRouter#index is called at least two times. And, one thing is that NavbarRouter#index is static. The content of it doesn't change. So, why should Backbone rerender it everytime?

So, to cache that particular action NavbarRouter#index, you can do:

class NavbarRouter extends Backbone.Router
  cache: ["index"]

  index: ->
    # blah blah blah...

Notice the cache keyword here, it is used to cache the index action in this particular router NavbarRouter. Once you use the cache keyword, NavbarRouter#index will only be loaded for the first time, any subsequent call to NavbarRouter#index will be cached.

Notice that the caching only work for the subsequent call. If NavbarRouter#index isn't called for the subsequent call. It will be purged from the cache.

Help/Issues

The code is extremely simple. Just read the source code if you have any questions. Or, you can create a GitHub issue, I will look at them as soon as I have the time.

Contact

Let me know if you want to talk to me about this plugin. You can email me siong(1900+87) (at) gmail (dot) com.

LICENSE

(The MIT License)

Copyright (c) 2012 Teng Siong Ong

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the 'Software'), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED 'AS IS', WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

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