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JavaScript Web Applications

Cover of JavaScript Web Applications by Alex MacCaw Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. JavaScript Web Applications
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    2. Preface
      1. Who Is This Book For?
      2. How This Book Is Organized
      3. Conventions Used in This Book
      4. Accompanying Files
      5. Code Conventions
      6. Holla
      7. Author’s Note
      8. Safari® Books Online
      9. How to Contact Us
    3. 1. MVC and Classes
      1. Early Days
      2. Adding Structure
      3. What Is MVC?
      4. Toward Modularity, Creating Classes
      5. Adding Functions to Classes
      6. Adding Methods to Our Class Library
      7. Class Inheritance Using Prototype
      8. Adding Inheritance to Our Class Library
      9. Function Invocation
      10. Controlling Scope in Our Class Library
      11. Adding Private Functions
      12. Class Libraries
    4. 2. Events and Observing
      1. Listening to Events
      2. Event Ordering
      3. Canceling Events
      4. The Event Object
      5. Event Libraries
      6. Context Change
      7. Delegating Events
      8. Custom Events
      9. Custom Events and jQuery Plug-Ins
      10. Non-DOM Events
    5. 3. Models and Data
      1. MVC and Namespacing
      2. Building an ORM
      3. Adding ID Support
      4. Addressing References
      5. Loading in Data
      6. Populating Our ORM
      7. Storing Data Locally
      8. Adding Local Storage to Our ORM
      9. Submitting New Records to the Server
    6. 4. Controllers and State
      1. Module Pattern
      2. Adding a Bit of Context
      3. State Machines
      4. Routing
    7. 5. Views and Templating
      1. Dynamically Rendering Views
      2. Templates
      3. Binding
    8. 6. Dependency Management
      1. CommonJS
      2. Module Loaders
      3. Wrapping Up Modules
      4. Module Alternatives
      5. FUBCs
    9. 7. Working with Files
      1. Browser Support
      2. Getting Information About Files
      3. File Inputs
      4. Drag and Drop
      5. Copy and Paste
      6. Reading Files
      7. Custom Browse Buttons
      8. Uploading Files
      9. jQuery Drag and Drop Uploader
    10. 8. The Real-Time Web
      1. Real Time’s History
      2. WebSockets
      3. Real-Time Architecture
      4. Perceived Speed
    11. 9. Testing and Debugging
      1. Unit Testing
      2. Drivers
      3. Headless Testing
      4. Distributed Testing
      5. Providing Support
      6. Inspectors
      7. The Console
      8. Using the Debugger
      9. Analyzing Network Requests
      10. Profile and Timing
    12. 10. Deploying
      1. Performance
      2. Caching
      3. Minification
      4. Gzip Compression
      5. Using a CDN
      6. Auditors
      7. Resources
    13. 11. The Spine Library
      1. Setup
      2. Classes
      3. Events
      4. Models
      5. Controllers
      6. Building a Contacts Manager
    14. 12. The Backbone Library
      1. Models
      2. Collections
      3. Views
      4. Controllers
      5. Syncing with the Server
      6. Building a To-Do List
    15. 13. The JavascriptMVC Library
      1. Setup
      2. Classes
      3. Model
      4. Using Client-Side Templates in the View
      5. $.Controller: The jQuery Plug-in Factory
      6. Putting It All Together: An Abstract CRUD List
    16. A. jQuery Primer
      1. DOM Traversal
      2. DOM Manipulation
      3. Events
      4. Ajax
      5. Being a Good Citizen
      6. Extensions
      7. Creating a Growl jQuery Plug-in
    17. B. CSS Extensions
      1. Variables
      2. Mixins
      3. Nested Rules
      4. Including Other Stylesheets
      5. Colors
      6. How Do I Use Less?
    18. C. CSS3 Reference
      1. Prefixes
      2. Colors
      3. Rounded Corners
      4. Drop Shadows
      5. Text Shadow
      6. Gradients
      7. Multiple Backgrounds
      8. Selectors
      9. Transitions
      10. Border Images
      11. Box Sizing
      12. Transformations
      13. Flexible Box Model
      14. Fonts
      15. Graceful Degradation
      16. Creating a Layout
    19. Index
    20. About the Author
    21. Colophon
    22. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
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Chapter 12. The Backbone Library

Backbone is an excellent library for building JavaScript applications. Its beauty is in its simplicity; the library is very lightweight, giving you a great deal of flexibility while covering all the basics. As with the rest of this book, MVC is the name of the game, and that pattern runs right through the core of Backbone. The library gives you models, controllers, and views—the building blocks for your application.

How is Backbone different from other frameworks, such as SproutCore or Cappuccino? Well, the main difference is Backbone’s lightweight nature. SproutCore and Cappuccino provide rich UI widgets and vast core libraries, and they determine the structure of your HTML for you. Both frameworks measure in the hundreds of kilobytes when packed and gzipped, as well as many megabytes of JavaScript, CSS, and images when loaded in the browser. By comparison, Backbone measures just 4 KB, providing purely the core concepts of models, events, collections, views, controllers, and persistence.

Backbone’s only hard dependency is underscore.js, a library full of useful utilities and general-purpose JavaScript functions. Underscore provides more than 60 functions that deal with—among other things—array manipulation, function binding, JavaScript templating, and deep-equality testing. It’s definitely worth checking out Underscore’s API, especially if you’re doing a lot of work with arrays. Other than Underscore, you can safely use jQuery or Zepto.js to help ...

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