(More Than Just a Complete Backbone.js Tutorial)
Duration: 25 to 30 hours
Below, I provide you with a comprehensive study guide that I myself have used (indeed, I have refined it for this article) to learn Backbone.js properly. This study guide should take just about 30 hours to complete.
Table of Contents
After I learned Backbone.js, the first application I built was an eCommerce web application for a client—a startup. I built the entire app, including the shopping cart, with Backbone.js and Node.js.
Backbone.js Is Friendly
Before we Continue
What is Backbone.js and Why You Should Learn It
If you have never used a JS front-end framework before, you will understand why nearly every modern web application uses a front-end JS framework.
What is Backbone.js?
Why Learn Backbone.js
You should learn Backbone.js if:
Get The Two Backbone.js eBooks (one free one very cheap—$4.99)
- First, download a free copy of Addy Osmani’s Developing Backbone.js Applications
- Instead of the Addy’s book, you can buy the book “Backbone Tutorials” at the link below:
Note that most of this article focuses on the Developing Backbone.js Applications book, but you can use Backbone Tutorials; just follow along with the relevant topics, accordingly.
Roadmap to Mastering Backbone.js
All the links below open in a new tab, so that you can read the articles and quickly come back and follow the study guide.
- Read the following 4 blog posts for the conceptual understanding of Model, View, Router, and Collections:
— What is a model?
— What is a view?
— What is a router?
— What is a collection?
- Read the entire tutorial at the link below (note that it is a bit old, but still valid) and study and understand it carefully, but don’t try to build the app just yet:
Backbone.js Wine Cellar Tutorial — Part 1: Getting Started
- Read Developing Backbone.js Applications from the beginning (Prelude) to the Backbone Basics chapter.
- Read these 2 blog posts:
— The Responsibilities Of The Various Pieces Of Backbone.js
— 3 Stages Of A Backbone Application’s Startup
- You should be able to build the simple Backbone.js application you studied in section 3 above. Return to that tutorial and build the application.
- Return to Developing Backbone.js Applications and read the Exercise 1 chapter (and build the application), then read the chapter titled Common Problems & Solutions followed by the chapter Exercise 2 (and build the application in exercise 2).
- Read the Modular Development chapter and build whichever application(s) you want to build from this chapter. You needn’t build all of the example applications.
- Follow these two tutorials (these are a bit old too, but still accurate):
— Backbone.js Wine Cellar Tutorial — Part 2: CRUD
— Backbone.js Lessons Learned and Improved Sample App (This is a MUST READ)
- These are 4 MUST READ articles:
— (Learn how to communicate among views and subviews)
References, Routing, And The Event Aggregator: Coordinating Views In Backbone.js
— Revisiting The Backbone Event Aggregator: Lessons Learned
— (Managing Page Transitions In Backbone Apps)
Learn How to transition between views and how to properly dispose of views Zombies! RUN!
— Why Should I Use Backbone.Marionette Instead Of … ?
That’s It! (Almost)
At this juncture, you have learned enough to build any Backbone.js application: you have gone from absolute beginner to attainment in under 30 hours, if you stayed the course.
But to really understand and retain what you have learned, you must build a real, single-page web application.
11. If you are involved with backend as well as front-end development, you should read either my post Learn Node.js Completely and with Confidence or Learn Meteor.js Properly. After you learn either, you will be able to build complete modern web applications.
12. With a complete understanding of Node.js and Backbone.js (or with Meteor.js), you will be ready to build any type of web application. You can also build a startup at this juncture, if you are intrepid.
If on the other hand you only develop on the front end, you should learn Angular.js or Ember.js, if you want a high-paying front-end developer job. Also, consider Facebook’s React.js (a new front-end framework), which some large Silicon Valley firms and other companies are using today.
But before you head off on your adventure, build the NodeApp web application at the link below; this exercise provides a real-world exercise in Node.js/Backbone.js web application development:
- Read the following chapters in Developing Backbone.js Applications to further advance your knowledge on the Backbone.js ecosystem:
— Backbone Extensions
— Backbone Boilerplate And Grunt-BBB
— Mobile Applications
— Unit Testing
- Learn Handlebars Templating Engine
Handlebars templating engine is much more robust and feature rich than the simple template engine bundled with Backbone.js (The template used in Backbone.js by default is from the Underscore.js library, and Underscore.js is Backbone.js’s lone dependency).
The Backbone.js Documentation is Great; You Will Use it Often
Once you start developing on your own, you will find yourself making frequent stops to the Backbone.js documentation. This will likely be the website you visit most often, when you need help figuring out how to do any myriad of things while developing a Backbone.js application. Here is the link:
Be good. Sleep well. And enjoy coding.