Build A Better Backbone App
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Build A Better Backbone App

About the Bundle

The best way to learn new development skills is through experience, but that takes time you don't have. Get the best of both worlds with this bundle: you'll learn how to produce modern web applications by learning from experienced developers like Derick Bailey and David Sulc.

BackboneJS is one of the favorite tools on the web today, but it doesn't provide a lot of guidance on how to use it efficiently to avoid boilerplate code. There's a lot to be learned before you're productive, even with such a small library. Instead of staggering around as you fall into Backbone's various traps and gotchas, join us as we take you from "Backbone newbie" all the way to "web 2.0 semi-wizard" by teaching you to leverage MarionetteJS - the most popular of the Backbone-based frameworks.

Whether you're looking to build your first javascript application, or you've inherited a project using Backbone/Marionette and need to get up to speed fast, the 3 eBooks in this bundle will get you there in no time. You will:

  • discover MarionetteJS components and how they're used to build your first single-page application with "Backbone.Marionette.js: A Gentle Introduction"
  • learn how MarionetteJS and RequireJS can co-exist, and how to use them in your project with "Structuring Backbone Code with RequireJS and Marionette Modules"
  • build your own BackboneJS add-ons and abstractions to reduce boilerplate code and take your apps to the next level with "Building Backbone Plugins"

Start building your own apps instead of spending your time searching for answers on StackOverflow: grab your bundle today!

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About the Books

Building Backbone Plugins

Eliminate The Boilerplate In Backbone.js Apps
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Stop Building Apps With Broken, Boilerplate JavaScript

Master the art of extending and scaling Backbone.js … with just ONE book

Introducing …

Building Backbone Plugins

Extending Backbone.js The Smart, Scalable Way

  • Learn dozens of time-saving secrets
  • Build apps that can handle massive growth
  • Say goodbye to spaghetti-code solutions
  • Make better architecture decisions
  • Write maintainable, problem-free JavaScript

Because There’s a World of Difference Between Using a Framework … and KNOWING It

Get Back to Coding Cool Features Again

You’re not paid to build frameworks — you’re paid to build apps that solve the needs of your business. Building Backbone Plugins will free you from boilerplate code so you can focus on writing your application’s features.

Stop Fumbling Around Your Codebase

Keeping code small and readable is critical as your application evolves. Understanding — at a glance — what the code in any given file does is what makes the difference between being productive and flailing around for hours.

Put an End to Copy & Paste Programming

Boilerplate code requires you to copy-and-paste large chunks of code. Copy-and-paste code creates duplication. Duplication creates a maintenance nightmare. This book will teach you how to stop code-bloat in its tracks with powerful, easy-to-maintain abstractions and extensions.

Minimize Code, Maximize Freedom

Master the art of writing less code that does way more. After stripping down and streamlining your codebase with the help of this book, you’ll have more time to actually implement and improve those inspired, nice-to-have features you love but kept having to put on the back burner.

Understand WHY, Not Just How

This isn’t just a how-to book. It’s a why-to book designed to clarify the concepts and logic that hold Backbone together. Learn the “why” and “how” of building Backbone extensions without losing hours, days, even weeks to hopeless, confusing trial-and-error.

Build Fully Stocked App Architectures

Backbone offers a great, lightweight way to organize jQuery and other JavaScript code, but the trade-off is a lack of a complete app architecture. Building Backbone Plugins fills this gap by showing you what it takes to build scalable applications in Backbone and how to stock your toolbox with exactly what you need.

Get Real-Life, Real-App Tools & Techniques Distilled from Years of Experience with Backbone.js

I don’t know about you, but when I first starting using Backbone.js, I fell in love with it almost immediately.

After weeks of tearing my hair out over the hopeless tangle of JavaScript I’d “built” into my latest app, Backbone seemed like the answer to my prayers:

All of the patterns and practices that I’d learned from Windows development and thick GUI applications right there in front of me … only in JavaScript!

But it wasn’t long before I realized that using Backbone raised problems of its own: for one, a heavy reliance on copy & paste programming. To build out my apps, I had to keep adding more and more boilerplate code — the stuff that has to be there or nothing works right.

All that copy-and-pasting of code inevitably led to the copy-and-pasting of errors … which then required copy-and-paste fixes.

And that, frankly, is a ridiculous and wasteful way to code.

Based on my own trial & error-riddled experiences building MarionetteJS for Backbone, Building Backbone Plugins boils down more than 15 years of software development experience into one simple, easy-to-follow handbook designed to meet the real-life needs of actual JavaScript developers and their clients.

Using MarionetteJS as a reference, this book will show you how to write cleaner, more flexible JavaScript as well as how to keep your applications organized and easy-to-maintain — no matter how complex they get.

– Derick Bailey, creator of MarionetteJS

What Others Are Saying (and Loving!) About The Book

“A treasure trove of knowledge for the Backbone developer concerned with application architecture and extending Backbone” - Chris Webb

“The perfect read given that I was using Backbone in an unstructured manner, leaving many design paradigms in the dust … A great guide on how to transition from a mediocre Backbone web developer to a full-fledged software engineer with Backbone under their tool belt.” - Peter Tseng

“[This book] exposes parts of Backbone that many don’t know about and clearly shows how to extend Backbone in helpful ways that are generic enough to be usable by large numbers of users/projects.” - Joe Zimmerman

“[Building Backbone Plugins] provided me with a bunch of conceptual tools… good enough to roll my own!” - Domingo E. Savoretti

“Gave me a deeper understanding of event-driven applications, what a good backbone architecture looks like, and how to write cleaner code… All the code and examples can be traced back to Marionette, a real-world open source library … I got immediate benefit by applying it at work as I was reading the book, without having to create a project just to try out the concepts!” - Roberto Guerra

“The things I learned from this book will go a long way in both improving our code base as well as the skill-set of my team as a whole!” - Jason Krol

“This book has helped me gain a better understanding of Backbone.js — which will benefit me as well as my clients going forward.” - Paul Paulson

“I see Backbone plugins in a different light now as a result of this book. Whereas previously I regarded plugins as a last resort, now I think of plugins more as an essential enhancement to the Backbone framework. Plugins as explained in this book add a stronger procedural abstraction capability to Backbone … It reminds me somewhat of the power of C++ template metaprogramming compared to early versions of that language that lacked templates.” - Bodine

“I was surprised at the clarity of language and exposition [of Building Backbone Plugins] … This has a degree of polish comparable to books from O’Reilly or Manning. Geeky expertise we expect; clear writing is rare!” - Bodine

“Through example, this book walks you through the common challenges faced in Backbone development and how to sanely tackle those challenges … At least, that’s how it helped me!” - Michael Raumer

“This book is a reference for me every time I pick Backbone as the major library to deal with anything I build on the client side.” - Rui Pedro Lima

“[This book] showed me how Backbone really becomes powerful when properly handling events, especially in the context of using event handlers to trigger change in separate modules. … It’s helping me improve the maintainability and overall quality of the code I’m writing.” - Mike Tiemey

Backbone.Marionette.js: A Gentle Introduction

Build a Marionette.js app, one step at a time
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If you're interested in getting the latest and greatest in Marionette, help by making a book on v3 a reality here.

I might be writing a new book covering v3. I don't know whether there will be enough interest to warrant it, or when it will be ready, so you'll probably still want to pick this one up: current readers will get a major discount on the new book when it ships.

The book is up to date for Marionette 2.3. In addition, you also receive the book covering Marionette 1.7.4.

Given the popularity of the short tutorials on Marionette.js I've published on my blog, I've decided to write a book on Marionette.js. The style is the same as in my tutorials: explaining concepts step by step, so you fully understand what is going on, and why we're doing it. This book has great feedback, including Marionette.js' creator (Derick Bailey):

Seriously, why haven’t you bought [this book] yet?

— Backbone.Marionette (@marionettejs)May 29, 2013

And from Derick's foreword:

This is the book that I wanted to write, but never had time to write. It is a complete and thorough introduction to building scalable applications with Marionette.js. Better still, it advocates and demonstrates the same patterns and principles that I use in my own applications. You owe it to yourself to work through all of the exercises in this book, even if you are a seasoned Backbone and Marionette developer. David has done a wonderful job of breaking down the architecture of large Marionette applications, lighting the path for each step of the journey.

I've worked really hard to make this a great resource for learning Marionette the "right" way, even for total beginners: you'll gradually discover Marionette components, along with when/why to use them, and how to structure/refactor your code so it stays manageable even for large applications. After you've made it through the book, you'll be comfortable writing a Marionette application on your own.

Exercises covering the basic concepts are included (with solutions), so you can check for yourself if you've properly understood the functionality that was covered in a given chapter.

Grab your own copy today!

What You'll Learn

How to build this application step by step, including:

  • Structuring your large apps with modules to manage complexity
  • Using regions and layouts to segment your displays and make them manageable
  • Managing forms, along with error display
  • Handling data latency and displaying loading views
  • Filtering collections and updating views, matching URL fragments to filtering criteria
  • Extending the Marionette framework to clean up your code and make your life easier
  • Using mixins to add common functionality to objects
  • Defining your own view classes to extend from, sharing common behavior
  • Implementing Backbone routing properly
  • Swapping sub-applications
  • Managing menu entries with non-persisted models

And much more! All of this will be covered step by step so you fully understand how and why code is being added, removed, or refactored.

Who This Book is For

This book is for web developers who want to learn how to be able to build highly interactive javascript applications. It will cover using Backbone.Marionette.js to achieve that goal, and will empower you to build your own applications by understanding how Marionette apps are built.


All you'll need to follow along is a basic understanding of javascript and the DOM (Document Object Model), such as being able to manipulate elements on the page using a jQuery selector. In other words, if you've used a few jQuery libraries here and there, you should be able to follow along just fine. You can also take a look at the book sample to see if the instructional style works for you, or check out this review from a back end developer.

Advanced readers

You already have a few Backbone apps under your belt, and want to efficiently learn how Marionette will make you more productive when building Backbone apps. In addition, it's written in an easy-to-follow style (with code listings, screenshots, etc.) so you won't need to be next to a computer if you're familiar with building plain Backbone apps. This book is also a great choice if you're comparing javascript frameworks for a new project: you can just read along to understand how a Marionette application is developed, and decide if the framework fits your needs.

What Readers Are Saying

I've included some sample reader feedback below, but if you need more convincing take a look at the feedback page.

[...] Back in my commercial programming days, I went on lots of courses and they always asked you at the end whether the course would help you in your day to day work. Largely they were of some help but with David’s book I can wholeheartedly say it was an immense help. Pitched at the perfect level it took a grisly middleware digital plumber out of his binary cave and into the vast open plains of the client landscape. I thoroughly enjoyed it! -- Alistair Young

This book has been invaluable in helping me ramp up my knowledge of developing modern single-page applications. I wish I had found it a few months ago, instead of wasting so much time with short-and-simplistic tutorials that don't help much when you are trying to build a larger application. -- leonardocsouza

Best tutorial book I've ever read on *any* programming subject, never mind one as complicated as this. Thanks for an amazing book. -- Mike Brady

Really great introduction, and nice overview of what is possible architecturally when using backbone. The way David gradually builds up his app is great, and helps drive home conceptually what is going on well. Well worth buying if you are thinking about using Backbone! -- alpower

This was an awesome book for getting started with Marionette. [...] The best part about this book is that it walks you through the concepts starting from small bite size chunks.. slowly refactoring to an elegant system. David, I hope you continue to write books on this subject, you have an awesome style! I give this book 10/10. -- Kirk Quesnelle

Just the right balance of telling you the answers and encouraging you to think for yourself. [...] After an afternoon with this book, I an confident that I will be able to build a solid, maintainable single page application. -- Bastidias

Derick Bailey and Jeremy Ashkenas are giants, and David Sulc is the escalator to their shoulders. I have read both of David's Marionette books at least 3 times. If you have wandered down the the JS rabbit hole this far and found Marionette, this is the tour guide you need to get it right. -- Chet Harrison

Made me realise what I was doing wrong and the proper way to do things. -- marconijr

I'm very glad I bought this book, I only wish I'd bought it sooner - it would have saved me weeks. David does a great job explaining how to use Marionette, and also why you should use it in one way or another. [...] I find that this is a book I keep coming back to for clean ways to architect my own code. The end result for me? I have taken a hideous, inflexible and inefficient survey application and made it pretty and easy and fast. Happy times. -- Christo Fogelberg

New to Backbone and far from a JS expert. This book was great for someone like me - not overwhelming and really helpful to conceptualize the framework. -- keeper2597

I had no experience in web development and had to develop a fairly complex complex single page app. [...] This book has helped me to develop a well-structured, easy to maintain and extendable app in no time. I can't wait to read your more advanced book on Marionette. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in single page apps development. -- Alberto M Valdunciel

Really great introduction, David. I'm an experience Backbone developer (a couple large apps under my belt), but I was having trouble seeing how all the Marionette pieces fit together. Your introduction connected the dots in a very intuitive way. -- Scott Riding

Great book. Ordered it because we started building a complex frontend application with Backbone Marionette but didnt have proper understanding of it. Now everything is clear, we are having insane speed developing the application. Planning to write a blog post about how to learn Backbone Marionette, I'm 100% sure that this book will be mentioned among the first ones. -- Blacksonic

David's writing style makes it seem like you have a super-calm coach in the room with you. Highly recommended. -- Adrian Goins

Structuring Backbone Code with RequireJS and Marionette Modules

Learn to use javascript AMD in your apps the easy way
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The book is up to date for Marionette 2.3. In addition, you also receive the book covering Marionette 1.7.4.

Due to popular demand from my well-received previous book on Marionette (Backbone.Marionette.js: A Gentle Introduction), I've taken the Contact Manager application developed in that book and rebuilt it using RequireJS to load dependencies. It has great feedback so far, and I hope you'll like it, too!

Who This Book is For

Essentially, this book is written as a sequel of sorts to my first book. If you want to learn about using RequireJS and AMD (Asynchronous Module Definition) to use in your own applications, you should be fine following along provided you're comfortable with Marionette and its modules, as well as the Contact Manager application (see its source code). In other words, this book does not cover how to develop a Marionette application, only how to use RequireJS to manage dependencies and optimization/minification. If you want to learn how to create a Marionette application, refer to my Backbone.Marionette.js: A Gentle Introduction book.

What You'll Learn

Rebuilding the existing Contact Manager application, but using RequireJS to load all dependencies (other modules, libraries, templates, etc.). Common errors and their likely cause will be discussed, so you can debug your own projects more easily. Running the r.js optimizer to generate a single, minified js file will be demonstrated. In addition, you will actually understand and learn how to "think AMD" and how to apply that mindset to your own projects.

Starting/stopping sub-applications to improve performance will be demonstrated, as well as loading libraries from a CDN, with a local fallback.

Although this book is focused on using RequireJS with Backbone and Marionette, once you're done with it you should be able to use RequireJS in other projects. This is because the book emphasizes the logic behind the implementation, and once you've understood how to use shims and load dependencies, applying this knowledge to your own projects should be straightforward.

How This Book is Structured

This book's goal is to make you independent and productive using RequireJS. As such, only the first chapter is written as a step-by-step guide. Subsequent chapters will be structured as exercises (with step-by-step solutions): each chapter will introduce the objective (e.g. implementing a new module), will point out various things to keep in mind (required libraries, dependencies, etc.), and will explain new concepts you'll need to use in the chapter.

After that, you're on your own: you will implement the new module by yourself. Of course, if at any time you get stuck, you can continue reading the chapter and you will see the step-by-step implementation explaining how the new module is implemented.

What Readers Are Saying

I've included some sample reader feedback below, but if you need more convincing take a look at the feedback page.

This book builds nicely on David's "Gentle Introduction". In my case I had used RequireJS and then needed to retrofit Marionette modules to my code, so the flow described in the book itself wasn't directly useful to me, however seeing how David had married the two was very useful. The initial material on best practice require.js configuration and the broader discussion on Marionette modules versus Require JS modules were also good. As I continue to work on my code I find myself flicking back through the book regularly to see how he has approached similar problems. -- Christo Fogelberg

I have read both of Sulc's books 3 times. I've spent the last 3 years in Objective-c land, so diving back in to JS has required a little brush up. He has provided me with a fantastic foundation. If you have wandered down the JS rabbit hole and found Marionette and company you are definitely in the deep end. But come on in the water is fine. I haven't had this much fun writing code in my life. Well done David! -- Chet Harrison

Structuring Backbone Code with RequireJS and Marionette Modules was a natural progression after reading David's first book on Marionette and very worthwhile. Being already comfortable with RequireJS I was more interested in how Marionette modules were tied in and these were explained really well. He explains the concepts clearly and makes weaving these two libraries together quite easy. -- Mark Coleman

This is another great book of yours that helped me a lot to get my head around Backbone + Marionette + RequireJS. And it came at a vary good time - just when I got into trouble while adding RequireJS to my Marionette project. -- Mickey Vashchinsky

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