Backbone.Marionette.js: A Gentle Introduction
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Backbone.Marionette.js: A Gentle Introduction

Build a Marionette.js app, one step at a time

About the Book

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

About the Author

David Sulc
David Sulc

I spend most of my time applying technologies to business problems and like many, I acquire new technology skills in a self-taught manner. What I really enjoy is understanding subjects well enough to be able to teach others about them in a straightforward "this makes complete sense" style.

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Table of Contents

  • Foreword from Derick Bailey
  • Cover Credits
  • Who This Book is For
  • Following Along with Git
    • Jumping in for Advanced Readers
  • Setting Up
    • Asset Organization
    • Getting Our Assets
  • Displaying a Static View
    • Dynamically Specifying a View Template
    • Specifying Other View Attributes
    • Implementing Region Management
  • Displaying a Model
    • Using Model Defaults
    • Introducing Events
    • Exercise
  • Displaying a Collection of Models
    • Introducing the CollectionView
    • Listing our Contacts with a CollectionView
    • Sorting a Collection
    • Exercise
  • Structuring Code with Modules
    • Extracting our App Definition
    • Moving Contacts to the Entities Module
    • Creating a Module for the ContactsApp Sub-Application
    • Moving the App Initialization Handler
    • Exercise
    • Dealing with Templates
  • Using a CompositeView
    • Exercise
    • Using Events
    • Exercise
  • Events, Bubbling, and TriggerMethod
    • Communicating via Events
    • Animating the Removed ItemView
    • Exercise
    • Introducing TriggerMethod
  • Displaying Contacts in Dedicated Views
    • Wiring up the Show Event
    • The ContactsApp.Show Sub-Module
  • Implementing Routing
    • How to Think About Routing
    • Adding a Router to ContactsApp
    • Routing Helpers
    • DRYing up Routing with Events
    • Adding a Show Route
    • Exercise
  • Implementing a View for Nonexistent Contacts
  • Dealing with Persisted Data
    • Adding a Location to our Entities
    • Configuring our Entities to use Web Storage
    • Loading our Contacts Collection
    • Loading a Single Contact
    • Deleting a Contact
  • Handling Data Latency
    • Delaying our Contact Fetch
    • Using jQuery Deferreds
    • Displaying a Loading View
    • Exercise
    • Passing Parameters to Views and SerializeData
  • Managing Forms: Editing a Contact
    • Saving the Modified Contact
    • Validating Data
  • Displaying a Modal Window
    • Using jQuery UI
    • Adding the Edit Link
    • Implementing Modal Functionality
    • Handling the Modal Form Data
  • Subdividing Complex Views with Layouts
  • Extending from Base Views
    • Some Cleanup
  • Managing Dialogs with a Dedicated Region
    • Customizing onRender
  • Filtering Contacts
    • Implementing an Empty View
    • Optional Routes and Query Strings
  • The ‘About’ Sub-Application
    • Coding the Sub-App
  • The ‘Header’ Sub-Application
    • Setting up the Models
    • Adding Templates and Views
    • Implementing the Controller and Sub-Application
    • Navigating with the Brand
    • Highlighting the Active Header
    • Handling Menu Clicks
  • Closing Thoughts
    • Keeping in Touch
  • Other Books I’ve Written
  • Bonus Chapter
  • Setting up
    • Deploying
    • Using the Contact Manager Application
    • Adapting the Application
  • Module Architecture
  • Exercise Solutions
    • Displaying a Contact With No Phone Number
    • Sorting a Collection
    • Declaring a Template Sub-Module
    • Building your own CompositeView
    • Displaying the Contents of a Clicked Table Cell
    • Event Bubbling from Child Views
    • Getting Back to the Contacts List
  • Overriding Marionette’s Template Loader
    • Declaring a Template Sub-Module
    • Tackling the Template Loader
    • Specifying our new Template
  • Extending Marionette
  • Using Web Storage for Persistence
    • Implementation Strategy
    • Adding to the Entities Module
    • Proxying the Constructor
    • Using a Mixin with Underscore
    • Determining the Storage Key
    • Using a Storage Cache
    • Calling the Constructor with Apply
  • Creating a FilteredCollection

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