In other words, Backbone.js and Twitter Bootstrap focus on different areas of your application: core architecture and user interface respectively. Because of their well-defined and non-overlapping scope, Backbone.js and Twitter Bootstrap work well together. In general, I find a lightweight architectural framework and a UI toolkit to be a powerful combination, and an interesting alternative to full-stack frameworks: it gives you the flexibility to choose the library you like (if any) in the respective areas of your application.
The Sample Application
To give this combination a try, I put together a new sample application that uses Backbone.js to organize the code, and Twitter Bootstrap to organize the UI. The application is an Employee Directory that allows you to look for employees by name, view the details of an employee, and navigate up and down the Org Chart by clicking the employee’s manager or any of his/her direct reports.
You can run the application here.
Backbone Directory is a single page application: index.html is essentially empty. Views are injected into and removed from the DOM as needed. Even though it is a single page application, the Backbone.js Router makes it easy to keep the different states of the app “bookmarkable” and “deep-linkable”.
Twitter Bootstrap highlights
“Backbone Directory” uses a number of the Twitter Bootstrap styles, components, and interactions: the 12-column grid with nested columns, a “Navbar”, a “Search Form” with dropdown, the dropdown plugin, the Glyphicons icons, Info and Warning alerts, a “Well”, etc.
If you are new to Backbone.js, you may want to start with the tutorial (part 1, part 2, part 3, and postface) I blogged recently. “Backbone Directory” includes some interesting elements not covered in the tutorial:
- One-to-Many association. A one-to-many (Manager-to-Employees) association is defined in the Employee model (model/employeemodel.js) as a collection of employees (the direct reports). That collection is lazily fetched in the render() function of EmployeeFullView (view/employeedetails.js).
- Composite View. EmployeeFullView (views/employeedetails.js) is an example of a composite view. Its render() function instantiates two subviews: EmployeeView and EmployeeListView (to display the employee’s direct reports).
The source code is available in this repository on GitHub.
Your feedback and comments are appreciated.