Employee Directory Sample App with Backbone.js and jQuery Mobile

Here is a mobile version of my Backbone.js Employee Directory application using jQuery Mobile as the UI toolkit.

As described in my previous post, jQuery Mobile was (at least initially) intended as a full-stack framework as opposed to a pure UI toolkit like Twitter Bootstrap. As such, it overlaps with the Backbone.js infrastructure in some areas. In particular, the URL routing feature provided by both frameworks may clash. The approach used here is to disable the routing and navigation capabilities of jQuery Mobile, and essentially use it as a pure UI framework on top of Backbone.js. This approach and its caveats are described in my previous post.

Click here to run the application.

A Backbone.js + Twitter Bootstrap version of this application is available here.

Source Code

I updated the backbone-directory GitHub repository to include this version: It is available in the jquerymobile directory while the Twitter Bootstrap version is available in the web directory.

  • Hi Chrisophe

    Thanks for the great articles.

    I wondered if you had a chance to look at knockout.js and how it compares to backbone? I would be very interested in seeing how you feel it compares.


  • I’ve a similar question, how does Backbone compare to Spine.js ?

    • There is problem for running the application after done all the connection, and while running the application it looks only in heading tag as Welcome to Backbone Wine Cellar.. This is confusing me, Java tech not my style.. Thanks for support please.

  • Zohar

    Hi Christophe
    Great article, and blog, alas…
    I have just cloned the git repo, and tried using it, it returns blank page and FF fire bug reports exception ‘a.replace is not a function’. can you help?

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  • You are the Man…

    Keep up the good work

  • Somuraja

    I created the mobile site using EmployeeDirectoryJQM. Using this i can call the external html file, but now i cant call the page internally using this concept. Is this possible to call the page internally? If it is then give me one sample.

    Thanks in advance

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  • Ken

    I tried this app from the jquerymobile directory modifying the PHP to get the data from Oracle XE 11g and modifying the templates to change the attributes in to upper case as that is how it gets returned from Oracle. This worked out well for the employee list but, when I click on an employee in the list, it seems like the model created for the employee selected does not get populated. Using Moz FireFox, in the console I can see the GET and look at the JSON response and I can see the data from the employee that I selected from the list. So I’m not sure why the model for the selected employee is not getting populated. I also put in default values for the Employee model just to make sure that something would render for the employee details and yes, the default values show up in the employee details. I am at a loss, can someone help?

    • Ken

      OK…finally figured it out. For anyone that is using Oracle as the database backend, here’s what I found. (1) attribute names returned by a Oracle query are in uppercase so any reference to data attributes in a backbone.js model also need to be in uppercase. Also backbone defaults the idAttribute to “id” and in the Employee Directory example you need to set that property to “ID”. (2) in the .html templates, you need to change the data attribute references to uppercase so they match the output from the Oracle query that gets memorialized in the JSON encoded string that is returned by the PHP code. (3) in the PHP, change it from using PDO to OCI as PDO for Oracle is still experimental per the PHP documentation and I found it does not work as expeced and OCI works. (4) in main.js there is a call to employee.fetch which in turn calls the PHP function getEmployee. I initially used oci_fetch_all and what happens is the single row of data gets return in a 2 dimension array and as such the json_encode function will encode a JSON string surrounded by square brackets. This does not store into the employee model properly. What I did was use oci_fetch_array($stmt, OCI_ASSOC); and that encoded to a JSON string without the square brackets and the results are then stored in the employee model properly.

      Thanks Christophe for a great BLOG! You’re the greatest :-)

      • Hey buddy. You mentioned the solution to get this working with ORACLE as the backend. I couldn’t fully understand what you said and I keep getting SLIM errors. I just got OCI to work but I don’t know exactly how to change it from PDO to OCI. I just kept getting errors on the functions in the php code. Any help on this is greatly appreciated!

        Thanks Ken for the amazing post and thanks Christophe for the amazing blog and for this amazing resource!

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  • Alfredo Lin

    Great article on how to utilize both backbone.js and jquery mobile. Is there a way to keep a jquery mobile render NavBar persistent fixed on top while the content within switch/slide? Thanks!

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  • Harish kumar

    I used your iphone application and when i hosted it on my server to run it from my iphone mobile ,
    when i open the 1st search page and search for “K” it shows me 2 records when i delete the “K” from search box then it shows me more then 10 on my phone but after that to see the last record the Page scroll is not working ,
    Is this any kind of bug in your application? because i am not able to scroll down to see the last record.

    • Harish kumar

      Sorry For my last post,
      I am using the Android phone’s inbuild browser ,
      In my iphone the “APPLICATION IS WORKING FINE” :) , but in my android the page scrolling is not working , May you tell me the problem , why your iphone app is not working properly on android device.

      • user1

        Hi Christophe,

        Thanks for the article.

        I have a requirement to set up Employee directory application using xcode. would you please provide me useful links which I can go through ?

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  • Eric Smith

    Thanks for building this and explaining everything so well. The routing system you’ve put together is top-notch and is helping me very much with a project.

    I had a question regarding the backbone/jquery mobile version. When the back button is clicked, the slide transition slides in the same direction as other transitions. Is it possible to make the back button trigger a reverse transition using this method, so it slides in the opposite direction? As it is not using jquery-mobile routing, adding data-transition=”reverse” to the back button appears to have no effect.

  • Hi,
    thanks for this very interesting article.
    I have tried to developp my own mobile site using your sample, based on the same principle, and it works fine. The only problem I have is when i try to refresh a page, i loose the style and content of the page, and the loading never ends.
    My mobile site is at http://m.webresa.fr
    Can you help me and tell me what is wrong ?

    I thank you in advance


  • user1

    Hi Christophe,

    Thanks for the article.

    I have a requirement to set up Employee directory application using xcode. would you please provide me useful links which I can go through ?

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  • Hey, this article and code really helped me getting started, thanks!

    I have a question. In the “render” method of the”window.EmployeeListView” view, why do we have to call:
    instead of

    I thought they were supposed to be the same.


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  • Rafał


    I am using your cool code as a base for my web app and have stubmled upon the following case:

    when using jQuery 10.1, the following code:

    $(‘div[data-role=”page”]’).live(‘pagehide’, function(event, ui) {

    triggers the following error message: (On Firefox, Safari, NOT mobile!)

    TypeError: $(…).live is not a function

    It seems that the div with the data-role does not actually (yet exist) at that point. Do you think it can affect the flow as far as mobile development is concerned?

    After I commented this code, everything seems to work fine (so far).



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