Chapter 14. Brisket

Brisket is an isomorphic JavaScript framework built on top of Backbone.js. Brisket was developed by my team, the Consumer Web team at Bloomberg LP. It was published in Bloomberg’s organization on GitHub on October 2, 2014 under the Apache 2 open source license.

My team engineered Brisket with three guiding principles:

  • Code freedom
  • Consistent API across environments
  • Stay out of the way of progress

Before diving deeper into Brisket, why did we build it?

The Problem

Like most frameworks, Brisket was born out of a product need. In late 2013, my team was tasked with relaunching’s opinion section as a new digital media product, The product team and designers had ambitious goals for the new site:

  • Infinite scroll
  • Pop-over lightboxed articles
  • Responsive design (mobile first)
  • Feels fast
  • Great for SEO

We had 4 engineers and 3 months (12 weeks).

At the time, my team had only built traditional sites—server-side rendered pages with a mashup of client-side (in the browser) code to handle interactivity. A good example of a traditional website is We used Ruby on Rails for our server-side rendering, and a combination of jQuery, some Backbone.js, and vanilla JavaScript for our client-side code. We built only traditional sites because they are great for quickly rendering pages on the server and provide strong SEO.

Fast page rendering is critical to a digital media product’s success because media content is a fairly elastic ...

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