Not so long ago, data-rich web application was an oxymoron. Today, these applications are everywhere, and you need to know how to build them.
Think of the Ajax shopping cart, which doesn’t require a refresh on the page when you add an item to your basket. Initially, jQuery was the go-to library for this paradigm. Its nature was to make Ajax requests, then update text on the page and so on. However, this pattern with jQuery revealed that we have implicit model data on the client side.
The rise of arbitrary code on the client side that can talk to the server however it sees fit has meant an increase in client-side complexity. Good architecture on the client side has gone from an afterthought to essential—you can’t just hack together some jQuery code and expect it to scale as your application grows. Most likely, you would end up with a nightmarish tangle of UI callbacks entwined with business logic, destined to be discarded by the poor soul who inherits your code.
We’ll begin with the fundamentals, work our way through the exercises, and learn how to build an application that is both cleanly organized and maintainable. If you are a developer looking to write code that can be more easily read, structured, and extended, this guide can help you.
Improving developer education is important to me, which is why this book is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. This means you can purchase or grab a copy of the book for free or help to further improve it. Corrections to existing material are always welcome, and I hope that together we can provide the community with an up-to-date resource that is of help.
My extended thanks go out to Jeremy Ashkenas and DocumentCloud for creating Backbone.js and several members of the community for their assistance making this project far better than I could have imagined.
None of this work would have been possible without the time and effort invested by the other developers and authors in the community who helped contribute to it. I would like to extend my thanks to:
as well as our other excellent contributors who made this project possible.
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I am indebted to the technical reviewers whose fantastic work helped improve this book. Their knowledge, energy, and passion have helped shape it into a better learning resource, and they continue to serve as a source of inspiration. Thanks go out to:
I would also like to thank my loving family for their patience and support while I worked on this book, as well as my brilliant editor, Mary Treseler.