Zee Spencer

Breaking Up With Backbone

Dear Backbone,

It's been fun. We've had some incredible times together. But I just don't see us working out.

Don't get me wrong, you have some nice features, your code base is relatively clean, you have good test coverage, and features don't change drastically between releases.

But you don't seem to understand what I want. I mean, yea, I crave a clear separation of concerns between domain, persistance, and presentation layers. I demand a way to keep my html free from javascript (and vice versa). I may even sometimes want a way to play nicely with the browser history as people interact broadly with my app.

But dammit, I don't need something that binds events for me. I don't need something to determine which code to execute based upon which url I happen to be on. I'll be damned if I start treating javascript like a "class inheritance" system when it's prototypical. I sure as hell don't want to throw away what little knowledge I have of javascript to follow one of many competing half baked idioms for javascript application structure.

Maybe I don't get it. Maybe it's me, not you. But let's face it: You don't help me be more productive. That's why I use rails in spite of it's crazy desire to modify base objects, poor architecture, silly ActiveRecord, and absurd routing system. I can go from 0 to app in about 5 minutes with Rails. With you, it is 30~45. Part of it is lack of practice, but part of it is how little you actually do for me. Sure, your persistence layer is fantastic. But your views? Now you're just getting in the way of javascript's event binding! Don't even get me started on routing. If a query variable is part of the URL it breaks? Really?!

I'm burnt out on javascript app frameworks. I think I'll stick with jQuery.

I know it isn't sexy. I know 99% of jQuery plugins are giant pile of poo. I know jQuery doesn't provide me with a reasonable way to separate my concerns. That's why I lean on libraries like lawnchair, pjax, handlebars, and underscore.

They don't make javascript into something else, work well in greenfield or legacy applications, and can be used independently without significantly altering your codebase or workflow.

Without a framework it's up to me to ensure I don't create a big ball of mud. It's up to me to make sure I seperate my concerns. It's up to me to create clean code.

To be honest, that's how I like it.


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