Review: “Developing Backbone.JS Applications” by Addy Osmani, O’Reilly Media

Developing Backbone.js ApplicationaThe first half of the book was very good. Osmani introduces the reader to the theory behind Backbone.js, then carefull walks through the development of a simple “To Do” application, providing code (error-free!) and discussion of how newly-introduced code parts integrate with what we’ve already done and what they mean in the Backbone.js environment.

After two courses through the increasingly complex demo application, the book went beyond my level of interest, introducing extensions like Marionette and then covering modularization using Require.js. No doubt those latter parts were as carefully written and reviewed as the first parts, so developers with a deeper interest in the framework shouldn’t take my lack of interest as any sort of criticism.

Osmani comes across as good-natured and certainly knows the material. The code samples work, explanations are thorough without any sort of condescension, and the content is well-organized. A developer with some JavaScript experience can pick things up typing through the code samples – I completed my first (small, but non-trivial) Backbone application with little trouble immediately after completing Osmani’s first two demos.

I did notice in my first solo project that I had little idea how to implement the “model” part of the MV* (as he calls it) framework. Looking back, I saw that the total utilization of that part of the framework in Osman’s first demos totaled a dozen lines of code, mostly setting some defaults. I see that as a shortcoming of the book and is the reason for 4 rather than 5 stars.

This book was provided to me by O’Reilly media in exchange for this review.