Every once in a while I get around to reading a book. Books are typically nicer than blog posts because they show the whole picture instead of zeroing in on a tidbit. I was contacted by Packt Publishing to do a review of Backbone.js Patterns and Best Practices. I was excited about this book because it had been a while since I read a good book on Backbone and the title gave the impression that it could be insightful to someone at my experience level with Backbone. So, did it live up to my expectations? Yes and No.
This book is not for developers who are new to Backbone… at least that’s what the author of the book says. For the most part this is true, but the author often spends a little too much time on things that I would consider very basic Backbone knowledge. He definitely doesn’t provide an introduction to Backbone, so if you’ve never used Backbone before, you’d have no idea what was going on most of the time.
This book does cover a lot of patterns and best practices that practically every Backbone developer should be aware of, and often points readers to Backbone plugins as solutions for some of the issues that these best practices help prevent. While I have nothing against pointing people to readily-available solutions (why reinvent the wheel, right?), I was looking forward to some more examples of hand-coded solutions in the book so that developers end up having a better understanding of what is going on.
Finally, Backbone.js Patterns and Best Practices certainly does provide introductions to many intermediate and advanced topics related to developing applications with Backbone, but he rarely does much more than an introduction. He either drops a plugin/library on you (as mentioned) or his examples just don’t dive deep enough or provide large enough examples to truly grasp the concepts (and this is coming from a guy who already understood the concepts). I think the one thing that really got the attention that it truly deserved was unit testing and even that had potential to be better.
Overall, it was a good book, but certainly not great, and it didn’t provide as much as I felt the title proclaimed (but people obviously don’t read the same things into titles as me). I expected more advanced material, but this provided what I would consider to be mostly intermediate help for Backbone developers.
- Introduces you to a lot of intermediate level Backbone solutions
- A lot of solutions were covered
- Makes you aware of several great Backbone plugins that can simplify a lot of tasks
- Works great as a follow-up to my Backbone series
- Too much time spent on basic Backbone knowledge
- Moves too quickly to giving a plugin for a solution instead of describing solutions in detail
- Doesn’t dive deep enough into most patterns and best practices
If you’ve gotten through some beginner tutorials for Backbone and are looking to take the next step, this book will at least point you in the right direction, and likely give you some valuable insight into making the jump to intermediate Backbone developer.