What I learned at the Backbone conference 2012

I attended the Backbone conference (pics by Bob Holt)on May 30th and 31st of 2012 in Boston Massachusetts. This was great event that shed light on numerous questions that I had regarding development with Backbone. In this blog, I will summarize all the topics that I learned from this event (if you attended this event and think that I have missed anything, please either add it in the comments or shoot me an email and I will add it):

The event had the following lineup:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 1

Keynote address

Jeremy’s introduction of Backbone was a great way to start the venue. Jeremy took the time to outline the reasons behind the Backbone project, the simplicity of it, its light weight advantage and its extensibility. Here is the presentation by Jeremy:

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It was interesting to witness the battle between EmberJS and BackboneJS. My limited experience in either prevents me from declaring a winner nor should one be declared.

I enjoyed the talk Yehuda gave on his project, Ember.js. I have been following Yehuda ever since he branched this project from Sproutcore and started developing Ember.js.

Being a fan of MV* development, I have used KnockoutJS in the past, will be using Backbone in my next project and will definitely be experimenting with EmberJS in the future.

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How to argue about JavaScript

I really enjoyed this topic and very much appreciate that Andrew decided to talk about this. Being in the development community, I have been disheartened about some of the immature and at times vitriolic discussions online which has resulted in discouraging me to express my opinion at certain times. Andrew pointed out the mistakes of our community quite vividly and took the time to give solutions. I do hope that his talk does not fall on deaf ears.

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MVC Module Magic

Alex coining the term ‘MVWTF’ was priceless. His outline of the app structure which I have been guilty of, was very informative. Making debugging and using require were some points that I will definitely be using in the future.

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At this point it would have been quite easy to roll my eyes and wonder why do we need another MV* framework. However Vojta did a great job presenting and doing some live coding, which in my experience can go awry quite easily, that pointed it out all the aspects of framework. Being a fan of MVC frameworks, I may or may not try this framework in the future (must draw the line somewhere).

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New Dogs, Old Tricks (or DOJO already did that)

I always enjoy Rebecca’s presentations. She has the right mix of information, humor and  getting off track (and getting back on track). I really liked the extension of the Backbone.View resulting in a SuperView. This is an approach that I will be implementing in the future.

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Day 2

Lumbar Support

Brad’s presentation was chock full of various gotchas that were very informative. I especially liked the SupermodelJS that he had created in order to track the model relationships. I have used Backbone relational in the past and will definitely be considering this extension.

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Migrating a Large Project to Backbone

Sam’s experience mirrors the current project that I am starting. I would have loved to sit down and talk further with Sam regarding his experience but alas time did not allow this (Sam if you are reading this, DM me on twitter if you have time to chat).

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Real-World with Realtime

This was certainly the most entertaining presentation of the conference (the song in the middle was quite courageous). I have not had the privilege to work on a real-time app but hopefully in the near future I will have the chance and take advantage of the wisdom given in this presentation.

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Building Robust Backbone Applications: AirBnb’s Journey Into Mobile Web

I wanted to applaud Harrison’s bravery for tackling an endeavor like this and coming through with a great product. To start a mobile project, with such a close deadline and selecting Backbone and Coffeescript while not having experience in any of them was as Harrison mentioned “jumping off a cliff and try to build wings on the way down”. The amazing part is that they did build those wings!!

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Y.App: Coordinating URL Navigation, Routing, and Managing Views

Eric did a great job outlining the difference in performance between full path URLs and hash tag event based URLs. However I don’t think I agree with the need to steer away from hash tag event based URLs. In the single page applications that I have created, this has been an essential  part of the process. His presentation is something that I will have read further on and mull it over.

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The Plight of Pinocchio: JavaScript’s Quest to Become a Real Language

TEST DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT, what a concept!! Implementing this approach is a great idea but at times getting your team members to follow this path has been a feat for the centuries. However it is great to hear that others are beating this drum.

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I had great time at this event and would like to thank Bocoup and all involved in organizing this.