small medium large xlarge

Hands-on Backbone.js and PragPub Magazine

August 01, 2012

Welcome to the month of August, or as it used to be called, Sextilis (it being the sixth month on the calendar at the time). We’ve got a new screencast series and this month’s magazine for you.

Backbone.js. If you need to know it, learn from an expert who can show you how. Derick Bailey is your man, and in this series of screencast episodes, he’ll get you up and running.

Did you know that Augustus Caesar’s real name was Octavius? For other tidbits you may not know, check out this month’s issue of PragPub magazine.

And don’t forget, in addition to synching via Dropbox (see our FAQ), which we’ve had for a while, you can now also send your epub to Readmill, for social highlighting and sharing.

Read on for details and links.

Hands-on Backbone.js

Backbone.js is a hot topic these days, and with good reason. It powers some of the web’s most well-known applications including the LinkedIn mobile app, the Wal-Mart mobile app, rdio’s music player for both the web and their desktop clients, the Disqus commenting widget and much, much more. This little library of simple abstractions has helped to create a new generation of interactive and rich applications for the web, and it’s time for you to learn it.

But this isn’t marketing material to try and sell you on why you should use Backbone instead of Ember, Angular, Batman (yes, there’s a JavaScript MVC framework called Batman) or anything else. This is a hands-on, down and dirty, straight-to-the-point walkthrough of all of the core components of Backbone. It will show you the fundamentals of creating single page applications in one of today’s most powerful JavaScript libraries. It will get you up to speed on how to use all of the components of Backbone, alongside your own JavaScript code, to create a rich and interactive image gallery application. And it will show you many of the common pitfalls and errors that you’ll run into, and how to avoid and correct for those problems.

In this four-part screencast series, Backbone.js expert Derick Bailey will walk you through a hands-on introduction to building an image gallery application with Backbone, from the ground up. You’ll learn how to take an existing HTML form and jQuery code base, and migrate that into a Backbone view. You’ll use models and collections to store the image information entered into the form, and display a list of images to choose from and view. You’ll build an image viewer from a list, and see how to take advantage of the browser’s forward and back buttons with routers. Server persistence of image data will let the application reload from where the user left off, and common error scenarios will be handled.

Screencast series now available from

August PragPub Magazine

“Sometimes when you ask questions but don’t get answers, it means nobody knows the answers. At other times, though, it means nobody wants to be seen answering the questions. On this project, it was some of both.”

That’s Michael Nygard, back in this issue of PragPub with another tale of terror from the ops side. This time he shares his experience on a very big website project that went south very badly. He details the rapid response actions he took and does a post mortem on why it all went so badly and how it could have been avoided.

Also in this issue, we’re responding to a reader request for an article on “functional programming for the imperative mind.” We have two articles, in fact, because not everyone will be starting from the same place. One is about getting your feet wet in the functional programming pool, by Michael Bevilacqua-Linn. The other is a deep dive into functional programming emphasizing Haskell, by Paul Callaghan. Paul’s article kicks off a series on Haskell that will open your eyes about Haskell’s pristinely functional paradigm and about functional programming in general.

PragPub’s editor has another computer history essay in the issue, this time reflecting on the legacy (so far!) of Ted Nelson, who more or less invented the Web before the Web. Only better.

Venkat Subramaniam is here, too, wrapping up his 12-issue series on the Scala language. This installment is all about concurrency.

And as usual we have a quirky column by our own John Shade, the events calendar, and a few other Choice Bits.

Now available, free to read and share, from

Tried Dwolla Yet?

We are very proud to announce that we now accept Dwolla payments for U.S. orders. Dwolla is a new payment network that promises a cheaper, safer, and overall better payment experience than other internet payment options.

Don’t Get Left Out

Are your friends jealous that you get these spiffy email newsletters and they don’t? Clue them in that all they need to do is create an account on (email address and password is all it takes) and select the checkbox to receive newsletters.

Are you following us on Twitter and/or Facebook? Here’s where you can find us and keep up with the latest news and commentary:

Coming Soon:

  • Cucumber Recipes: Automate Anything with BDD Tools and Techniques in beta
  • Raspberry Pi Pragmatic exPress
  • Explore It! Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing in beta

Recently Released:

  • Deploying Rails: Automate, Deploy, Scale, Maintain, and Sleep at Night [in print]
  • Deploying with JRuby: Deliver Scalable Web Apps using the JVM [in print]
  • ThoughtWorks Anthology Volume II [in beta]
  • Dart for Hipsters [now available]
  • Thanks for your continued support,

    Dave & Andy

    Books • eBooks • Screencasts • PragPub Magazine