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Working through Developing Backbone.js Applications

A mini-diary

Before I get completely seduced by Angular.JS and others equally as sweet for use on an upcoming and very important web app project, I really need to give Backbone.js another chance, a fair chance. Nothing could provide this with better timing than the publication now of the completed Developing Backbone Applications, by Addy Osmani. The book signifies a big change, in that it is simpler to dive into Backbone.js, and you can do it with more confidence since you are being shown a path following best practices.

Here's the rub: Backbone.js is “not opinionated, meaning you have the freedom and flexibility to build the best experience for your web application however you see fit. You can either use the prescribed architecture it offers out of the box or extend it to meet your requirements.”

Diving into Lift with updated Lift in Action project (chapter 3)

Chapter 3 of Lift in Action is interesting because it reveals the elegance and simplicity of Lift's View-Snippet-Model and templating system, actually showing how one would approach a workflow, from View First design and designer deliverables to template nesting and menu building, and from application requirements to business object modeling. In the midst of all this, the active record-like Mapper "ORM" is presented in quite useful fashion. You can find the code (in my repo, which is fully compatible with Lift 2.5 and sbt 0.12) here (at Tag "chapter03"): https://github.com/victorkane/LiftInActionAuctionApp/tree/chapter03

For development, it is quite common to use the built in H2 database engine, and this is no exception. So while it's very cool I don't have to start installing "stacks" of base software just to run the code, how do I get to visualize the database, as I would with, say, Phpmyadmin for MySql? The Lift community continues to impress in this case by conveniently documenting two ways:

Diving into Lift with updated Lift in Action project (chapter 2)

Here's what I did to get the Lift in Action tutorial auction application dev'ed up and running with Lift 2.5 and sbt 0.12.1:

[Edit: Since I started on this over the last couple of days, my work has been made considerably easier by the timely publication of Instant Lift Web Applications by Torsten Uhlmann. Congratulations on this up-to-date and pithy masterpiece! In any case I want to persevere on this front too.]

Scala powered Lift web framework - Eclipse, Scala IDE, latest versions of everything Jan 2013

I'm searching for a rock solid, performant and scalable framework for my new venture Linguathon, as I said in my last article. Hey, instead of server side javascript, why not server side Java? Or Scala? Wicket? Why not Lift?

Why not indeed! Considering that I spent many years working with the Spring framework (plain old Java objects) on desktop apps years ago, as a lightweight alternative to Enterprise Java, things might start looking quite powerful and familiar, and yet streamlined and better. Things might calm down a little and I might get a productive, solid environment to rock on!

So I'm documenting how I got up and running now with the latest versions of Lift and the Scala IDE for Eclipse, etc., on a souped up MacBook Air, it's pretty sui generis but it might help someone, certainly myself if I come back to things after a stint at something else.

Wandering in the desert of plenty: An architect in search of an application architecture

I need to adopt a javascript dev and deploy stack as framework for my new venture Linguathon. I'm delighted about this project because it brings together language teaching and web app worlds, something I've postponed for decades. So I need to adopt a javascript MV* framework to give me a solid, sound, yet flexible foundation. I have been studying Addy Osmani's Developing Backbone.js Applications (also see the fascinating work in progress mirror http://addyosmani.github.com/backbone-fundamentals/ ), and "What we know now" (as Steve Blank is fond of saying... BTW I'm taking his free online lean startup course and reading his book; don't want to make all the same mistakes all over again :) ) is that I at least don't have the time or even the stupidity to build everything from scratch using a bare bones, self-made, untried and tested by the community dev and deploy stack.

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