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Common Marionette Concepts

This document covers the basic usage patterns and concepts across Marionette. This includes things like calling conventions, setting attributes, common option patterns etc.

Documentation Index

Class-based Inheritance

Backbone and Marionette utilize the _.extend function to simulate class-based inheritance. All built-in classes, such as Marionette.View, Marionette.Object and everything that extend these provide an extend method for just this purpose.

In the example below, we create a new pseudo-class called MyView:

var Mn = require('backbone.marionette');

var MyView = Mn.View.extend({});

You can now create instances of MyView with JavaScript's new keyword:

var view = new MyView();

Value Attributes

When we extend classes, we can provide class attributes with specific values by defining them in the object we pass as the extend parameter:

var Mn = require('backbone.marionette');

var MyView = Mn.View.extend({
  className: 'bg-success',

  template: '#template-identifier',

  regions: {
    myRegion: '.my-region'
  },

  modelEvents: {
    change: 'removeBackground'
  },

  removeBackground: function() {
    this.$el.removeClass('bg-success');
  }
});

Live example

When we instantiate MyView, each instance will be given a .bg-success class with a myRegion region created on the .my-region element.

Functions Returning Values

In almost every instance where we can set a value, we can also assign a function to figure out the value at runtime. In this case, Marionette will run the function on instantiation and use the returned value:

var Mn = require('backbone.marionette');

var MyView = Mn.View.extend({
  className: function() {
    return this.model.successful() ? 'bg-success' : 'bg-error';
  },

  template: '#template-identifier',

  regions: function() {
    return {
      myRegion: '.my-region'
    };
  },

  modelEvents: function() {
    var wasSuccessful = this.model.successful();
    return {
      change: wasSuccessful ? 'removeBackground' : 'alert'
    };
  },

  removeBackground: function() {
    this.$el.removeClass('bg-success');
  },

  alert: function() {
    console.log('model changed');
  }
});

Live example

As we can see, almost all of the attributes here can be worked out dynamically. In most cases, Marionette will call the function once at instantiation, or first render, and preserve the value throughout the lifetime of the View. There are some exceptions to this rule - these will be referred to with their respective documentation.

Function Context

When using functions to set attributes, Marionette will assign the instance of your new class as this. You can use this feature to ensure you're able to access your object in cases where this isn't what you might expect it to be. For example, the value or result of templateContext is bound to its data object so using a function is the only way to access the view's context directly.

Binding Attributes on Instantiation

In Marionette, most attributes can be bound on class instantiation in addition to being set when the class is defined. You can use this to bind events, triggers, models, and collections at runtime:

var Mn = require('backbone.marionette');

var MyView = Mn.View.extend({
  template: '#template-identifier'
});

var myView = new MyView({
  triggers: {
    'click a': 'show:link'
  }
});

This will set a trigger called show:link that will be fired whenever the user clicks an <a> inside the view.

Options set here will override options set on class definition. So, for example:

var Mn = require('backbone.marionette');

var MyView = Mn.View.extend({
  template: '#template-identifier',

  triggers: {
    'click @ui.save': 'save:form'
  }
});

var myView = new MyView({
  triggers: {
    'click a': 'show:link'
  }
});

In this example, the trigger for safe:form will no longer be fired, as the trigger for show:link completely overrides it.

Setting Options

Marionette can set options when you instantiate a class. This lets you override many class-based attributes when you need to. You can also pass new information specific to the object in question that it can access through special helper methods.

var Mn = require('backbone.marionette');

var MyView = Mn.View.extend({
  checkOption: function() {
    console.log(this.getOption('foo'));
  }
});

var view = new MyView({
  foo: 'some text'
});

console.log(view.checkOption());  // prints 'some text'

Live example

The getOption Method

To access an option, we use the getOption method. getOption will fall back to the value defined on the instance of the same name if not defined in the options.

var Mn = require('backbone.marionette');

var MyView = Mn.View.extend({
  className: function() {
    var defaultClass = this.getOption('defaultClass');
    var extraClasses = this.getOption('extraClasses');
    return [defaultClass, extraClasses].join(' ');
  },
  defaultClass: 'table'
});

var myView = new MyView({
  model: new MyModel(),
  extraClasses: 'table-striped'
});

Live example

The mergeOptions Method

The mergeOptions method takes two arguments: an options object and keys to pull from the options object. Any matching keys will be merged onto the class instance. For example:

var Bb = require('backbone');
var Mn = require('backbone.marionette');

var MyObject = Mn.Object.extend({
  initialize: function(options) {
    this.mergeOptions(options, ['model', 'something']);
    // this.model and this.something will now be available
  }
});

var myObject = new MyObject({
  model: new Backbone.Model(),
  something: 'test',
  another: 'value'
});

console.log(myObject.model);
console.log(myObject.something);
console.log(myObject.getOption('another'));

Live example

In this example, model and something are directly available on the MyObject instance, while another must be accessed via getOption. This is handy when you want to add extra keys that will be used heavily throughout the defined class.

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