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Persistant backbone storage through dnode pub/sub

Backbone DNode

Backbone-DNode is a server to client integration package for use with, you guessed it, Backbone and DNode. The package brovides both node.js server side code for CRUD and Pubsub routines, as well as the matching client (or server) side routines.

The idea is to make writing a real-time Backbone application as simple as possible, the app is supported on the server side by using the Mongoose ORM for final validation and persistence.


The project can be installed via NPM, or by cloning this repo into your project.

npm install backbone-dnode


git clone git://

Server usage

Whip up a server and attatch DNode, while using the backbone-dnode methods as middleware.

var express = require('express')
  , DNode = require('dnode')
  , BackboneDNode = require('backbone-dnode')
  , server = express.createServer()

Simply allow the package to be served through your express static if you have included the package via npm. Serving up the client side script can also be done via browserify, but that is entirely up to you, as this can be done many ways, and I generally prefer to bundle all client-side javascript into a single minifified file.

server.use(express.static(__dirname + '/node_modules/backbone-dnode/browser'))

Register your Mongoose schemas, and then pass the database instance to the CRUD configuration. At least one mongoose schema must be registered to use the CRUD routines.

var Mongoose = require('mongoose')
  , Schema = mongoose.Schema
Foo = new Schema({
  bar: { type: String, index: true }
db = Mongoose.connect('mongodb://localhost/db')

(Optional) Configure the Redis connection if you would like to use Redis as the pubsub mechanics. This will allow you to use other libraries such as Cluster, letting Redis act as the message queue. If you don't use redis, the package will default to a single-threaded mode, which will work fine so long as you don't have multiple instances of node running.

var redis = require('redis')
  , pub = redis.createClient()
  , sub = redis.createClient()

Start the node server, and attach the backbone-dnode middleware to the DNode instance.

    publish: pub
  , subscribe: sub 
    database: db

Client usage

Simply include the client-side part of the package onto the page, which may differ depending on how you serve up your static content.

<script src="/dnode.js"></script>
<script src="/dnode.backbone.js"></script>

The package will need to be configured as well, allowing it to be used as DNode middleware, if you wish to use the pubsub methods of the package, enable it, as it is not used by default. This will broadcast all changes to any models to anyone else connected, otherwise, it will only call back to the current client, and use the default Backbone success methods.

    pubsub: true

To connect to node.js and mongoose from the browser (or on the server), a model type for mongoose must be specified, as well as overriding the sync method on each model, an underscore mixin has been created to provide optional support based on the model, in case you have different persistant support in mind.

foo = Backbone.Model.extend({
  type: 'room'
, sync: _.sync

Now create the collection, the attributes are set on both the model and collection to ensure that they will both use the same persistance, even if a model is created outside of the collection.

FooCollection = Backbone.Collection.extend({
  url: 'foos'
, type: 'foo'
, sync: _.sync
, model: Foo

You can also override the sync method globally, by overriding the default Backbone.sync method

Backbone.sync = _.sync

Once the middleware has been established, and a model has been set to use it (or if as been overridden globally), the default Backbone methods will automatically send the changes through the socket (dnode), where they will be mapped to the corresponding Mongoose schema, and then published to the connected clients that have been subscribed to the model or collection's URL.

var options = {}
  , foos = new FooCollection()
foos.subscribe(options, function() {
    finished: function(model, resp, options) {
      // The server has responded with the fetched data,  
      // and has added to the collection 
  , error: function(model, resp, options) {
      // Something went wrong, the server has responded with  
      // an error code for client side handling 

When the subscribe method has returned, you are now able to use all of the default Backbone model methods and have them interact with the server. When using any of the Backbone fetch, save, create, or delete methods, a callback function will be used when the server responds, and a finished method will be executed when the middleware is done with the Backbone integration methods. Can optionally pass in an error method that will be triggered if anything goes wrong on the server side. Think of finished as the Backbone success callback when normally using these methods, the name is changed to avoid conflicts.

    bar : 'something'

Backbone.fetch() has been overloaded to accept a query and sorting argument, which will be directly used on the server against the Mongoose ORM. The default behavior for passing in silent:true or add:true will still be used.

  query: { bar : 'something' }
, sorting: { sort: [['created',-1]], limit: 20 }