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Trigger routes from multiple routers based on querystring parameters.

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Execute multiple routes per URL change using watches on querystring keys. Drop-in plugin for Backbone; existing routers may remain unchanged, but you gain querystring-based routing via the new queryRoutes property.


Backbone >= 1.1.1


For browsers:

Development Version (~20KB)

Production Version (~5.5KB, ~2.5KB gzipped)

For Node:

npm install backbone.queryrouter

For eyeballs:

Readable Source


Nested model/querystring support:

Development Version (~32KB)

Production Version (~10KB, ~4.0KB gzipped)


Modern web applications have many moving parts, and traditional webapp routing is far too restrictive to deal with real-world apps.

A modern webapp may have many independent bits of serializable state that must be correctly transmitted when a URL is sent to another user. For example, a music app may want to send the current song, position within the song, and location within a browsing window. A search app may want to transmit the current query, selected results, expansion of those results, and user preferences.

It is not always possible to store complex state in localStorage or cookies, if you want to transmit that complex state to other users via a URL. It can very quickly become unwieldy to create massive 'multi-routes', where sections of the URL delegate to subrouters. Every time a new widget with state is added, a new section must be added to the route, and all links updated. There has to be a better way!

Querystrings are a perfect solution to this problem, and with HTML5 pushState, they can easily be used on the client and the server.


To create a router supporting query changes, use the following format:

var QueryAwareRouter = Backbone.Router.extend({
  // Normal routes definition - this is unchanged. 
  // Normal routes are fired before queryRoutes. 
  routes: {
    'books/:bookID': 'viewBook',
    'albums/:songNumber': 'viewSong'
  // QueryRoutes are defined here. They are fired after normal routes. 
  // They are defined in the format: 
  // {String} keys : {String} handlerName 
  queryRoutes: {
    // Here you can specify which keys you want to listen to. 
    // The attached handler will be fired each time any of the keys are  
    // added, removed, or changed. 
    'volume': 'setVolume',
    // To listen to multiple keys, separate them with commas. Whitespace is ignored. 
    'playState, songID' : 'playSong',
    // To use nested properties, see the `Nested Attributes` section below. 
    'object.nestedProperty': 'nestedHandler'
  // Each queryHandler is called with two parameters: 
  // @param {Object} queryObj   Current query object. 
  // @param {Array} changedKeys Array of changed keys that caused this handler to fire. 
  setVolume: function(queryObj, changedKeys) {
    // e.g. if the query is changed to '?songID=foo&volume=100',  
    // `changedKeys = ['volume']` and `queryObj = {songID: 'foo', volume: '100'}` 
    // If you need to get just the changed pairs, use _.pick(queryObj, changedKeys) 
  playSong: function(queryObj, changedKeys) {
    // e.g. if the query is changed to '?songID=foo&volume=100',  
    // `changedKeys = ['songID']` and `queryObj = {songID: 'foo', volume: '100'}` 
  // ... more handlers ... 


Generated documentation is available here.

Helper Functions

Backbone.queryRouter comes with a few helper functions that help you modify the current URL.

Backbone.history.navigateBase(String route, Object options)

Usage: Backbone.history.navigateBase('/newRoute', {trigger: true});

Useful when you want to change the base route and fire a route handler, but you don't want to change the current query. No query handlers will be fired and the query in the URL bar will remain unchanged.

Backbone.history.getBaseRoute() -> String

Returns current base route (fragment without querystring).

Backbone.history.query -> Backbone.Model


Backbone.history.query.set(attributes, [options])
Backbone.history.query.unset(attributes, [options])

The current query is attached to Backbone.history as a simple Backbone.Model. It supports all of the usual Backbone.Model methods and events. Changing attributes on the query will automatically fire the associated query handlers, much like calling Backbone.history.navigate(route, {trigger:true}).

Call Backbone.history.query.toString() to get the current query string.

Backbone.history.resetQuery(Object|String query, Object options)


Backbone.history.resetQuery({key: 'value', nested: {key2: 'value2'}})
Backbone.history.query.reset("?key=value&key2=value2") // alias 
// see `Nested Attributes` below 
// Don't trigger handlers 
Backbone.history.resetQuery({key: 'value'}, {trigger: false})
// Don't trigger anything, including URL changes 
Backbone.history.resetQuery({key: 'value'}, {silent: true})
// Only set/unset certain keys 
Backbone.history.resetQuery({key: 'value'}, {keys: ['key', 'key2']})
// Set, but don't unset 
Backbone.history.resetQuery({key: 'value'}, {unset: false})

Resets the current query value to an entirely new value. Optionally accepts a query string with or without a leading ?, and will automatically extract the querystring if you pass it a full route fragment. If you pass this method a querystring containing a ? in a key or value, you must include the leading ? or the querystring will be misparsed.

This method is similar to Backbone.Collection.reset; it fires the appropriate set and unset methods, including the associated change events. Only a single change event will be thrown, so there is no need to debounce your handlers.

In the normal (not nested) version of this library, reset({key: 'param'}) has the same result as reset({key: ['param']}) when stringified and thus will not emit a change event if one is done after the other.

Nested Attributes

Nested attribute support is available in backbone.queryRouter.nested.browser.js (Production Build). While this build supports binding to nested attributes, the embedded query model does not support firing change events on nested attributes. If you require this, simply include Backbone.NestedModel before this script and the proper events will automatically be thrown.

Querystring Formatting

The smaller, non-nested build of backbone.queryRouter uses a nodeJS-compatible querystring library that does not support nested attributes. For example, the query object {key: ['val1', 'val2']} would be translated to key=val1&key=val2 and vice-versa.

In the nested build, querystring support is changed to visionmedia/node-querystring, which supports nested attributes. It also includes keys in arrays, so be sure that your server can parse them correctly. For example, {key: ['val1', 'val2']} would be translated to key[0]=val1&key[1]=val2.