Backbone.js vs Framework7: What are the differences?
Backbone.js and Framework7 are both open source tools. Backbone.js with 27.5K GitHub stars and 5.7K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Framework7 with 14.5K GitHub stars and 3.04K GitHub forks.
What is Backbone.js?
What is Framework7?
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What are the cons of using Framework7?
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The front end for Heap begun to grow unwieldy. The original jQuery pieces became difficult to maintain and scale, and a decision was made to introduce Backbone.js, Marionette, and TypeScript. Ultimately this ended up being a “detour” in the search for a scalable and maintainable front-end solution. The system did allow for developers to reuse components efficiently, but adding features was a difficult process, and it eventually became a bottleneck in advancing the product.
Today, the Heap product consists primarily of a customer-facing dashboard powered by React, MobX, and TypeScript on the front end. We wrote our migration to React and MobX in detail last year here.
We are in the middle of a change of the stack on the front end. So we used Backbone.js with Marionette. Then we also created our own implementation of a Flux kind of flow. We call it eb-flux. We have worked with Marionette for a long time. Then at some point we start evolving and end up having a kind of Redux.js-style architecture, but with Marionette.
But then maybe one and a half years ago, we started moving into React and that's why we created the Eventbrite design system. It's a really nice project that probably could be open sourced. It's a library of components for our React components.
With the help of that library, we are building our new stack with React and sometimes Redux when it's necessary.
I needed to choose a full stack of tools for cross platform mobile application design & development. After much research and trying different tools, these are what I came up with that work for me today:
For the client coding I chose Framework7 because of its performance, easy learning curve, and very well designed, beautiful UI widgets. I think it's perfect for solo development or small teams. I didn't like React Native. It felt heavy to me and rigid. Framework7 allows the use of #CSS3, which I think is the best technology to come out of the #WWW movement. No other tech has been able to allow designers and developers to develop such flexible, high performance, customisable user interface elements that are highly responsive and hardware accelerated before. Now #CSS3 includes variables and flexboxes it is truly a powerful language and there is no longer a need for preprocessors such as #SCSS / #Sass / #less. React Native contains a very limited interpretation of #CSS3 which I found very frustrating after using #CSS3 for some years already and knowing its powerful features. The other very nice feature of Framework7 is that you can even build for the browser if you want your app to be available for desktop web browsers. The latest release also includes the ability to build for #Electron so you can have MacOS, Windows and Linux desktop apps. This is not possible with React Native yet.
Framework7 runs on top of Apache Cordova. Cordova and webviews have been slated as being slow in the past. Having a game developer background I found the tweeks to make it run as smooth as silk. One of those tweeks is to use WKWebView. Another important one was using srcset on images.
I configured TypeScript to work with the latest version of Framework7. I consider TypeScript to be one of the best creations to come out of Microsoft in some time. They must have an amazing team working on it. It's very powerful and flexible. It helps you catch a lot of bugs and also provides code completion in supporting IDEs. So for my IDE I use Visual Studio Code which is a blazingly fast and silky smooth editor that integrates seamlessly with TypeScript for the ultimate type checking setup (both products are produced by Microsoft).
I use some Ruby scripts to process images with ImageMagick and pngquant to optimise for size and even auto insert responsive image code into the HTML5. Ruby is the ultimate cross platform scripting language. Even as your scripts become large, Ruby allows you to refactor your code easily and make it Object Oriented if necessary. I find it the quickest and easiest way to maintain certain aspects of my build process.
For the user interface design and prototyping I use Figma. Figma has an almost identical user interface to #Sketch but has the added advantage of being cross platform (MacOS and Windows). Its real-time collaboration features are outstanding and I use them a often as I work mostly on remote projects. Clients can collaborate in real-time and see changes I make as I make them. The clickable prototyping features in Figma are also very well designed and mean I can send clickable prototypes to clients to try user interface updates as they are made and get immediate feedback. I'm currently also evaluating the latest version of #AdobeXD as an alternative to Figma as it has the very cool auto-animate feature. It doesn't have real-time collaboration yet, but I heard it is proposed for 2019.
For the UI icons I use Font Awesome Pro. They have the largest selection and best looking icons you can find on the internet with several variations in styles so you can find most of the icons you want for standard projects.
For the backend I was using the #GraphCool Framework. As I later found out, #GraphQL still has some way to go in order to provide the full power of a mature graph query language so later in my project I ripped out #GraphCool and replaced it with CouchDB and Pouchdb. Primarily so I could provide good offline app support. CouchDB with Pouchdb is very flexible and efficient combination and overcomes some of the restrictions I found in #GraphQL and hence #GraphCool also. The most impressive and important feature of CouchDB is its replication. You can configure it in various ways for backups, fault tolerance, caching or conditional merging of databases. CouchDB and Pouchdb even supports storing, retrieving and serving binary or image data or other mime types. This removes a level of complexity usually present in database implementations where binary or image data is usually referenced through an #HTML5 link. With CouchDB and Pouchdb apps can operate offline and sync later, very efficiently, when the network connection is good.
I use PhoneGap when testing the app. It auto-reloads your app when its code is changed and you can also install it on Android phones to preview your app instantly. iOS is a bit more tricky cause of Apple's policies so it's not available on the App Store, but you can build it and install it yourself to your device.
So that's my latest mobile stack. What tools do you use? Have you tried these ones?
When the data request returns, Backbone.js gets busy. The idea with Backbone is that we render each Model that comes down from the server with a View, and then Backbone provides an easy way to:
1) Watch for DOM events within the HTML generated by the View and tie those to methods on the corresponding Model, which re-syncs with the server
2) Watch the model for changes, and re-render the model’s HTML block to reflect them
Neat! Using that general approach, we get a fairly regular, comprehensible, and maintainable client. We custom-built a client-side Model cache to handle updates and simplify client-side Model reuse.
The main web store is a Backbone.js single page web application, and so it hits API endpoints to do all the calls, and we use those same API endpoints for the consumer iPhone app, the consumer Android app, and the consumer mobile web app. It worked out really nicely, us just building one API and just all these clients, including the web client, using that.
Major part of our UI application uses Backbone models and views extensively. Though there's a plan to migrate to React and Redux.
All of our web apps are built using BackboneJS. Keeps our code clean and organized, and keeps the page refreshing to a minimum!