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Alloy 1.6.0 introduces support for Backbone 1.1.2.  Currently, Alloy uses Backbone 0.9.2 to support its Model and Collection objects.  This guide covers the changes from Backbone 0.9.2 to 1.1.2 and the modifications you may need to update your application.  Note that only changes to the Backbone Collection, Event and Model APIs are discussed in this document.  The other APIs (Routers, History and View) are not discussed since Alloy does not make direct use of them.

Due to breaking changes from Backbone 0.9.2 to 1.1.2, Alloy still uses Backbone 0.9.2 as its default Model and Collection implementation.  You will need to update the configuration file to use the newer Backbone library, then update your application to fix the breaking behavior changes and take advantage of the new Backbone features.

In the future, Backbone 1.1.2 will become the default and 0.9.2 support will be deprecated and eventually removed.

Alloy 1.10.12 release

Alloy 1.10.12 adds support for Backbone 1.3.3. However, due to breaking changes in Backbone, 0.9.2 will remain the default version for the 1.10.12 release.

To use Backbone 1.3.3. Add following in config.json


Supported versions of Backbone for Alloy 1.10.12 are 0.9.2, 1.1.2, 1.3.3.


To use Backbone 1.1.2 to support Alloy Model and Collections objects, open the project's ./app/config.json file and add the backbone key to the to the file with the value set to 1.1.2.  You may also set this value to 0.9.2 to force support of Backbone 0.9.2.  In the example below, the boiler plate configuration file is modified to use Backbone 1.1.2.


Summary of Changes

The following sections summarize most of the changes that affect the behavior of an application.  For a full list of Backbone changes, see the Backbone Changelog.

Collection APIs

Fetch Method Behavior Change

Backbone Collection objects no longer emit the reset event after a fetch() call, which means data-bound views may not update automatically. This could break existing apps. To use old functionality, pass {reset: true} when calling fetch() or extend the Collection class. The following sample code extends the Collection and has been added to the new model template.  Note that you will need to comment out the code in the new model template. 


New Set Method

If you want to smartly update the contents of a Collection (adding new models, removing missing ones, and merging those already present), you now call  set()  a similar operation to calling set() on a Model. This is now the default when you call fetch() on a collection. To get the old behavior, pass {reset: true} to the fetch() method.

Return Value for Methods

The return values of Collection's  add()push()remove(),  reset() and shift() methods return the changed (added, removed or updated) model or list of models, instead of this.

Add Method

When invoking add() on a collection, passing {merge: true} will now cause duplicate models to have their attributes merged in to the existing models, instead of being ignored.

To improve the performance of add()options.index will no longer be set in the add event callback. Use collection.indexOf(model) to retrieve the index of a model.

Event APIs

  • All i nvalid  events now pass consistent arguments. First the model in question, then the error object, then options.
  • Collection.sort() now triggers a sort event, instead of a reset event.
  • Both sync and error events within Backbone.sync() are now triggered regardless of the existence of success or error callbacks.
  • While listening to a reset event, the list of previous models is now available in options.previousModels.

The new Event methods listenTo and stopListening is meant for Backbone View objects to listen to Model and Collection events. These APIs will not work with an Alloy application.


Model APIs


Model validation is now only enforced with the save() method.  Previously, models were also validated with the set() method.  To force validation when the set() method is called, pass {validate: true} to the method or extend the Model class.

Validation occurs even during "silent" changes (passing {silent: true} to methods).  Previously, it would not.

Failed validations return the invalid event.  Previously, a failed model validation would return the error event.


To validate Model objects, implement the validate() method in the extendModel key of the model configuration file.

Other Changes

  • Calling destroy() on a Model will now return false if the model's isNew is set to true (model has not been saved to persistent storage).
  • Model.set() no longer accepts another model as an argument. Only pass the method the attributes to set, Model.set(attributes).
  • url and urlRoot properties may now be passed as options when instantiating a new Model.
  • If you want to maintain current models in a collection when using fetch the property has changed from {add:true} to {remove:false}

Parse Method

After fetching a model or a collection, all defined parse methods will now be run. So fetching a collection and getting back new models could cause both the collection to parse the list, and then each model to be parsed in turn, if you have both methods defined.  By default, the parse method is a no-op function that directly passes the JSON response object. 

You are no longer permitted to change the id of your model during parse(). Use idAttribute instead.

The parse function now receives the options dictionary as its second parameter.  Previously, it would only be passed a raw response object. 

Silent Option

Passing {silent:true} to methods now suppresses the change:attr events, thus a data-bound view will not be updated to reflect the changes. The sql sync adapter passed this option by default. It has been updated to no longer pass that option when Backbone 1.1.2 is used (still passed with 0.9.2).

If you want the new behavior, where the change events are suppressed, you will need to pass this option or extend the Model or Collection class.  The following sample code extends the Model set() method by forcing the silent option to true.  This method is where the silent option is used to fire or not fire change events.

API Changes

New APIs

The following APIs have been added between Backbone 1.1.2 and 0.9.2.

Backbone.requesteventFired whenever a request begins to be made to the server during a Backbone.sync operation.
Backbone.Collection.findWheremethodSame as the Backbone.Collection.where() method but only returns the first result.
Backbone.Collection.setmethodPerforms a "smart" update of the collection with the passed list of models.


methodSame as the Backbone.Event.on() method except after the event is fired, the callback is removed.
Backbone.Model.invertmethodReturns a copy of the object where the object's keys and values are switched.
Backbone.Model.keysmethodReturns an array of the object's keys.
Backbone.Model.omitmethodReturns a copy of an object without the specified keys.
Backbone.Model.pairsmethodReturns an array of [key, value] pairs.
Backbone.Model.pickmethodReturns a copy of an object with the specified keys.
Backbone.Model.valuesmethodReturns an array of the object's property values.

Removed APIs

The following APIs have been removed between Backbone 1.1.2 and 0.9.2.

Backbone.Collection.getByCidmethodPass the CID to the Backbone.Collection.get() method to retrieve the Collection by its Backbone client ID.