I love backbone.js. I’ve used it to build some simple single-page apps before, and I really like the feature set it provides while not being to cumbersome (huge frameworks like sproutcore terrify me).

But the first time I tried to set up a Backbone app with require.js, I ran into a ton of problems. I was used to building my Backbone apps inside a single global object like this:

__Before require.js:__

    // global object container
    var myapp = myapp || {};

    // model definition
    myapp.Model = Backbone.Model.extend({
    	// model code

    // instance of the model
    var mymodel = new myapp.Model;

This all worked well fine and well when all the code lived in a single .js file, but when I tried splitting each definition into it’s own file, I would get intermittent load errors. Basically, 2 out 3 times, the entire app just wouldn’t load.

After reading this article, I learned that defining all of your app’s models and views inside a single global object works against the way require.js is designed. It’s much better to define each of your app’s components like this:

__After require.js:__

    // define our component's dependencies
    define(['backbone'], function (Backbone) {
      var myModel = Backbone.Model.extend({
    		// model code

      // component returns a Backbone model definition
      return myModel;

Now that the model’s definition isn’t tied to the global myapp object, we can include it as a dependency in the main require.js function:

	// require.js setup
		// shim configuration for non-AMD modules
		shim: {
			'backbone': {
				deps: ['jquery','json2','underscore'],
				exports: 'Backbone'

	// our main requirejs function
	requirejs([	'jquery',	'backbone',	'path/to/model'],
	function	($,			Backbone,	Model) {
		// create a new instance of our model
		var mymodel = new Model();

After switching all of my app’s components to this modular pattern, it cleared up all of the load errors I was having.

This was probably blatantly obvious for you JS experts out there, but for some reason it took me a while to wrap my head around the whole AMD concept.