February 29 - March 2, 2012
Montreal, Canada

Migrating MVC to the front-end using Backbone JS

Planbox is a single-page web application for Agile project management. It was built using the traditional MVC stack with CodeIgniter (PHP) and jQuery (Javascript). AJAX was heavily used to update DOM elements to offer a dynamic user experience. UX logic code quickly became spread across Javascript and PHP. The application code base quickly became unmanageable and scaling functionality became difficult. Things had to change.

A decision was made to change architecture: bring all the UX logic in the front-end, and turn the back-end into an engine in charge of business logic.

This talk is about this experience. How we moved the MVC stack from the back-end to the front-end. How we used Backbone JS as the foundation of our front-end framework and built on top. How the backend became a black-box with a Restful API. What lessons we learned, what benefits we gained, and what reflections we made about the future of MVC in Javascript.


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Martin Drapeau

Planbox Inc.

Martin is co-founder and CTO of Planbox, a project management SaaS. Before Planbox, Martin held many hats at Synopsys: developer in Ottawa; application engineer in Belgium, and product manager in Montreal.

With a decade of experience, Martin jumped into the adventure of a web startup. His lifelong mission is to build software people love to use.

Martin holds a bachelor in computer science, and an MBA from the University of Ottawa.

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