A lightweight view class is provided but there is no default templating method implemented. Because views are minimal it allows for much more freedom to implement views however you would like, and because of this freedom it's possible to write views to more uniquely adapt to a problem. User interactions are done within an events object that allows these interactions to be segregated from the rest of the view code which makes the behavioral aspect of the view easier to read and manage.
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Pro Gives you the freedom to implement views however you want
A lightweight view class is provided but there is no default templating method implemented. Because views are minimal it allows for much more freedom to implement views however you would like, and because of this freedom it's possible to write views to more uniquely adapt to a problem.
User interactions are done within an events object that allows these interactions to be segregated from the rest of the view code which makes the behavioral aspect of the view easier to read and manage.
Pro Can be combined with any library you want
Pro Large community
Backbone has existed longer than most frameworks, and has a large following of users and projects using it as a framework.
Pro You can call underscore.js methods directly on Backbone objects
Backbone collections and models are extended by underscore.js method allowing you to call underscore methods directly on the Backbone objects.
Pro Easy to interface with the API
Backbone provides Model and Collection classes that provide strong analogs to restful resources. These strong analogs allow you to interface more naturally with the API, and makes it easier to write custom behaviors for more complicated API interactions.
Collections provide a variety of powerful manipulation methods that are integrated from the underscore library, that allow you to manipulate, sort, and filter collection data easily.
Pro Easy to implement complex user interaction
Because all the state is managed by Models and Controllers, and they are extendable objects, you can isolate all the state logic onto those objects allowing the rest of the application to not worry about it. The app is simplified to just taking in input to modify the Models and Controllers, and updating the views to reflect them, but none of the state needs to be a concern outside of the Model and Controller classes.
Pro Doesn’t force you into a particular coding style or paradigm
There is no “magic” happening below the surface: the source code is clear, readable and well commented. Backbone is also “lightweight” in the sense that it doesn’t require a ton of buy-in to use. It can be easily integrated into an existing page, and you can choose to only use certain components of the library (Views without Models or Collections, for example). While there are many frameworks that seem to be faster to get started with, Backbone’s lack of surprises, clear documentation, speed & flexibility make it a good fit for all types of apps.
Pro Extendable with plugins
Because Backbone is so simple, and the different components are very well isolated, it is very easy to extend the functionality of Backbone. If you're writing your own extended code it's easy to keep it separated out, and share with the community.
The community also has many plugins already available, which you can pick and choose to use to fit your programming style.
Pro Easy to abstract interaction
All Backbone classes extend an events class that allows for listening and triggering functionality. Because all classes implement events by default it is easier to provide asynchronous communication between objects, and it allows better abstraction of interaction so the event emitting object does not need to know the structure or existence of the receiving object.
Pro Easy data binding
Pro Easy to learn
Has a low entry barrier and an easy learning curve. It's especially easy to learn for beginners.
Pro Built in templating
Bindings in Knockout can also be used to control the generated structure of the HTML. There are bindings provided to allow for iteration and conditionals. The structure of the html reflects the structure of the data so iterative elements are bound to arrays in the data model. Having the HTML structure maintained by bindings keeps the templating simple, easy to read, and maintain.
Knockout also allows for string based templating so you can use whatever templating library you prefer.
Pro Dynamic models help with keeping the code simple and clean
Models in Knockout can be watched to keep the page data up to date by using observable objects. The observables notify Knockout when data is changed and automatically updates the page when this happens. By having Knockout maintain this relation, it keeps the front end code cleaner and simpler, and by enforcing a consistent pattern with observables the methodology can be more robust.
Pro Legacy browser support
Supports a large number of browsers, including IE6.
Pro Great documentation
The excellent tutorials with built-in exercises are a great learning experience, even for people without prior MVVM and data binding experience.
Pro Very flexible
One can do a lot of things and it keeps self references and other types of loops under control.
Pro Lightweight and plays nicely with other libraries
Pro It's only a library
Knockout does one thing, and does it well. It doesn't try to take on more than one area. It does MVVM data binding and that is it.
Pro Simple manageable modules
Using components is a great way of breaking up large modules into simpler ones.
Con Requires more coding compared to other frameworks
Because many features are not provided out of the box, you either have to write more base class code to get those features, or find a plugin that provides them in a way you like.
It does not provide much structure either, things like memory management must be kept in mind by the developer, also the lack of view lifecycle management makes state changes prone to memory leaks.
Con Can easily lead you to spaghetti code
Heavy event-binding can lead to unmanageable spaghetti mess. BB tempts users to overuse it for no reason.
Con No data binding
Backbone does not have data binding support. However, there are some libraries that can be implemented in order to have data binding in Backbone. Such as Epoxy
Con Seems to be dead
KO has been stuck at version 3.4 for a long time, and there's not a lot of community activity.
Con Can become complex once the application grows large
Knockout leaves the application structure to the developer and it can become quite complex and unmanageable in the hands of a beginner once the application grows large and complex.
Con Two way binding requires a little extra work
When allowing users to edit existing data, the two-way binding of observables means you'll need to have to save original values before they're edited, to make comparisons or revert if the user cancels the action.
Con Slower than others when amount of objects grows
Knockout has a bad performance when the dealing with large amount of objects. You can see more here.