Frequently Asked Questions


What will I learn from watching BackboneRails?

Building rich, single page web applications is very difficult. To make matters worse, there is an abundance of starter material, but a serious lack of advanced content. Tutorials are often focused on building small widgets or simple ToDo function apps. The gap between understanding the basic API's and actually building a significant application is a formidable one. BackboneRails was created to fill this gap.

You will learn about building Javascript MVC based applications. This is the road towards building applications like Gmail, Google Analytics, Pivotal Tracker - single page modern web apps.

What's the difference between series and screencasts?

Series are focused around building a real application, by revealing complexity layer by layer. Each episode progressively adds more features, supporting objects and infrastructure. Concepts are introduced early on, and ultimately these concepts are applied, modified, and refactored as the application grows and scales.

Screencasts cover individual topics, sometimes plugins, concepts, or how-to's. These are shorter, more traditional screencasts intended to be complimentary to the series track. They’re also free.

Why do some videos cost money?

Most of my videos are free, but the series screencasts are mostly paid. Screencasts take an enormous amount of time to produce. This effort requires money to make this possible. Read more about producting screencasts

Can I use your code in my app?

Absolutely! Hack away.

Do I have to use Rails as my backend?

Definitely not. Rails is used to support our Javascript by handling the load order, concatenation, minification, and compilation from Coffeescript. It also performs typical backend tasks like consuming JSON, creating route helpers, handling stylesheets, and represents the web server. Many viewers find that they you can replicate those things with a different backend of their choosing. So, by all means, go ahead!

Even though the site is called “BackboneRails”, it’s more focused on front-end application development with Javascript than it is about backend development. If you are using Rails though, you will be able to follow along seamlessly and see how Rails can be coupled with Backbone.js.

I see you're using Coffeescript, why???

Holy Javascript wars have been started over this question. I will just say this: Coffeescript is extremely easy to learn, and it is beautiful. These screencasts put to rest many of the questions about its capabilities. Simply put, if you don’t know Coffeescript, after a few screencasts, you will. It’s very digestible, and I make every reasonable effort to using proper terminology to describe what it’s compiling down to. Lots of my viewers don’t use Coffeescript, but are able to follow along perfectly well.

Don’t let this be a reason to miss out! Modern front-end development is about embracing new emerging technologies, being adaptable and forward thinking. Coffeescript is just another technology in this cocktail.

I accidentally bought 2 of the same screencasts; can I get a refund?

Sure, just send me an email at explaining your issue and I’ll get you a refund as soon as possible, usually same day.

My entire office could use BackboneRails' screencasts; can I share them?

No. If developers in your office can benefit from watching the paid episodes, then please buy them. If you’re purchasing for more than 5 developers or want a site license, reach out to me and I will be happy to work with you.

Do you offer closed captioning?

All of the free video’s on BackboneRails have closed captioning. Just click on the icon below the video. This will take you to the YouTube video where you should click the cc at the bottom of the video and select “English – translated by BackboneRails”.

I have a question about one of the videos, where can I ask my question?

If it’s a simple question, add it to the comments section within the series or screencast's page. If it’s a long and involved question about theory / concepts or specific use cases, it’s best to ask it in the #marionette channel in There are a lot of people in there that can help, including me.

When are you going to release your next episode?

If you follow me on twitter, I usually post updates when I’m getting close to releasing new material.

Why don't you release the next episode now?

I release my video's the very day that production and editing is complete. Every screencast takes an enormous amount of time to produce. When I first started it took me about 4 hours per minute of video. So a 15 minute video would take me about 60 hours. I’ve gotten much faster now, but it still takes a long time. Read more about screencast production here

I made a plug-in that I think would be helpful, can you review it?

Sure, I'm always looking for new ways to use and teach Backbone. Just send me an email at

Producing Screencasts

How much time does it take you to produce a screencast?

When I first started, producing animated keynote screencasts would take me about 4 hours for every minute of finished video. So a 15 minute screencast took me 60 hours from start to finish.

Since then I’ve gotten much faster, but screencasts still take a long time to produce. For example Episode #07 which is 180 minutes took about 180 hours. Code based screencasts are faster than animated ones, so a general rule of thumb is 1 hour per 1 minute if you’re experienced.

What recording tools / software, do you use?

Screen Recording: Screenflow. I move all of my windows into a frame which is 720p (1280x720).
Audio Mic: Yeti Microphone with a pop filter. I also use a desktop mic stand so I can record audio hands-free.
Editing: I currently use Premiere Pro. I used to use Screenflow for editing, but it really started to become clunky after heavily editing about 45 minutes of video. When I say heavily edited I mean there are edits and cuts in both the audio and video every other second. In 45 minutes of video that could mean 2500-3000 edits.
Animations Keynote.

Do you record the audio while you code?

No, every single piece of audio is recorded while reading from a script, usually days later. I’ve never coded and talked at the same time during a screencast.