Why define an anonymous function and pass it jQuery as the argument?

The two blocks of code you have shown are dramatically different in when and why they execute. They are not exclusive of each other. They do not serve the same purpose.

JavaScript Modules

(function($) {
  // Backbone code in here

This is a “JavaScript Module” pattern, implemented with an immediately invoking function.

The purpose of this code is to provide “modularity”, privacy and encapsulation for your code.

The implementation of this is a function that is immediately invoked by the calling (jQuery) parenthesis. The purpose of passing jQuery in to the parenthesis is to provide local scoping to the global variable. This helps reduce the amount of overhead of looking up the $ variable, and allows better compression / optimization for minifiers in some cases.

Immediately invoking functions are executed, well, immediately. As soon as the function definition is complete, the function is executed.

jQuery’s “DOMReady” function

This is an alias to jQuery’s “DOMReady” function: http://api.jquery.com/ready/

  // Backbone code in here

jQuery’s “DOMReady” function executes when the DOM is ready to be manipulated by your JavaScript code.

Modules vs DOMReady In Backbone Code

It’s bad form to define your Backbone code inside of jQuery’s DOMReady function, and potentially damaging to your application performance. This function does not get called until the DOM has loaded and is ready to be manipulated. That means you’re waiting until the browser has parsed the DOM at least once before you are defining your objects.

It’s a better idea to define your Backbone objects outside of a DOMReady function. I, among many others, prefer to do this inside of a JavaScript Module pattern so that I can provide encapsulation and privacy for my code. I tend to use the “Revealing Module” pattern (see the first link above) to provide access to the bits that I need outside of my module.

By defining your objects outside of the DOMReady function, and providing some way to reference them, you are allowing the browser to get a head start on processing your JavaScript, potentially speeding up the user experience. It also makes the code more flexible as you can move things around without having to worry about creating more DOMREady functions when you do move things.

You’re likely going to use a DOMReady function, still, even if you define your Backbone objects somewhere else. The reason is that many Backbone apps need to manipulate the DOM in some manner. To do this, you need to wait until the DOM is ready, therefore you need to use the DOMReady function to start your application after it has been defined.

You can find plenty of examples of this around the web, but here’s a very basic implementation, using both a Module and the DOMReady function:

// Define "MyApp" as a revealing module

MyApp = (function(Backbone, $){

  var View = Backbone.View.extend({
    // do stuff here  

  return {
    init: function(){
      var view = new View();

})(Backbone, jQuery);

// Run "MyApp" in DOMReady


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