Nested data (model attributes) for backbone.js

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import backboneNest from '';



Nest is a Backbone.js utility that allows for nested data (a/k/a nested module attributes) that can be accessed by model.someNestedCollection. It also provides a smart mechanism for listening to events on nested collections, and will continue to listen to nested data even if the underlying collection changes.


Nest has been designed to require()'d by browserify, and is currently only supported in that environment. To install:

npm install backbone-nest --save



Nest continuous integrations is handled by Wercker:

wercker status


Nest maintains 100% test coverage. To manually run the tests, install with with --dev (as above) and run:

gulp testc

You can generate a HTML code coverage report by appending the --html switch


Issues can be opened in the usual location, pull requests welcome!



Using Nest requires it to be included anywhere in the application:


Nest uses a simple paradigm to determine which data should be nested. When a model is passed data, it will instinctively remove a key named nested. It will them loop through all of nested's properties, and if it finds a matching nested collection, it will set() it with that data.

JSON Objects

To illustrate, here is a sample JSON object:

    foo: 'bar',
    id: 2,
    nested: {
        capitals: [
            {usa: 'dc'},
            {uk: 'london'}

In this case, the model will have an attribute of foo, as well as a nested collection capitals, which will, itself, have two models. The capitals collection can be accessed simply like:


capitals can be accessed fluently like any standard Backbone.Collection (which is what it is). So to access the models:


Collections should be setup with the model property. Said model should set nested data in the initialize() method. The model and nested collection would look like:

var nestedCollection = Backbone.Collection.extend({/* ... */})

var Model = Backbone.Model.extend({
    initialize: function(){
        this.nest('nestedColleciton', new nestedCollection())    

And the collection:

var someColleciton = Backbone.Collection.extend({
    model: Model

This leads to a setup of Collection -> Model -> Collection (and so on if desired)

Nested events

Events will bubble up to the parent collection. Event are listened to on the heights possible element, and hence even if the nested collection is changed/updated/reset the listener stays instant. Here is how to listen. Notice how events are namespaces with the name of the nested collection:

var Model = Backbone.Model.extend({
    initialize: function(){
        this.nest('nestedColleciton', new nestedCollection())    

        // listen for adds
        this.on('nestedColleciton.add', function(){})
        // listen for change
        this.on('nestedColleciton.change', function(){})
var someColleciton = Backbone.Collection.extend({
    model: Model,
    initialize: function(){
        this.on('nestedColleciton.add', function(){})