Backbone.js LogoLearn how to handle requests for a route that you have not configured

In the first part of this series: Getting Started with Backbone.js Routes – Part I: Introduction, we learned how to set up routing in a single page web application. We covered two kinds of routes: a “default” route (i.e. no route is requested), and a named route.

In this article, we will learn how to configure a Backbone router for a bad request. To be specific, a bad request would be one that you have not anticipated (i.e. you have not configured your router for that specific request). In the previous example, if you were to request a route other than “info”, there would be no error, but this is an unhandled case, and not the best user experience.

Here are two examples of unhanded exceptions from Part-I of this series:

In both cases, the page loads, but there is no message because the router was not configured to handle the routes: “#/bad-request” and “#/another-bad-request”.

Example # 1

In Example # 1, we have updated the object passed to the Backbone.Router.extend method. There is now a third route named: “*actions”. This tells Backbone that if a request is not one of the first two specified (i.e. “” and “info”), then execute the “pageNotFound” method.

The “pageNotFound” method is similar to the other route handlers, but injects a message into the DOM that is specific to this scenario: the user has requested a route that does not exist. This way, instead of “nothing” happening, you can present very specific content to the user.


How to Demo:

When the page loads, you will see the message: “This is the default route”, and if you click the “info” link, you will see the message: This is the “Info” page. But if you click the link: “Bad request”, you will see the message: “Sorry, the page you requested was not found”. The reason for this is that there is no route configured for: “#/bad-request”. In fact, no matter what you request, unless that route request is: “” or “info”, then you will see the message: “Sorry, the page you requested was not found”

Here are a few examples:

When you click any of the links above, you will still get the message: “Sorry, the page you requested was not found”.


In this article, we learned how to configure our Backbone router to handle bad requests. We discussed the “*actions” property of the “routes” object, and how to make sure it is the last property specified in that object. We also set up a function to be executed whenever a bad route request is made.