Bootstrap Alerts with Backbone Views

One of the nice things about Bootstrap is that it provides reusable HTML/CSS components for common tasks such as displaying buttons, tabs, forms, and alerts (among other things). The markup for an alert is very simple:

<div class="alert alert-error">
<a href="#" class="close">&times;</a>
<strong>Oops!</strong> Something went terribly wrong.

A jQuery plugin that comes with Bootstrap is used for the close button. I found myself duplicating this markup in a Backbone.js project with various Underscore templates scattered around the view classes, so for the sake of DRYness, I decided to whip up a simple view to encapsulate the markup and behavior. Here’s the result:

var AlertView = Backbone.View.extend({
	className: 'alert fade in',
	alerts: ['success', 'error', 'info'],
	template: _.template([
		'<a href="#" class="close">&times;</a>',
		'<%= message %>'
	initialize: function(options) {
		var message = options.msg || '';
		var alert = options.hasOwnProperty('alert') ? options.alert : 'info';

		if(_.indexOf(this.alerts, alert) === -1) {
			throw new Error('Invalid alert: [' + alert + '] Must be one of: ' + this.alerts.join(', '));

		this.alert = alert;
		this.message = message;
	render: function() {
		var output = this.template({ message: this.message });
			alert(); // jquery plugin
		return this;

AlertView.msg = function($el, options) {
	var alert = new AlertView(options);
	return alert;

Now I can use it from my other views for simple alert messages like this:

AlertView.msg(this.$el, { 
     alert: 'error', 
     msg: 'Something went terribly wrong.' 

Of course, it can still be improved with shortcut methods and general cleanup, but the goal is not to make it work for every possible alert, just the most common ones.

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