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Isomorphic Javascript: It’s the Future of Web Applications

  • Post published:April 29, 2022

What is Java famous for? Write once, run anywhere!… Could the same be said for Javascript? Certainly.

As you may already know, Airbnb developers have built rich web applications and experienced some great things. In 2011, they developed a single-page app for their mobile website and launched their wishlist and search tabs.

There is a JavaScript app for each of them to support an interactive experience. JavaScript developers use frameworks such as Angular.Js, Backbone.Js, and Ember.Js to create magic since they were released.

Gingerly, these apps hold some crucial limitations. Thereby, we would go down a memory lane to know the history of web apps to deeply comprehend why Isomorphic Javascript holds a future in the field.

Growing Interest In Javascript

The web has had a profound impact on the lives of millions of people. Once upon a time, whenever a browser requested a particular page, the server used to generate an HTML page and send it over the wire.

HTML pages were static and self-contained, while browsers weren’t as fast and efficient. Javascript, however, allows web pages to become more dynamic.

As technologies evolved, the robust browser experiences have also changed. The development of rich applications was profoundly enabled by fully-featured applications, fast Javascript runtimes, and HTML5 standards.

Due to this very obvious reason, many Isomorphic Javascript applications have been developed, and many others are in the development process.

Single-Page Applications (SPAs)

Javascript is now used to create web applications. Gmail is a good example of a one-page application, since it responds to users’ queries as soon as possible without loading any new pages.

Also, Ember.Js, Angular.Js, and Backbone.Js are considered MVC and MVVM libraries.

client-side MVC

Apparently, application logic (models, templates, views, controllers, internationalization, etc.) resides on the client, while data is accessed through an API. Servers are written in Python, Ruby, and Java, which are responsible for rendering wireframe pages.

After the browser loads the Javascript files, they are executed and the client applications are started. The reciprocal API loads the data, and HTML is rendered.

Navigation between different pages is robust and faster thanks to the definite app loading process without the need to refresh the page. If the process is smooth, it can also work offline.

To fully understand Isomorphic Javascript in web apps, it is important to understand the challenges we have faced.

Troubling Factors

This approach doesn’t work for so many reasons. Let’s examine these issues and absurd situations below:

1- SEO

As a result of client-side applications, crawlers have a difficult time supporting HTML pages, leading to flaws in SEO practices and poor SEO results since the landing page is not indexed.

We all know web crawlers send requests to web servers and then interpret their results. In case, however, web servers return blank pages, then it would be of no use.

As servers rely on Javascript applications, the lack of HTML content makes it difficult for crawlers to index content.

Due to this, Google has updated its web crawler to be compatible with Javascript-based pages. Yahoo and Bing, however, have not incorporated this approach. To rank well, indexing is crucial. This creates a problem.

Keep reading to know how Isomorphic Javascript applications help.

2- Maintenance

Between the server and client, some application logic or view logic is duplicated (often in different languages). Examples include currency and date formatting, routing logic, and form validation. Maintenance and support become a nightmare, especially for more complicated apps.

It is sometimes difficult to realize the negative impact of building a single-page application.

You never know when Isomorphic Javascript will come in handy.

3- Performance

The users will experience a few critical seconds of the blank page view or load spinner before the original content of the page is displayed if the server waits for client-side Javascript to render a full page of HTML instead of doing it on its own.

Numerous studies have shown that a slow website can negatively impact users and revenue.

Amazon claims the following:

“Each 100ms reduction in page load time raises revenue by 1%. Twitter spent a year and 40 engineers rebuilding their site to render on the server instead of the client, claiming a 5x improvement in perceived loading time.”

Let’s move on to the hybrid approach where we’ll discuss Isomorphic Javascript.

The Hybrid Approach: What Is It?

Isomorphic Javascript – The Current Favorite

This hybrid approach claims to create a win-win situation as everyone wants server-side fully-formed HTML for the best SEO and performance. As well as this, we want client-side application logic to be flexible and fast.

Airbnb has thus experienced Isomorphic Javascript applications

Isomorphic Javascript is what it sounds like. This fancy-sounding computer term refers to a combination of client and server rendering. It is also known as Universal Javascript. Because it uses the same rendering engines, developers can maintain markup templates.

An Isomorphic Javascript application client-server MVC looks like this:

Client Server MVC

In this scenario, some view and application logic can be executed both on the server and the client-side. Optimizes SEO and performance delivers more stateful apps and provides high maintenance.

Do You Know?

Node.Js offers a fast and stable server-side Javascript runtime (yes, it’s no longer a dream). Creating innovative concepts allows us to write application logic for both server and client-side.

The user interfaces of Isomorphic Javascript applications are faster and more interactive than traditional apps.

Frameworks For Developing Isomorphic JavaScript Apps

Isomorphic Javascript applications can be built using a variety of frameworks.

One of these is Meteor (an open-source Javascript framework that uses node.js to focus on real-time web applications).

Isomorphic Javascript Frameworks

Render was another library Airbnb used to run the backbone.js framework on both the server and client side.

There are also many other companies that use Node.Js for their applications.

All these frameworks allow you to share codes between client and server, which is why the future of web apps is reliant on Isomorphic Javascript.

Incorporate A Set Of Abstractions

Javascript applications that are isomorphic are quite large, which implies that full-stack frameworks have a lot of complexity.

There is no doubt that the server and client are two distinct environments, so the only thing that needs to be done is to create a set of abstractions that isolate application logic from primary implementations to create a single API for app developers.

1- Routing

To map URI (uniform resource identifier) patterns to route handlers, a single set of routers is required. The route handlers should be able to access HTML headers, URI information, cookies, and to particularize redirects without directly accessing req and res (Node.js) and window. location (browser).

2- Data Fetching & Persistence

You should know that the resources needed to render a specific page or component are described independently of the fetching mechanism. A resource descriptor is a URI that points to a JSON endpoint.

For larger applications, it is recommended to enclose resources in models and specify a class and primary key, which are then translated to URIs after a period of time.

3- Page generation (Review Rendering)

It doesn’t matter whether you use DOM (Document Object Model), a string-based HTML template, or a UI component library with DOM abstraction, you have to generate markup isomorphically.

Depending on the application, we should learn how to render views on the client or the server.

4- Construction and packaging

Isomorphic Javascript applications can now be coded easily. Browserify and Grunt are essential tools for getting the app up and running. Even so, there can be many steps involved, such as compiling templates, applying transforms, involving client-side dependencies, and minifying.

For larger apps, you can simply combine all the application code, templates, and views into a single bundle (this could result in hundreds of KBs to download).

Creating dynamic bundles and introducing lazy-loading assets make it more complex.

Esprima (static-analysis tool) allows ambitious developers to perform advanced-level optimization and meta-programming to reduce boilerplate code.

The Combination of Small Modules

All of these issues must be addressed when marketing with an Isomorphic Javascript framework. This results in unmanageable and large frameworks that are difficult to integrate with existing apps.

As After the developers solve the problems, reusable and small modules are integrated together to build Isomorphic Javascript applications.

Thus, Javascript libraries such as Handlebars.js, Underscore, Moment, Backbone.js, and even jQuery can be deployed on the server with little to no modifications.

Javascript apps that are isomorphic have many advantages

Isomorphic Javascript applications

Here are some benefits of Isomorphic Javascript applications:

  • Less Coding – Since the codes are shared between the client and server sides, fewer coding lines are needed when compared to single-page applications (SPA). In short, less time is consumed. 
  • Versatility: As isomorphic apps are versatile, they can run on any device, regardless of its unique features, old or new. SPAs used to return Javascript tags that caused problems with older devices. 
  • SEO-Friendly – It’s a known fact that these apps are optimized for browsers and that Google is now crawling Javascript pages as well. Therefore, it contributes to more predictable SEO and site indexing.
  • Speedy Javascript isomorphic applications provide fast HTML content because the server-side does not have to check requests every time, making browsing faster and more efficient.

In addition, unlike SPAs, where the first request loads the application and the required data is gathered afterwards.

As a result, isomorphic apps offer fast first-page processing and even faster subsequent processing.

  • Amazing Load Speed: Isomorphic apps load quickly. 
  • User-friendly: Since Javascript is proving to be very user-friendly. Isomorphic apps are easy to use because they promote a better user experience.

Finale

I hope you have learned so much about Isomorphic Javascript and its applications. As a result of lots of good features, we can say that Isomorphic Javascript applications are the future.