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posted by janrinok on Wednesday February 09 2022, @11:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the all-the-better-to-track-you-with-my-dear dept.

Move over JavaScript: Back-end languages are coming to the front-end:

In the early days of networked computing, mainframes did all the heavy lifting: users connected to massive machines with video terminals that could do little more than send and receive text. Then in the 1970s, personal computers came along and made it possible to do serious computing on the client-side as servers handled tasks like authentication and storage in many networks. The rise of the internet in the 1990s swung the pendulum back to the server, with web browsers taking on a role not unlike terminals in the mainframe era.

The client-side made a come back over the past decade as developers built "single-page applications" (SPAs) with JavaScript. But a new crop of tools is sending the pendulum swinging back towards the server.

At the vanguard of these tools is Phoenix, a framework for the programming language Elixir, and a feature called LiveView. Using LiveView and a bit of JavaScript, developers can create browser-based interfaces for real-time applications like chat rooms or Twitter-style status updates. All UI elements are rendered on the server first and sent to the browser, ready-to-display. The only JavaScript required is a small amount of code that opens a WebSockets connection that handles sending input from the browser and receiving refreshed HTML/CSS from the server.

Phoenix isn't the first platform to offer a way for back-end developers to create front-end interfaces—Microsoft's ASP.NET Web Forms for Microsoft .NET existed back in 2002—but it did inspire many new tools. Caldara for Node.js, Livewire for the PHP framework Laravel, and StimulusReflex for Ruby on Rails, to name a few. Microsoft, meanwhile, released a new .NET feature called Blazor Server that modernizes the old Web Forms idea.

"My goal is not to get rid of single-page applications, but to obviate them for a large class of applications," Phoenix creator Chris McCord says.

There is a lot more in the full article.


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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10 2022, @12:37AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10 2022, @12:37AM (#1220099)

    Isn't that called "Java?" ActionScript is a bunch of shit frankly. I wrote an app with it once, I regretted it instantly, and then its runtime got blackballed. I wonder if we'll ever find out how much Alphabet DBA Google paid Adobe to do that. Java is a decent language with an excellent free software ecosystem. Maven is a decent build system. It beats the pants off ActionScript (Flash), C# (Silverlight), MFC (ActiveX) ARGH MFC BURN IT WITH FIRE, and Javascript/HTML/CSS (current hotness).

    I mean, the number one thing to hate about Java is ermagherd doesn't run on metal. If you want something truly cross platform, it won't run on metal. It'll run in a VM. Plus the goddess-awful java.util.Calendar has been finally deprecated by slightly-improved-JodaTime java.time.*. Java is the only language I know of with a standard library that now includes a correct and proper time library.

    If applets made a comeback, you would probably even get complete support in independent browsers like Midori.

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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10 2022, @01:59AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10 2022, @01:59AM (#1220113)

    Java is bloatware. And why do you want to run on a bloated runtime? And worse, in a browser?

    The only reason to use it, or a web browser, is for a gui. "oh look, cross platform!!!"

    But how many platforms do you need to worry about?

    If you're into mobile and want to sell apps, it's iOS. If you're into mobile and want to make your money via intrusive ads, it's Android. Pick one.

    For desktops and laptops and everything else, it's either Windows or Apple. Pick one. The time and energy you waste making stuff cross-platform, you could instead be improving the one you picked.

    Because NOBODY (the end user) gives two shits about cross platform. They have a platform and they're invested in it financially and emotionally.

    Browser based apps? Why bother? You're just leaving money on the table.

    Same with linux. Just no money to be made there.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10 2022, @03:54PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10 2022, @03:54PM (#1220220)

      Web apps are not optimal (but what is), but they do run on everything. The GUI demands of something like a web discussion board like say Reddit or some real estate search app can be handled perfectly well by a web app. If you can either require a paid login or serve ads, you can get paid.

      Then you only have to target chrome and safari.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10 2022, @02:04AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10 2022, @02:04AM (#1220114)
    The standalone Flash MX runtime continued to work just fine. Why would you depend on a runtime that needs a browser? You were able to do client/server just fine in the standalone version. And you didn't need to use the development environment. My "environment" was a text editor and make. Because I got pissed off at the limitations of developing in the IDE.