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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: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday February 10 2022, @04:16PM (1 child)

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday February 10 2022, @04:16PM (#1220232) Homepage Journal

    Pages on my web site that require my visitors to download and maybe pay for tools that will let them visit my web site! I have two words:

    Fuck that.

    --
    mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by gawdonblue on Friday February 11 2022, @01:55AM

    by gawdonblue (412) on Friday February 11 2022, @01:55AM (#1220402)

    Not sure what you mean?

    Elixir/Phoenix/LiveView is a webserver thing that serves up webpages with all of the logic (programming) running on the server. It does depend on the web browser supporting websockets and by default runs a small bit of javascript, but most recent browsers can do this. The server pre-renders any changes to the webpage and serves up just those changes. It is amazingly efficient on the client and surprisingly low-bandwidth.

    Visitors' computers have to do far less with this than they do with those ridiculous piles of JS frameworks that many websites serve up, and they need no extra tools to visit your site.