What The Hell Is An Isomorphic Web Application?!?!?

In this tutorial, you will learn in simple English what people mean when they talk about an isomorphic web app.   The first time I heard this term I think my brain made an association with Xenomorph - from the alien's film - and I had images for some strange preconception it was to do with security or privacy... it's not.

The term 'Isomorphic Web Applications' is a pretty easy one.  In plain English, it means being able to use the same language to process server and client side renderings.  This means that you use the same thing to build your website in a web browser and you use the same language to build any backend API's.

What Are The Benefits Of Isomorphic Web Applications

If you use C# to render all your backend APIS and you use React to render your frontend, as a business you have a dilemma.  Do you hire people who can do both?.  In my experience, these are tough hires to find.  I live in London, I attend meet-ups frequently, I run a website and I've only ever met a handful of people I'd consider great at C# and who know Javascript inside out.  

As a business, does this now mean you need to hire two people.  One for the backend, one for the frontend?  Also, as we have a technology split, is this maybe how we split the teams up.  Now we're organizing how our business works based on technology. 

If you can move towards an isomorphic architecture, you can hire one set of developers and in theory, they should all be able to juggle around the stack and work wherever.  

For a business, this has loads of advantages, developers who can work on more things, reduced staff costs, shared knowledge.

What Is A Universal Application?

Micheal Jackson who builds React Router took this term one step further and coined the term 'universal'.  A universal application can run on both server and client WITH the same code.  You can combine React.js with node.js to render your React code.  Server-side React combined with client-side React can give you better SEO and performance benefits benefits

Are Isomorphic Web Apps Basically Only Applicable To Javascript?

At the minute, if you do not work with Javascript I'm not sure you would come across this term. A lot of time and effort is being made to allow you to create Isomorphic web apps with other languages. If you want to look at some potential new technologies that could change the game in terms of how the web is structured, I recommend you check out web assembly as you may be surprised to what languages you can get working in the browser. If you like C# for example, then Blazer is also worth a look. 

 

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Jon D Jones

Software Architect, Programmer and Technologist Jon Jones is founder and CEO of London-based tech firm Digital Prompt. He has been working in the field for nearly a decade, specializing in new technologies and technical solution research in the web business. A passionate blogger by heart , speaker & consultant from England.. always on the hunt for the next challenge

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