The Appeal of Single Page Web Apps

Friday, February 10, 2012

Single page web apps. I am very happy when I visit a site that subscribes to this philosophy because they at very responsive. A philosophy? Yes, I think it is a philosophy. Can we call it a philosophy if its followers advocate it as a way to avoid wastefulness? While single page web sites are a wonderful solution when creating a few types of web sites, it isn't the best choice for others types. Ignore that while we discuss the wastefulness that single page web sites solve.

Website wastefulness? What waste, exactly? What I am thinking about is the site's entire HTML markup, Javascript, and CSS styling must be resent to the browser for each request. Sure, client-side browser caching may help reduce the wasteful resource requests here, but we shouldn't depend on the client to optimize this when the website developer has the power to optimize the user's experience.

How can the website developer optimize this? Make the web site a Javascript app! Send this Javascript app on the initial page load, then delegate each subsequent page request to the Javascript app. How will the Javascript app do this? It will request just the new content from the server and place it on the page. Using this method, we are only grabbing the new content that the user wants, not all the resources and markup for the page. Efficient! And fast!

I haven't figured out how to architect this Javascript framework, but I'm sure it would be worth the time investment. Maybe there is an existing framework that does most of this, or even some of it.

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