Thursday, June 20, 2013

Time to talk about Single Page Applications again?

The phrase Single Page Application is possibly link-bait. It has certainly drawn more comments than any other post I have made, although many of them are in languages with which I am not familiar, discussing products and services about which the less said the better.

Back in 2009, if I referred to a Single Page Application, I was most likely talking about TiddlyWiki, and that has changed now due to the ever-expanding field of mobile development and popularity of HTML5; so that now, if I refer to a Single Page Application, I am more likely referring to a mobile application shell which uses client-side business logic and asynchronous REST to provide a rich user experience. A modern SPA will use a combination of MVW libraries and frameworks like Backbone, Marionette, AngularJS or Ember; wheras TiddlyWiki used a lot of well written sophisticated JavaScript.

My own experiments with Saxon-CE and JQuery in PhoneGap have been very enjoyable, in which case all of your business and presentation logic are bundled into XSLT2 stylesheets, with a very thin layer of Ajax, which really constitutes another framework. In this case, when you take PhoneGap away and replace it with a native web OS (Firefox OS), you are left with a very thin framework for SPA.

To return to the subject of my previous post, if I was to create a "book" as a single page application (and not just use EPub3), this is the sort of framework I would target, for exactly my previous reasons. So from that point of view, I'm very pleased with the way technology is currently evolving.

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