2 min read

One of the great challenges of JavaScript development has been wrangling your code for both the server- and the client-side of your site or app. Fullstack JS Devs have worked to master the skills to work on both the front and backend, and numerous JS libraries and frameworks have been created to make your life easier. That’s why Isomorphic JavaScript is your Next Big Thing to learn for 2017.

What even is Isomorphic JavaScript?

Isomorphic JavaScript are JavaScript applications that run on both the client and the server-side. The term comes from a mathematical concept, whereby a property remains constant even as its context changes. Isomorphic JavaScript therefore shares the same code, whether it’s running in the context of the backend or the frontend. It’s often called the ‘holy grail’ of web app development.

Why should I use Isomorphic JavaScript?

“[Isomorphic JavaScript] provides several advantages over how things were done ‘traditionally’. Faster perceived load times and simplified code maintenance, to name just two,” says Google Engineer and Packt author Matt Frisbie in our 2017 Developer Talk Report. Netflix, Facebook and Airbnb have all adopted Isomorphic libraries for building their JS apps.

Isomorphic JS apps are *fast*, operating off one base of code means that no time is spent loading and parsing any client-side JavaScript when a page is accessed. It might only be a second – but that slow load time can be all it takes to frustrate and lose a user. But Isomorphic apps are faster to render HTML content directly in browser, ensuring a better user experience overall.

Isomorphic JavaScript isn’t just quick for your users, it’s also quick for you. By utilizing one framework that runs on both the client and the server, you’ll open yourself up to a world of faster development times and easier code maintenance.

What tools should I learn for Isomorphic JavaScript?

The premier and most powerful tool for Isomorphic JS is probably Meteor – the fullstack JavaScript platform. With 10 lines of JavaScript in Meteor, you can do what will take you 1000s elsewhere. No need to worry about building your own stack of libraries and tools – Meteor does it all in one single package.

Other Isomorphic-focused libraries include Rendr, created by Airbnb. Rendr allows you to build a Backbone.js + Handlebars.js single-page app that can also be fully rendered on the server-side – and was used to build the Airbnb mobile web app for drastically improved page load times. Rendr also strives to be a library, rather than a framework, meaning that it can be slotted into your stack as you like and gives you a bit more flexibility than a complete solution such as Meteor.


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