Pure Front end JavaScript with Web API versus MVC views with ajax

Posted by eyeballpaul on Programmers See other posts from Programmers or by eyeballpaul
Published on 2014-05-10T17:18:56Z Indexed on 2014/06/04 15:43 UTC
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This was more a discussion for what peoples thoughts are these days on how to split a web application.

I am used to creating an MVC application with all its views and controllers. I would normally create a full view and pass this back to the browser on a full page request, unless there were specific areas that I did not want to populate straight away and would then use DOM page load events to call the server to load other areas using AJAX.

Also, when it came to partial page refreshing, I would call an MVC action method which would return the HTML fragment which I could then use to populate parts of the page. This would be for areas that I did not want to slow down initial page load, or areas that fitted better with AJAX calls. One example would be for table paging. If you want to move on to the next page, I would prefer it if an AJAX call got that info rather than using a full page refresh. But the AJAX call would still return an HTML fragment.

My question is. Are my thoughts on this archaic because I come from a .net background rather than a pure front end background?

An intelligent front end developer that I work with, prefers to do more or less nothing in the MVC views, and would rather do everything on the front end. Right down to web API calls populating the page. So that rather than calling an MVC action method, which returns HTML, he would prefer to return a standard object and use javascript to create all the elements of the page.

The front end developer way means that any benefits that I normally get with MVC model validation, including client side validation, would be gone. It also means that any benefits that I get with creating the views, with strongly typed html templates etc would be gone.

I believe this would mean I would need to write the same validation for front end and back end validation. The javascript would also need to have lots of methods for creating all the different parts of the DOM. For example, when adding a new row to a table, I would normally use the MVC partial view for creating the row, and then return this as part of the AJAX call, which then gets injected into the table. By using a pure front end way, the javascript would would take in an object (for, say, a product) for the row from the api call, and then create a row from that object. Creating each individual part of the table row.

The website in question will have lots of different areas, from administration, forms, product searching etc. A website that I don't think requires to be architected in a single page application way.

What are everyone's thoughts on this?

I am interested to hear from front end devs and back end devs.

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