Traditionally, web apps have fallen into one of two buckets: mostly server-side, or mostly client-side. Splitting the difference in a single application has been complicated by issues of code duplication and getting the right data back and forth.
Recently, Node.js has made the split approach easier by allowing the same code to be shared between the client and server. But what if you have an existing Ruby or Python server-side web app, and you’d like to move portions of the overall app to a client-side approach?
That’s the situation we found ourselves in recently at Typekit while building our new font browsing UI. We knew we wanted a fast, fun, app-like experience, and realized that it would require a mostly client-side approach. On the other hand, it also had to blend seamlessly with our existing server-side Ruby application.
In this talk, instead of focusing on the specific technologies that we used to accomplish our goals (like Knockout.js in the client and Johnson on the server), I’ll take a more technology-agnostic look at the patterns that allowed us to succeed:
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