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Last active Aug 21, 2019
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Vecty/GopherJS Web App Framework

Web App Framework with Vecty & GopherJS

This document describes a web app framework targeted for Vecty & GopherJS.

Goals:

  • Go is the primary language for all frontend and backend tasks. An app developer should be able to write full-feaured web applications using only Go and without any HTML/Javascript/CSS knowledge or expertise
  • The framework handles and compiles Go code targeting the frontend and backend
    • Framework can build frontend code into HTMl/JS/CSS or Web Assembly (WASM). In both cases, the resulting app is a SPA
    • Framework design might enable classic web apps with multiple routes, but that's not a design goal
    • Framework provides development-time tooling like:
      • Development server that live-reloads and recompiles code
      • Generating code for common tasks

Frontend Tooling

Frontend web developers generally have to master 3 technologies to write modern web applications:

  • HTML: declarative language for structuring a web page
  • CSS: Declarative language for applying styles to a static page
  • Javascript: imperative language for initializing and reacting to page events and defining behavior in response to those events

There is a huge ecosystem of technologies and tooling that developers have to choose from to accomplish their goals. They generally fall into one of a few categories:

  • Development and build tooling like WebPack and Rollup.js
  • CSS superset languages/compilers like SCSS
  • Javascript superset languages like Typescript and Clojurescript
  • Javascript Frameworks like React and Vue.js

The Framework aims to replace all these technologies with Go:

  • Development and build tooling: framework itself provides a development server and build tool, all based on the standard Go toolchain
  • CSS superset languages/compilers: CSS is written in Go
  • Javascript superset languages: If the framework is outputting a standard web app, Javascript is generated by the framework using GopherJS & Vecty. If it is outputting WASM, behavior is built int
  • Javascript frameworks: the framework itself is based on Vecty and GopherJS and incorporates common features like a router and a state management system like Redux

Backend Tooling

Framework assumes that Buffalo is used for server routing, and it's used in API-only mode. None of the buffalo frontend pipeline features are used, since the framework handles all of the frontend build & development tasks.

Framework also has helpers to make RPC from frontend to backend easier. For example, it can generate code on the frontend and backend to add a new RPC method.

Framework can do server side rendering if the developer opts in to letting framework handle RPC and routing.

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