But that’s about to change with the entry of Blazor by Microsoft. Just imagine, .NET web apps running on a browser, without any plugins or coding wizardry. Unbelievable, right?
Let’s learn more about Blazor, the fantastic .NET web framework that has taken the app world by storm.
What Exactly is Blazor?
Blazor is a markup syntax, using which you can embed server-based code into your web pages. It is comparable to Angular or React, the only difference being that it is powered by C#. Based on the latest web standards, Blazor doesn’t require any add-ons or plugins to work.
As a result, Blazor bundles full-stack app development with the same consistency, stability, and productivity that .NET provides. Moreover, Blazor is completely open-source since it is implemented through WebAssembly.
WebAssembly is the secret sauce that makes this magic possible. It is a web standard that converts high-level languages to a simplified form that runs at the speed of native machine codes. Thanks to this groundbreaking platform, code based on sophisticated languages like C# and F# can be run on web browsers.
Now, let’s read about all of Blazor’s benefits below.
Advantages of Creating Full-Stack Web Apps Using Blazor
Blazor has the same benefits that a modern-age single page application (SPA) like Vue or React offers. Plus, both the client-side and server-side coding can be done using the same .NET technology. This means you can reuse the same classes on both sides.
In short, web apps built on the Blazor framework are fast and native-like. Their code is customizable, secured, and shareable. Let’s take a look at all the advantages of Blazor-based development.
1. You Can Run .NET Code in Browsers
With the advent of WebAssembly, the monopoly that NodeJS enjoyed in app development comes to an end. Via client-side Blazor, the same validation code can be used for all in-browser logic.
If you use the client-side Blazor framework, you can develop performance-intensive apps like video gaming and augmented reality easily. Plus, Blazor is pre-compiled into WebAssembly so your server-side code is deployed and run faster than in languages like JS. As the full-stack cycle progresses, the deployment completes and code execution becomes even faster.
You may not notice the speed difference in simple codes, but the difference is palpable in sophisticated programs.
3. Codesharing Is Possible on Server and Client Sides
Often, the same validation code that is run on the client-side needs to be executed on the server-side.
For instance, you can tell users that they have entered a non-existent username as soon as they enter it, to save them a round trip to the server. Then, the same validation code is implemented on the server-side just to double-check the user input for the pre-fed username logic.
When you use Balzor, you create a class library with the validation algorithm and add the library as a reference to your user-facing Balzor app and the server-side app. This way, the same bit of code is deployed but without writing the class twice. Naturally, you save a lot of effort and development time.
4. Blazor-Powered Apps Can Run Offline
Blazor-run apps don’t consume too much network bandwidth since the server-side Blazor doesn’t pass data to the server time and again. Once users download the app from the internet, they can use the app completely without web support, with no impact on speed or performance.
Does this mean that Blazor is flawless? To answer this question, let’s look at its drawbacks.
Is Blazor Just Hype?
With a recent roll-out in May 2020, Blazor is still in the infantile stage. It has, thus, quite a few disadvantages that the team hopes to iron out as the framework matures.
1. Huge Payload
As of now, a fresh Blazor project weighs around 2.4MB. Since the entire server-side code needs to be shipped onto the client-side, the payload inflates. This means that even if your code contains a few lines only, the app size can run into megabytes.
2. Long Initial Load Time
If your users have poor internet connectivity or are working on non-standard browsers, they can get frustrated with long load times. They have to wait out the period when the WebAssembly is downloading and static files on the server-side are being created.
3. Restricted Runtime
4. Limited Debugging Capability
Client-side Blazor apps have their own custom debugging tab, but it has limited options. So, if your app has complex logic with hard-to-track bugs, you may have to write an initial code for debugging or place a huge amount of code into logging. To an extent, this nullifies the time-saving benefit of Blazor apps.
What is the Future of Blazor?
We wouldn’t be over-optimistic if we forecast a bright future for Blazor. Currently, there is a huge barrier to entry of .NET apps in the webspace. Blazor can help full-stack developers in this area.
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