Basic Server Side Rendering with Vue.js and Express

Basic Server Side Rendering with Vue.js and Express

Basic Server Side Rendering with Vue.js and Express - Server side rendering (SSR) is one of those things that’s long been touted as one of the greatest strengths of React, Angular 2+, and Vue 2...

Basic Server Side Rendering with Vue.js and Express - Server side rendering (SSR) is one of those things that’s long been touted as one of the greatest strengths of React, Angular 2+, and Vue 2...

It allows you to render your apps on the server, then hydrate them with client side reactivity after the page loads, greatly increasing the responsiveness and improving the load time of your paSges.

Unfortunately, it’s not the most obvious thing to set up, and the documentation for rendering Vue.js apps on the server is spread across several places. Hopefully this guide should help clear things up for you. :)

Installation

We’ll start with vue-cli’s webpack-simple template to give us a common base to work with.

# Create the project
$ vue init webpack-simple vue-ssr-example
$ cd vue-ssr-example

# Install dependencies
$ yarn # (or npm install)

We’ll also need three other packages, express for the server, vue-server-renderer to render the bundle, which is produced by vue-ssr-webpack-plugin.

# Install with yarn ...
$ yarn add express vue-server-renderer
$ yarn add vue-ssr-webpack-plugin -D # Add this as a development dependency as we don't need it in production.

# ... or with NPM
$ npm install express vue-server-renderer
$ npm install vue-ssr-webpack-plugin -D

Preparing the App

The webpack-simple template doesn’t come with SSR capability right out of the box. There are a few things we’ll have to configure first.

The first thing to do is create a separate entry file for the server. Right now the client entry is in main.js. Let’s copy that and create main.server.js from it. The modifications are fairly simple. We just need to remove the el reference and return the app in the default export.

import Vue from 'vue';
import App from './App.vue';

// Receives the context of the render call, returning a Promise resolution to the root Vue instance.
export default context => {
  return Promise.resolve(
    new Vue({
      render: h => h(App)
    })
  );
}

We also need to modify index.html a bit to prepare it for SSR.

Replace

with <!–vue-ssr-outlet–>, like so:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
  <head>
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <title>vue-ssr-example</title>
  </head>
  <body>
    <!--vue-ssr-outlet-->
    <script src="/dist/build.js"></script>
  </body>
</html>

Webpack Configuration

Now, we need a separate webpack configuration file to render the server bundle. Copy webpack.config.js into a new file, webpack.server.config.js.

There are a few changes we’ll need to make:

const path = require('path')
const webpack = require('webpack')
// Load the Vue SSR plugin. Don't forget this. :P
const VueSSRPlugin = require('vue-ssr-webpack-plugin')

module.exports = {
  // The target should be set to "node" to avoid packaging built-ins.
  target: 'node',
  // The entry should be our server entry file, not the default one.
  entry: './src/main.server.js',
  output: {
    path: path.resolve(__dirname, './dist'),
    publicPath: '/dist/',
    filename: 'build.js',
    // Outputs node-compatible modules instead of browser-compatible.
    libraryTarget: 'commonjs2'
  },
  module: {
    rules: [
      {
        test: /\.vue$/,
        loader: 'vue-loader',
        options: {
          loaders: {
          }
          // other vue-loader options go here
        }
      },
      {
        test: /\.js$/,
        loader: 'babel-loader',
        exclude: /node_modules/
      },
      {
        test: /\.(png|jpg|gif|svg)$/,
        loader: 'file-loader',
        options: {
          name: '[name].[ext]?[hash]'
        }
      }
    ]
  },
  resolve: {
    alias: {
      'vue
**Build Config**

To simplify development, let’s update the build scripts in package.json to build both the client and server webpack bundles.

Replace the single build script with these three. Usage stays the same, but you can now build the client or server bundles individually with build:client and build:server, respectively.

{
...
"scripts": {
...
"build": "npm run build:server && npm run build:client",
"build:client": "cross-env NODE_ENV=production webpack --progress --hide-modules",
"build:server": "cross-env NODE_ENV=production webpack --config webpack.server.config.js --progress --hide-modules"
},
...
}


**Server Script**

Now, we need the server script to, well, render the application.

#!/usr/bin/env node

const fs = require('fs');
const express = require('express');
const { createBundleRenderer } = require('vue-server-renderer');

const bundleRenderer = createBundleRenderer(
// Load the SSR bundle with require.
require('./dist/vue-ssr-bundle.json'),
{
// Yes, I know, readFileSync is bad practice. It's just shorter to read here.
template: fs.readFileSync('./index.html', 'utf-8')
}
);

// Create the express app.
const app = express();

// Serve static assets from ./dist on the /dist route.
app.use('/dist', express.static('dist'));

// Render all other routes with the bundleRenderer.
app.get('*', (req, res) => {
bundleRenderer
// Renders directly to the response stream.
// The argument is passed as "context" to main.server.js in the SSR bundle.
.renderToStream({url: req.path})
.pipe(res);
});

// Bind the app to this port.
app.listen(8080);


**Running the App**

If all goes well, you should be able build the bundle and run the server with:

Build client and server bundles.

$ npm run build

Run the HTTP server.

$ node ./server.js


If you visit [http://localhost:8080](http://localhost:8080 "http://localhost:8080"), everything should look… the same. However, if you disable JavaScript, everything will still look the same, because the app is being rendered on the server first.

**Caveats**

Any modules that are loaded from node_modules instead of the bundle cannot be able to be changed across requests, (ie, have a global state.) Otherwise you will get inconsistent results when rendering your application.

Make sure you write your tables properly (include the thead and/or tbodywrapper elements.) The client-side version can detect these issues, but the server-side version cannot, which can result in hydration inconsistencies.

**Bonus Round**
* Try making the app display something different depending on whether it was rendered on the client or the server. Hint: You can pass props to App from the root render function.
* Sync Vuex state from the server to the client. It might involve some global variables!




Originally published by **Joshua Bemenderfer ** *at ***alligator.io**

==================================

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### **Learn More**




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☞ [Master Vuejs from scratch (incl Vuex, Vue Router)](http://learnstartup.net/p/dV9zwnghV "Master Vuejs from scratch (incl Vuex, Vue Router)")

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☞ [Vue.js Essentials - 3 Course Bundle](http://learnstartup.net/p/SJyGGVW2Z "Vue.js Essentials - 3 Course Bundle")

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: 'vue/dist/vue.esm.js'
    }
  },
  // We can remove the devServer block.
  performance: {
    hints: false
  },
  // Avoids bundling external dependencies, so node can load them directly from node_modules/
  externals: Object.keys(require('./package.json').dependencies),
  devtool: 'source-map',
  // No need to put these behind a production env variable.
  plugins: [
    // Add the SSR plugin here.
    new VueSSRPlugin(),
    new webpack.DefinePlugin({
      'process.env': {
        NODE_ENV: '"production"'
      }
    }),
    new webpack.optimize.UglifyJsPlugin({
      sourceMap: true,
      compress: {
        warnings: false
      }
    }),
    new webpack.LoaderOptionsPlugin({
      minimize: true
    })
  ]
}

Build Config

To simplify development, let’s update the build scripts in package.json to build both the client and server webpack bundles.

Replace the single build script with these three. Usage stays the same, but you can now build the client or server bundles individually with build:client and build:server, respectively.

{
  ...
  "scripts": {
    ...
    "build": "npm run build:server && npm run build:client",
    "build:client": "cross-env NODE_ENV=production webpack --progress --hide-modules",
    "build:server": "cross-env NODE_ENV=production webpack --config webpack.server.config.js --progress --hide-modules"
  },
  ...
}

Server Script

Now, we need the server script to, well, render the application.

#!/usr/bin/env node

const fs = require('fs');
const express = require('express');
const { createBundleRenderer } = require('vue-server-renderer');

const bundleRenderer = createBundleRenderer(
  // Load the SSR bundle with require.
  require('./dist/vue-ssr-bundle.json'),
  {
    // Yes, I know, readFileSync is bad practice. It's just shorter to read here.
    template: fs.readFileSync('./index.html', 'utf-8')
  }
);

// Create the express app.
const app = express();

// Serve static assets from ./dist on the /dist route.
app.use('/dist', express.static('dist'));

// Render all other routes with the bundleRenderer.
app.get('*', (req, res) => {
  bundleRenderer
    // Renders directly to the response stream.
    // The argument is passed as "context" to main.server.js in the SSR bundle.
    .renderToStream({url: req.path})
    .pipe(res);
});

// Bind the app to this port.
app.listen(8080);

Running the App

If all goes well, you should be able build the bundle and run the server with:

# Build client and server bundles.
$ npm run build
# Run the HTTP server.
$ node ./server.js

If you visit http://localhost:8080, everything should look… the same. However, if you disable JavaScript, everything will still look the same, because the app is being rendered on the server first.

Caveats

Any modules that are loaded from node_modules instead of the bundle cannot be able to be changed across requests, (ie, have a global state.) Otherwise you will get inconsistent results when rendering your application.

Make sure you write your tables properly (include the thead and/or tbodywrapper elements.) The client-side version can detect these issues, but the server-side version cannot, which can result in hydration inconsistencies.

Bonus Round

  • Try making the app display something different depending on whether it was rendered on the client or the server. Hint: You can pass props to App from the root render function.
  • Sync Vuex state from the server to the client. It might involve some global variables!

What are the differences between the various JavaScript frameworks? E.g. Vue.js, Angular.js, React.js

What are the differences? Do they each have specific use contexts?

What are the differences? Do they each have specific use contexts?

Ember.js vs Vue.js - Which is JavaScript Framework Works Better for You

Ember.js vs Vue.js - Which is JavaScript Framework Works Better for You

In this article we will discuss full details and comparison of both Ember.js and Vue.js

JavaScript was initially created to work for web applications. But today they have become the favorite of mobile app developers. Most of the developers prefer to work with frameworks based on JavaScript. It simplifies coding. You can use JavaScript with almost any framework.

The use of a particular framework will decide how easy and fast it is to create the app. So, you must choose the best one suited for the app that you are planning to build. You must make a wise choice so that you benefit in the end. Among the crowded market, two of the frameworks stand out. We will make a comparison between Ember.js and Vue.js.

Why Do You Select A Particular Framework?

Before we start comparing the two frameworks, we should understand the factors that lead to the choice of a framework. Each developer chooses a framework before he or she goes to work on an app. Let us see the reasons for the selection.

● The codes must be easy to understand and transparent.

● The framework should give the maximum power with the least amount of coding.

● The framework should provide a well laid out structure to work on.

● Does the framework support an in-built router or an external plug-in router?

● The framework should be able to transfer more data on a full page-load so that it becomes a single-page app. A single-page app is more beneficial for the application.

● In single page architectures if there is a need for users to share links to sub-screens within the interface, then the framework should have the capacity to route based on the URL.

● A tighter template option can help in enabling two-way binding.

● The framework should not conflict any third-party library.

● Testing the codes inside the framework should be easy.

● The framework should provide the HTTP client service for AJAX calls

● The documentation is essential. It should be complete and up-to-date.

● The framework should be compatible with the latest version of the browser.

● The framework has to fulfill the above conditions for easy construction of the app. You must ensure that the framework you choose meets the conditions.

Vue.js Explained

Developers are always looking at new frameworks to build their apps. The main requirements are speed and low cost. The framework should be easy to use by even new developers. You should be able to use it at low cost. Other considerations are about simple coding, proper documentation, etc.

Vue.js combines a lot of good when it comes to software language for web app development. The architecture of Vue.js is easy to put in use. The apps developed using Vue.js are easy to integrate with new apps.

Vue.js is a very lightweight framework. It makes it fast to download. It is also much faster than other frameworks. The single-file component nature of the framework is also beneficial. The size has made it very popular.

You can further decrease weight. With Vue.js you can separate the template-to-virtual DOM and compiler. You can only deploy the minified and zipped interpreter which is only 12 KB. You can compile the templates in your machine.

Another significant advantage of Vue.js is that it can integrate easily with existing applications created with JavaScript. It will make it easy for using this framework to make changes to applications already present.

Vue.js also integrates easily with other front-end libraries. You can plug in another library and make up for any deficiency in this framework. This feature makes this tool a versatile one.

Vue.js uses the method of rendering on the streaming-side server. You can render your component and get a readable stream. You can then send this to the HTTP server. It makes the server highly responsive. Your users will get the rendered content very quickly.

Vue.js is very SEO friendly. As the framework supports server-side rendering, the views are rendered directly on the server. The search engines list these.

But the most important thing for you is the ease with which you can learn Vue.js. The structure is elementary. Even new developers will find it easy to use it to build their apps. This framework helps in developing both small and large templates. It helps to save a lot of time.

You can go back and check your errors very easily. You can travel back and inspect all the states apart from testing your components. It is another important feature as far as any developer is concerned.

Vue.js also has very detailed documentation. It helps in writing your applications very quickly. You can build a web page or app with the basic knowledge of HTML or JavaScript.

● Vue.js has pure architecture. It helps in integration with other apps

● Vue.js is lightweight and fast. It can be made lighter by deploying only the interpreter

● You can separate the compiler and the template-to-virtual DOM.

● Due to smooth integration, you can use this to make changes to existing apps

● To make up for any shortfall, you can plug-in any library and makeup.

● As Vue.js uses streaming-side server rendering, your users can get quick responses.

● The server-side rendering also helps in being ranked higher by search engines.

● It has a simple structure. Easy to use for any new developer

● You can go back and check and correct your errors.

● You can check all the existing states.

● Detail documentation also helps build the web page or application very quickly.

Ember.js Decoded

Ember.js is an MVVM model framework. It is open-source software. This platform is mostly used for creating complex multi-page applications. It maintains up-to-date features without discarding any of the old features.

With this framework, you have to follow the architecture of the framework strictly. The JS framework is very tightly organized. It reduces the flexibility that other frameworks might offer.

There is a very refined and developed control system for its platforms and tools. You can integrate it with the new version with the tools provided. There is strict guidance about avoiding outdated APIs.

You can understand Ember’s APIs easily. They are also easy to work. You can make use of highly complex functionalities simply and straightforwardly.

The performance is better as similar jobs are processed together. It creates batches of similar bindings and DOM updates to improve the performance. It means that the browser needs to process them in one go. It will avoid recomputing for each task, wasting a lot of time.

You can write the codes in a simple manner and modules. You can use any of Ember’s APIs. It is possible due to the presence of Promises everywhere.

Ember comes with a well-written guide. The API is recorded in a useful manner. It is a front-end framework that is loaded. Ember has a router, pipeline, services, etc. of its own.

The basis for views, controllers, models, and framework is the Ember Object Model. All components come from the same objects. The framework is firm and steady. The reason is that all elements have similar jobs and characteristics.

Ember has made the general application, organization, and structure clear so that you don’t make any mistakes. You will have no chance to complicate the application unnecessarily. If you have to go out of the defined limits, you will have to force your way out.

The language used for templating in Embers is Handlebars. This language helps Embers to keep its logic out of view. The clean syntax of Handlebars makes it easy for you to read and understand the templates. Handlebar templates are faster to load.

Another advantage you gain from Handlebar is that you don’t have to update your template every time you add or remove data from the page. It will be done automatically by the language itself.

A community that is continually improving the framework supports Ember. They are updating the framework with the latest technology. They also make sure that backward compatibility is possible.

● Ember.js is an open-source MVVM model framework suitable for complex multiple-page applications.

● It offers both the latest and old features.

● It has a very tightly structured framework which doesn’t offer much flexibility

● A very refined control system helps you to integrate with new versions without any problem.

● There is strict guidance about avoiding outdated API versions.

● Ember’s APIs help you to use complex functionalities in a simple manner

● There is no recomputing for each task as the framework allows the browser to do similar functions together.

● Promises allow you to write modular and straightforward code using any API of Ember.js.

● Ember.js is a fully loaded, front-end framework.

● The framework is stable because all components have the same functionalities and properties.

● It has well-defined limitations which will prevent your complicating your application

● Handlebars, the language used by Ember.js allows you to read and understand templates easily. It also helps to load the templates faster.

● Handlebars will ensure to update the template every time you add or remove data.

● Ember.js has an active community that updates the framework regularly and facilitates backward compatibility.

A Comparison Between Ember.js And Vue.js

This article intends to compare the features of both frameworks. Let us see how the characteristics of these frameworks compare. It will help you to make use of the right framework for your web application.

When you need a modern engine for an old application, it is Vue.js which will help you. It combines the best properties of other frameworks. Vue.js is a developing framework. A ready-to-use library of interface elements does not exist. However, many third-party libraries can help you.

Ember.js offers you a well-organized and trustworthy framework. When the development team is big, this is the framework that suits best. It allows everyone to understand the written code and contribute to a common project. The technology will be up-to-date, and the platform will be stable.

Vue.js can help you use the syntax of different kinds. It helps in writing the codes with ease. It is also an SEO friendly framework. Ember is a fully loaded front-end framework and can help you develop the applications very fast. But it is not suitable for developing small projects.

It is not easy to say this is better than that. It will depend on what kind of project you have undertaken. Both have their pluses and minuses. The below table will help in a better comparison.

Final Thoughts

It is not easy to conclude as to which is better. It all depends on the application that you want to develop. Both frameworks are developing. Both are getting updates. Both the communities are working on the frameworks.

While Vue.js is more comfortable for writing codes, Ember is a full-stack framework allowing the development of apps very fast. It is suitable for big projects. It is too complicated to be used for smaller projects.

We hope you had a great time reading this article. If you’ve any questions or suggestions related to this blog, then feel free to ask them in the comment section. Thank You.!