Currently, a lot of companies are migrating from Desktop applications (mostly written in Java) to Web applications for their products as well as for their internal tooling. When they start with this process they often ask themselves: Which technologies should we use to build our Web application? Should we use Angular.js or React? Or should we go with recommendations like ROCA instead of a Single Page Application?
The LVM insurance company wanted an answer for this last question. They decided to let two consulting companies (thinktecture and innoQ) build a prototype for a part of the functionality of their existing Java Desktop application:
- thinktecture was asked to build it using a SPA approach.
- innoQ was asked to build it following ROCA guidelines.
One requirement was to show how the application could be built in separate teams that should be able to work independently of one another. Those teams should also use different versions of frameworks and libraries or even various frameworks. thinktecture solved this by building an application consisting of parts written in Angular 1, Angular 2 and React. We decided to build four self-contained systems.
The entire code written for this contest was released as open source. You are invited to check out the two applications as well as the source code and provide your feedback. Which approach do you prefer? What would you have done differently? You can find an explanation of the requirements as well as links to all the source code here.
A consequence of the combination of the shared assets and the usage of progressive enhancement is that the developers of the systems do not need to learn CSS and JS in depth. The documentation of the shared assets package acts as a living style guide, which can be used as a kind of catalog: Pick the element you need and add the appropriate HTML to your application. Done.
Due to the small assets and very few HTTP requests per page, the applications are fast and responsive. This is also true for slow Internet connections. Due to the usage of PJAX, the transition between pages is almost instantaneous.
In conclusion, we think that this solution has many advantages over the other presented solution:
- Independent development and deployment of the systems.
- A fast and responsive application without any loading animations, even for slow connections.
- An established and well designed architecture that combines the best practices of ROCA and SCS.
That being said, you can check out the two solutions yourself and form your own opinion. You can also just try out our solution here. What would you have done, given the same requirements? How does it apply to the requirements you are addressing in your project?