First encounters of a happy kind – rich web client application development with Vue.js

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Development of rich web applications can be done in various ways, using one or more of many frameworks. In the end it all boils down to HTML(5), CSS and JavaScript, run and interpreted by the browser. But the exact way of getting there differs. Server side oriented Web applications with .NET and Java EE (Servlet, JSP, JSF) and also PHP, Python and Ruby has long been the most important way of architecting web applications. However, with the power of today’s browsers, the advanced state of HTML5 and JavaScript and the high degree of standardization across browsers, it is now almost goes without saying that web applications are implemented with a rich client side that interacts with a backend to a very limited degree and typically only to retrieve or pass data or enlist external services and complex backend operations. What client/server did to terminal based computing in the early nineties, the fat browser is doing now to three tier web computing with its heavy focus on the server side.

The most prominent frameworks for developing these fat browser based clients are Angular and Angular 2, React.js, Ember, complemented by jQuery and a plethora of other libraries, components and frameworks (see for example this list of top 9 frameworks) . And then there is Vue.js. To be honest, I am not sure where Vue ranks in all the trends and StackOverflow comparisons etc. However, I did decide to take a quick look at Vue.js – and I liked what I saw.

From the Vue website:

Vue (pronounced /vjuː/, like view) is a progressive framework for building user interfaces. Unlike other monolithic frameworks, Vue is designed from the ground up to be incrementally adoptable. The core library is focused on the view layer only, and is very easy to pick up and integrate with other libraries or existing projects. On the other hand, Vue is also perfectly capable of powering sophisticated Single-Page Applications when used in combination with modern tooling and supporting libraries.

I have never really taken to Angular. It felt overly complex and I never particularly liked it. Perhaps I should give it another go – now that my understanding of modern web development has evolved. Maybe now I am finally ready for it. Instead, I checked out Vue.js and it made me more than a little happy. I smiled as I read through the introductory guide, because it made sense. The pieces fit together. I understand the purpose of the main moving pieces and I enjoy trying them out. The two way data binding is fun. The encapsulation of components, passing down properties, passing up events – I like that too. The HTML syntax, the use of templates, the close fit with “standard” HTML. It somehow agrees with me.

Note: it is still early days and I have not yet built a serious application with Vue. But I thought I should share some of my excitement.

The creator of Vue, Evan You, Vue.js ( http://evanyou.me/ ), writes about Vue’s origins:

I started Vue as a personal project when I was working at Google Creative Labs in 2013. My job there involved building a lot of UI prototypes. After hand-rolling many of them with vanilla JavaScript and using Angular 1 for a few, I wanted something that captured the declarative nature of Angular’s data binding, but with a simpler, more approachable API. That’s how Vue started.

And that is what appealed to me.

The first thing I did to get started with Vue.js was to read through the Introductory Guide for Vue.js 2.0: https://vuejs.org/v2/guide/ .

Component Tree

It is a succinct tour and explanation, starting at the basics and quickly coming round to the interesting challenges. Most examples in the guide work in line – and using the Google Chrome Addin for Vue.js it is even easier to inspect what is going on in the runtime application.

The easiest way to try out Vue.js (at its simplest) is using the JSFiddle Hello World example.

Next, I read through and followed the example of a more interesting Vue application in this article that shows data (News stories) retrieved from a public REST API (https://newsapi.org):

This example explains in a very enjoyable way how two components are created – news source selection and news story list from selected source- as encapsulated, independent components that still work together. Both components interact with the REST API to fetch their data. The article starts with an instruction on how to install the Vue command line tool and initialize a new project with a generated scaffold. If Node and NPM are already installed, you will be up and running with the hello world of Vue applications in less than 5 minutes.

Vue and Oracle JET

One other line of investigation is how Vue.js can be used in an Oracle JET application, to complement and perhaps even replace KnockOut. More on that:

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About Author

Lucas Jellema, active in IT (and with Oracle) since 1994. Oracle ACE Director and Oracle Developer Champion. Solution architect and developer on diverse areas including SQL, JavaScript, Docker, Machine Learning, Java, SOA and microservices, events in various shapes and forms and many other things. Author of the Oracle Press books: Oracle SOA Suite 11g Handbook and Oracle SOA Suite 12c Handbook. Frequent presenter on community events and conferences such as JavaOne, Oracle Code and Oracle OpenWorld.

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