When To Use Client Side vs Server Side vs AJAX

Before AJAX, it was fairly clear to me where to draw the line between functionality best performed server-side vs client-side.  For example, database access and data processing is done on the server, and basic field validation and other UI stuff is done on the client.  But now with AJAX implemented through Atlas, the line is blured. 

I know what can be done... but what is the optimal way to design a web application using Atlas (in terms of what functionality should be implemented server-side versus client-side versus Ajax)?  What is the prevailing programming model?  I would guess that Microsoft is designing Atlas with a certain model in mind, what is it?

A blog article by Nikhilk has some good discussion on this (http://www.nikhilk.net/AtlasProgModel.aspx), but doesn't present a final conclusion.

12/22/2005 10:50:02 PM
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I don't think there is one and only one way. There really are two programming models:

- UI logic on the server; communication from the client involves sending input fields to the server, and HTML back to the client.

- UI logic and some app logic on the client; communication is raw data across the wire.

Atlas will support both. The former is a more incremental approach, and is what we enabled with the December release. The latter is a newer model, and we focused on this in our PDC release. Hope to get more info on these put together, but not so much from the perspective of making a final conclusion. Different apps are better suited to different approaches.

Nikhil Kothari

Weblog: http://www.nikhilk.net
12/23/2005 1:08:06 AM

Thanks Nikhil. 

To me it seems like this is the big picture direction ASP.NET is going: 

Server-side applications without JavaScript do not provide a great user interface. So Atlas provides the advantages of the interactivity provided by JavaScript along with the advantages of server-side programming.

But we are still using server-side technology because:

-server can deliver different content (both HTML and JavaScript) based on the target browser compatibility.  Programmer doesn't need to write separate versions of JavaScript code; instead the programmer writes code at a higher level that is parsed into JavaScript based on browser.

-server allows programer to separate interface code from logic code (code-behind).

-server, through CLR, allows the use of many traditional programming languages (C) to code logic, instead of using JavaScript.

-server-side code, however, is no longer needed to do data access.


Now with Atlas, since postbacks are not necessary, an entire application could take place on one .aspx page.  For the user, this would be fine, but for the developer, this would be a nightmare.  All the advantages of separating display code (HTML) from logic code (C#) using the code-behind model would be lost.  I would think the best practice, even with Atlas, would be to do a postback and go to a different .aspx page each time the application requires major changes in the user interface.  Like going from a data entry page to a data display page.  Agree?




12/27/2005 5:34:42 PM

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