Mike's corner of the web.

Sharing JavaScript between the browser and the server

Saturday 22 October 2011 09:20

When talking about node.js, I usually hear people give two reasons why they love it. The first is that it uses an event-driven model for concurrency, rather than using threads and blocking function calls. The second is that node.js allows you to use the same language, JavaScript, on both the browser and the server. You can then share logic that might otherwise be duplicated, such as validation of user input. Yet people often dismiss the latter point, saying that when they do web development, the amount of logic that ends up being duplicated is neglible, since the code on the browser and on the server address different concerns.

My question is: have we got this the wrong way round? Does code on the browser and server tend to address separate concerns precisely because sharing logic between them is hard? Once we start using the same language on both sides, we might start to see new ideas that this brings to the table. With modern web applications, we see more and more code that we might have previously expected to see on the server being brought into the browser. If we can easily move code between the browser and server, then we start to have an enourmous amount of flexibility: we can easily change our minds about where some particular code should be executed both when building our application, and at run-time.

Topics: JavaScript, Software design

Thoughts? Comments? Feel free to drop me an email at hello@zwobble.org. You can also find me on Twitter as @zwobble.