The smallest RealWorld implementation

Five years ago, I wrote an essay titled SPAs are Just Harder, and Always Will Be. I showed why traditional, server-side web apps are easier to build and maintain than Single-Page Applications (SPAs). The EWL team has applied this concept and, with the help of our built-in user interface, we’ve just completed the smallest RealWorld example implementation to date.

EWL RealWorld is available on GitHub. The following two charts show how it compares to the combination of the React front end with the ASP.NET Core back end.

  .NET code measured by  NDepend , with generated code excluded.

.NET code measured by NDepend, with generated code excluded.

  React JavaScript/HTML code measured by  Jacek Schae  with  cloc . React CSS code measured from  Conduit template , which is provided by RealWorld but is something you would maintain if you owned the app.

React JavaScript/HTML code measured by Jacek Schae with cloc. React CSS code measured from Conduit template, which is provided by RealWorld but is something you would maintain if you owned the app.

What Makes the Difference?

The EWL implementation is not only smaller because of its traditional server-side architecture, but also because EWL includes a built-in user interface and automatic form layout much like what is provided by proprietary low-code platforms such as Salesforce and Mendix. There is no hand-coded HTML and very little CSS. As an EWL developer, you give up some control over your app’s look and feel in exchange for a big productivity boost.

Other Benefits

EWL RealWorld gets a lot for free:

It also runs on an open, cloud-agnostic operations platform.

Short-Term Weaknesses

We began the EWL project with the birth of .NET in 2002. Its web framework started as an extension of ASP.NET Web Forms, which is why EWL systems still include .aspx files and ugly, query-string-parameter URLs. We’re in the midst of a multi-year project to move the web framework to ASP.NET Core, which will fix these issues while also enabling all EWL systems to run on Linux. The bulk of our changes are taking place under the hood, which means you can begin an EWL project today and expect no more than the usual number of breaking changes each month (the home page explains our continuous-adaptive-maintenance approach).