The concept of SOFEA (Service-Oriented Front-End Architecture), outlined
in Life Above the Service Tier
is not new, but it is an important concept. If SOFEA is new to you, the
principles of it are as follows:
SOFEA is a metamodel for applications that are thick or thin
Download, presentation and data interchange are decoupled
Presentation flow and state are managed by the client
The presentation tier must feature data structures that are as
rich as the server
Model View Controller is a good pattern for the interface
SOFEA's doppelgänger is known as SOUI (Service Oriented
User Interface). It's common to see both terms listed together and the
reason is that both were defined at roughly the same period of time,
though Ganesh Prasad argued there was a difference in SOFEA and SOUI -
There is a Difference, After
(also see SOFEA: Also known as
essentially want the same thing -- to make services act more like
services regardless of the consumer.
The differences between the two proposals are not all that important.
What I took away from my initial encounter with the general approach is
that of responsibility. At that time, I had a growing internal conflict
with asking the application server (Rails, Django, etc.) to also concern
itself with generating everything necessary for presenting business
SOFEA/SOUI gave a name to my "psychosis" and suggested an alternative
Worry about how to present the information in the actual client
Talk to the application server by sending and receiving only the
essential nuggets of information.
this architecture. Frameworks like Sammy and Jaml are a step along
this path. We owe it to ourselves to try and push this technology
forward and to ease the burdens of our passions, allowing us more time
to focus on the things that are more important; or at least those that
are more interesting.
As Google explains, Closure is derived from tools started as 20%
projects and which have gone on to be used in many of their popular
applications: Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Maps to name a few. Closure
itself is currently composed of three main tools:
It's nice that they have decided to open these tools up. I like the idea
you think about it and Google is providing a Firebug extension called Inspector
(inappropriately named) which will let me see code compiled with
Closure. I think I can live with that. I do, however, think they've made
a bad choice in terms of naming the tool - particularly because I
thought this would be a tool for functional programming.
The Inspector for WebKit has recently been updated and it
looks like they're really committed to making it a useful tool for
developers. They've even added their own event
utility akin to that offered by Eventbug.
Of course, you'll have to install the latest nightly
build of WebKit if you want to play around
with it today.