Browser + Razor = Blazor!

In case you missed it, a few days ago Microsoft decided to enter the Single Page Application (SPA) frameworks war. Well not in a fully committed way yet, but nevertheless in a rather interesting way. Blazor will allow developers to write SPA Web applications, using C# and Razor syntax. Yes you will be able to build composable web UIs using C#! This is direct competition with popular frameworks such as Angular and React. I know what you will all say “I just got done learning Angular, React, Aurelia, Meteor, Ember, Polymer, Backbone, Vue, Knockout, Mercury, and was so looking forward to learning the next great JavaScript framework”. Well you still can but maybe, just maybe in the future you might not have to.

This is all made possible by the work the Mono team at Microsoft has been busy with. They have been working on bringing Mono to WebAssembly. WebAssembly has been around for a while now and it allows for the efficient and safe execition of code in web browsers. As a matter of fact WebAssembly is an open standard and with the introduction of iOS 11 it is now pretty much universally available on all major browsers. The Mono team has managed to bring the ability to run C# code within WebAssembly and hence develop applications using C# and Razor that natively run in the browser. WebAssembly is designed as an open standard by a W3C Community Group. You can learn more about it http://webassembly.org/.

All this is currently in the very early stages of development but it is all very exciting. Even though Microsoft says this is not a committed project, it seems to be heading to the right direction. This could help Web Developers to finally have a “go to” framework for SPA development instead of having to learn and pick between the ever changing JavaScript SPA frameworks.

You can see a live demo here https://blazor-demo.github.io/.

This is all part of the long term Microsoft strategy to embrace as many environments and tools as possible. They have been heavily investing in attracting as many developers as possible to their ecosystem. With their efforts in delivering open source frameworks and free cross platform development environments they are aiming to get people using their tools with the hope, of course, that they will choose Azure as their hosting platform. Long gone the days that Microsoft can demand huge sums for IDEs and compilers. Nowadays all an engineer needs is a good text editor and an LLVM compiler and off they go. Microsoft simply decided to provide most of their tools free of charge in order to attract people to their platform. Blazor is another great example of how they are shifting and embracing this brave new open world.

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