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RESTful Rails Development by Silvia Puglisi

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Chapter 9. Mapping Data Streams onto an Application UI

In this chapter we are going to venture into aspects of frontend programming and user interface (UI) design. We are going to discover Ember.js, a JavaScript framework, and a different MVC pattern. This is almost a non-Rails chapter, in which we discover how data streamed from our APIs is integrated into a web application to build what is defined as the user experience (UX). The application that will be designed and built in this chapter will use the Citywalks API and display the user’s walks on a map.

Wanderings in Frontend Land

Up to this moment we have been developing API-only applications. You may look at these apps as a sort of skeleton upon which different products can be built. Once you have some data streams, you can combine them in a way that others—users and services—can also consume and reuse.

Therefore, depending on what application you are working on, at a certain point you will need to venture into frontend programming.

Frontend development is defined as the development of those elements of an application that the user sees and directly interacts with. Ultimately users cannot directly interact with JSON; they will need visual elements to manipulate the information that the application is receiving from the different data points.

The widely held misconception about frontend development is that it mainly means creating the application’s graphical interface—i.e., arranging the information containers and action elements ...

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