Suddenly server-side rendering in Angular has emerged as a popular technology solution for Angular based web apps. No wonder, several leading Angular Development Services are increasingly adopting this model. Typically, a single-page app running on the browser of a client doesn’t allow loading page elements in the server-side that further can be updated with the client-side app.

On the other hand, server-side rendering of the app allows loading the app faster on client-end while the rest of the app elements load in the background and in the server. This besides boosting the app performance, also offers better search engine exposure to the web content. There are several other benefits of server-side rendering in Angular that we will discuss in the course of this post.

What is Server-Side Rendering (SSR)?

Server-Side Rendering (SSR) is a term that refers to the latest effort to render web pages on the server-side to deal with the shortcomings of the static client-side rendering of web pages. Let us explain the concept starting from its origin to the development and manifestation.

  • The Origin of Server-Side Rendering

Though here we are discussing precisely server-side rendering in the context of the Angular web apps, the concept is in existence from the early days of server-side programming with languages such as Java, PHP, Python, and Ruby. Any developer who has built Ruby on Rails app or written dynamic application code in index.php file has a comprehensive idea about server-side rendering.

Let’s explain the server-side rendering in the context of web apps. Before websites were built fully using JavaScript-based client-side rendering, we used to see the same data retrieved from the HTML files rendered all over without any difference between the client and the server-side. Only when entirely JavaScript-based client-side rendering started with the modern single-page websites, we faced the difference with the earlier websites rendered for both the server and client-side.

The JavaScript Revolution and Server-Side Rendering

To understand how the concept of server-side rendering evolved we need to understand the way JavaScript has emerged and evolved as a key web development technology. Thanks to JavaScript, browsers have become more powerful and feature-rich than ever before. This prompted developers to build web apps for entirely client-side JavaScript-based browsers.  This is how an entire generation of client-side apps have emerged.

This further prompted developers to use single page application (SPA) frameworks like Angular. As one of the oldest frameworks Angular had the biggest share of this evolution and value addition. Angular remained to be the most popular JavaScript framework for building high-performance single page websites. The biggest benefit of this approach is that without doing much with the PHP code and server-side technologies you can build a dynamic and versatile website in quick time.

But this approach was soon recognized as problematic for a variety of reasons. For instance, as the initially loaded HTML data doesn’t contain all data that can be returned from the server to the user clients. This difference with the server-side actually makes a single-page website less exposed to the search engine crawlers affecting the website negatively in search rank. On the other hand, a slower connection can often prove to be challenging for rendering JavaScript in the browser.

The Promise of Universal JavaScript

This is the solution that ultimately arrived to address the above-mentioned shortcomings. This new solution brought the new approach of combining traditional server-side rendering with JavaScript. This is the kind of solution that NodeJS brought us with the Universal JavaScript. For the first time, we have JavaScript code that can be run in both the server and browser.

When to Use Server Side Rendering?

Now that you have a basic idea of what Server-Side Rendering (SSR) is, we need to understand the specific reasons for which server-side rendering comes as the ideal solution. Let us explain these two specific reasons.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When you target search engine ranking to grow organic traffic for your web pages and the deep links of the website, server-side rendering is very essential as most of the leading search engines do not crawl the complex JavaScript apps well. Search engines are mostly capable of crawling plain and simple HTML code and that’s precisely what server-side rendering provides.

  • Social Media Linkbot Previews

For content marketing when you need to publish website links on social media platforms, again server-side rendering is considered to be very important because most of the leading social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others cannot crawl the complex JavaScript code well.

Angular Universal vs Rendertron

As of now, you must be asking whether there is an alternative technology for parsing the JavaScript pages and apps effectively. Well, many developers refer to Rendertron as an effective solution. But while opting for Rendertron, keep the following differences in mind.

Rendertron
  • Rendertron allows easy setting up.
  • Rendertron is also a lot slower in rendering and can severely affect performance.
Angular Universal
  • Angular Universal is comparatively difficult to setup
  • Angular Universal allows faster rendering and hence is more performance-driven.
  • Angular Universal allows more control and reliability.

Key Benefits of Server-Side Rendering

Server-side rendering offers a plethora of advantages for modern web apps. Let us have a quick look at the key benefits and how they ensure better user experience and positive outcome for the web businesses.

  • Enhanced User Engagement

Server side rendering is not something new in the arena of web development. It is there from the early days of web development. As the trusted and tested solution it now solves modern web problems with JavaScript. Instead of refuting JavaScript, Angular Universal retains the power of JavaScript along with server side rendering approach. There is no wonder in the fact that both Angular and React now introduced server side scripting to ensure both dynamic and interactive frontend while ensuring faster load time.

  • Optimum Web Page Performance

When the difference in hardware capabilities can really undermine the web page performance and loading speed to a great extent, server-side rendering can take care of the load time and performance glitches to a great extent. Since with Universal Angular or similar server-side JavaScript rendering the so-called loading difficulties can be minimised, the user in spite of the type of device they use the app instantly.

  • Search Engine Optimization

The JavaScript code in the front-end because of their complexities are not understood or read by the Search engines crawlers. This is why while facing such complex JavaScript frontend pages, the crawler often returns blank pages to the users. This actually makes a front-end web app missing the search engine visibility and traffic.

On the other hand, because of less complex code similar to HTML, server-side scripts are highly crawlable and help a web page compete for search engine rank. For all businesses investing heavily on search engine optimization and digital marketing to gain organic traffic through search engines, server-side rendering is a must-have solution. In the same manner, to share links on social media and get visitors a website needs cannot rely on frontend JavaScript that cannot be parsed by social media platforms.

Conclusion

Server-side rendering solutions like Angular Universal and React Server Side scripting ultimately delivered a long-awaited solution. It brought together the versatile dynamic client-side programming capability of JavaScript with the performance-driven server-side scripting.

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