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Front-end Integration with Rails

After understanding the importance of writing secure code with Rails in our previous article, let’s move on to an equally crucial aspect: Rails Front-end integration.

This will help you achieve seamless interaction between the server (back-end) and the client (front-end) in web applications.

What is Front-end Integration?

Front-end integration, in the context of web applications, refers to the process of combining various front-end technologies with the backend framework.

In simpler terms, it’s all about how the user interface interacts with the server to fetch, display, or manipulate data.

Why Front-end Integration with Rails Matters

Ruby on Rails is lauded for its effectiveness and speed in building robust back-end applications. However, no matter how performant the server-side framework is, the user experience depends largely on the front end.

A smooth integration ensures an appealing, fast, and responsive user interface leading to a better user experience.

Setting up the Front-End Environment in Rails

Rails use the asset pipeline for managing assets, such as JavaScript, CSS, and images. Starting from Rails 6, Webpack is used by default and is defined by the Webpacker gem.

Here is a simple setup:

rails new myapp --webpack
cd myapp
bin/rails server (or rails s)

This will create a new Rails app with Webpack configured.

Integrating JavaScript Libraries and Frameworks with Rails

In addition to the default jQuery library, many developers prefer to use modern JavaScript frameworks, such as React and Angular.

The Webpacker gem makes integration straightforward with commands like:

rails webpacker:install:react

This installs React within a Rails project.

Creating Interactive UI with AJAX and Rails

AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) allows the browser to communicate with the server in the background, updating the user interface without reloading the page.

Here is a basic example of adding AJAX to a Rails project:

$ rails generate controller ajax demo

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