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+---
+layout: post
+title: "Ember Ecosystem Wishlist for Ambitious Web Applications"
+tags: [ember, javascript]
+---
+
+My startup has been dabbling in Ember for the past 6 or 7 months. That
+is an eon in web dev time. Ember has advanced massively since then.
+However, there is still a ton of work to do. We are building an
+enterprise application on Ember. Our needs are driven by that space. I think
+that most if not all of our wishlist items should be part of the core
+framework. Why? Because Ember is the framework for ambitious web
+applications (hell it says that in their banner). These are ambitious
+features. I think Ember can truly make it possible to build a new
+echelon of web applications.
+
+Here's the list of things we'd like to push forward in the ember
+ecosystem (and are currently working on). Most of these are related to
+ember-data.
+
+## Low Hanging Fruit - Pagination Support in Ember Data
+
+There is no standard way to do pagination with ember data. Pagination is
+not a hard problem. Determining a standard response format is. Here's an
+example. `App.store.findAll(App.User)` should actually load them all.
+Not just the first page if the API is paginated. This is a global
+problem and should be solved at the framework level.
+
+## Low Hanging Fruit - Integrating Push to Keep Client Data in Sync
+
+All complex applications allow data manipulation outside of user
+interaction. I mean not all data changes are done by users sitting on
+there devices. The server may be syncing something in the background
+which brings in new data. How is the client going to know about it? Is it
+periodically polling the server? That's crazy. It's easy to write
+code that pushes all changes. It should be equally easy to push that
+data into data store regardless of what push service you're using.
+Ember-data stores should define a simple interface to accept messages
+over push. Perhaps, the store itself is a web socket client which can
+be connected to your push stream. There are many different ways to do
+this. Everyone will solve this uncomplicated problem in the same way.
+This is exactly why the framework should do it. Ideally, there should be
+no problems if you switch from Websockets/Pusher/Faye/PubNub/Boxcar/etc. The
+messages always arrive.
+
+## Low Hanging Fruit - Local Storage Support in Ember Data
+
+Loading screens blow. I downloaded the data. I shouldn't have to keep
+going to the server to get it again. You are probably using HTTP
+caching, but that still creates network requests. Getting good
+performance means cutting down on network requests. It's not very
+complicated to do in [Backbone](https://github.com/jeromegn/Backbone.localStorage/blob/master/backbone.localStorage.js).
+Ember data should support local storage by default. For example, you
+create your store and you can set `storedLocally: false` if you don't
+want it stored. I think that adding local storage to support to the
+framework and enabling it by default would be a **major** win. Our app
+is dealing with a lot of data. Loading in data takes time and reduces
+performance. We only want to download that data once.
+
+## Ambitious Addition - Integrate Crossfilter to Fast Filtering
+
+Ember-data is slow. Crossfilter is blindingly fast. Crossfilter is perfect
+for doing aggregates and filters. For example: sum all these payments.
+Slice this array by this time range. Crossfilter is fast for doing
+aggregate operations (think SUM/MIN/MAX/AVERAGE) and for filtering
+(WHERE attribute = x). It's light years ahead of ember-data. Have you
+seen the [demo](http://square.github.com/crossfilter/)?! There is a few
+megs of data to download so be patient. Once the data is on the client
+you can see it's fast. Ember data can be this fast--it just needs to use
+crossfilter. There is one problem: most of the time you need ember
+objects and not basic objects. Ember data would have to use crossfilter
+as a query engine then use it's results to return Ember.Objects. I've
+talked to some people who've already done this. It's a hack and
+unfortunately the only way to get acceptable performance.
+
+## Ambitious Addition - Ember Performance
+
+This is a very broad issue and is being addressed in many different
+ways by the core team and other interested parties.
+The TL;DR is that ember just needs to be faster. There are many
+ways to do that. Some of these have been or are in the process of being
+fixed. Here are some issue's we've observed so far.
+
+* `#each` simply blows. This has improved significantly.
+* Don't destroy views when switching. Nearly every application has one
+ panel where the active view is switched in and out. If you're on page
+ A and go to page B, keep page A around. Going back to page A shouldn't
+ redraw the view. We've implemented this in our application.
+* Rendering collections: only redraw items that have changed.
+* Ember-Data: the entire thing needs a lot of work.
+* Computed properties are great, but why do they generate new data each
+ time?
+
+## Ambitious Addition - Finish ActiveModel::Serializers
+
+`ActiveModel::Serializers` is simply awesome. It's the best way to do
+JSON serialization. IIRC, one of its original core purposes was to
+provide a standard interface to connect Rails to Ember-Data. I'd say
+that it's 99% complete. Here are the important missing pieces.
+
+1. Include pagination data for Arrays. Solves the pagination problem.
+2. Polymorphic association support. Polymorphism needs to be addressed
+ on the ember-data side as well.
+3. Use memcache for caching JSON and hashes.
+4. Don't serialize objects from associations that have already been
+ included in the object map.
+
+## Ambitious Addition - Testing
+
+Let's have that baked in testing approach from Sproutcore back. Let's
+even hook it up to something like Casper to shake it up. We need a
+standard application layout/setup (ala Rails) to make testing work.
+
+## Ambitious Addition - Handling Bad Connections and Crashes: Gateway to Offline Support
+
+Network connections go down. Browsers crash. These things happen. We
+have the tools to make applications failure resistant. Let's take
+your basic todo list application. The user adds a todo and for some
+reason the server is down. What happens? Do we just say "opps,
+sorry. Please try again." I don't think so. The framework itself can handle
+these cases. Here is a proposed solution. Use a messaging queue backed
+by local storage to buffer requests to the backend API. Requests that
+match a set of failure conditions (503, 504, or timeouts) are enqueued
+again and will be tried again later. This is a step towards offline
+support at the data layer. There has been some discussion about this.
+There are few things in the way. A request/operation object needs
+to introduced. This object is persisted in the queue. The adapter takes
+the request objects then does whatever logic is needed and sends them to
+the server. These objects would need to be tied to records as well.
+Since operations to individual records are being tracked, this means you
+can cancel operations to specific records. There are also race
+conditions. Hell, there are lot of complicated things to worry about,
+but solving this problem is **massive**. Imagine if applications simply
+got support for this by using Ember. Boom, your application has some
+level of fault tolerance and it may even save you a few customers. I'd
+say this is hardest problem to work on but the pay off is fantastic.
+
+## That's a Lot and It's Important
+
+This is list is more about broad accomplishments and pushing the web
+forward through Ember. Our company is actively working towards these
+goals. We understand that some of these are lofty goals.
+We want to lift Ember to meet this goals. We are looking into
+working with core team to make these happen. We are looking for people
+who think at this level and want to push the web forward. If you care
+about ember and this stuff then hit me up on twitter or my manager Sami
+[@zaui](https://twitter.com/#!/zaui]). Open PR's on ember and ember data,
+that's important too.

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