I think I started to mess with HTML in 1995, and the Internets became the focus of my profession in 1999. The fun thing about this is that I’ve watched the tools and development technology evolve most of the way, and it has been an awesome ride.
That said, the Web has only had what I would consider a small number of “wow” moments in terms of development technology. AJAX as a concept was a game changer, but it wasn’t really until jQuery came along that it became stupid easy to perform AJAX tasks. The ASP.NET MVC framework was another great moment, but as it was clearly inspired by other platforms, I don’t know that it’s a big deal outside of my little world. Beyond that, dev tech has been slow and evolutionary.
Until now. SignalR, as far as I’m concerned, is a huge deal. It really does change everything. It lifts the constraint inherent to standard HTTP exchanges, in that we call the server, get something back, and we’re done. Now the client and server can talk to each other, and do so on a potentially massive scale.
At first it sounds like we should credit WebSockets for this, but by itself, that technology is only slightly useful. I say that because browser implementation is not always consistent, and SignalR compensates by gracefully falling back to long “open” connections, or polling, if necessary. It’s also not entirely useful without the backend portion, which handles the registration of clients and the ability to remotely call code at the client end.
There are a great many things that I’m thinking about using it for, not the least of which is POP Forums, my open source project. I’m wrapping up real-time updating right now, in fact, for various forum and topic lists. The amount of code to do it has been trivial. It’s a big deal.
Go try it. You won’t regret it.