Google first introduced a real-time search function to its search engine over a decade ago (2010). Today, it is virtually impossible to imagine Google without it. Yet, strangely, real-time and live searches aren't as widespread as they should be. The only real players with comprehensive real-time search capabilities are social media platforms and search engines. App and web developers often avoid adding this functionality because it is either too difficult or they feel it's unnecessary. However, it can be highly useful for e-commerce apps and websites that consistently post fresh content (such as blogs). The last decade saw a shift in the software industry's priorities as greater emphasis has been placed on user experience (UX) and UI design. Knowing how and when to implement real-time search is a crucial skill to have as a modern developer. The following guide will explore what it is and where and when to use it.
The client-server model is one of the most used patterns in web development. In its simplest form, the client-server model can be described as a resource seeker (client) requesting the resource from a computer (server) serving it.
Advancements in web technologies have intensified the need for real-time client-server interactions. Protocols like WebSocket solve many of the problems in the older client-server model. WebSocket provides convenient bidirectional communication between the client and server while allowing messages to be broadcast among a variety of clients. But its flexible approach encourages bad practices among developers, such as not setting up an API contract for request/response or overusing WebSockets where HTTP would do fine. Its overuse has caused it to lose its essence.
HTTP/2—the successor of the HTTP protocol—provides advantages over its predecessor, such as multiplexing and server push. Although it's a significant improvement over HTTP/1, HTTP/2 is not a replacement for WebSockets. So what is the future of real-time client-server interactions?
In this article, you'll learn more about real-time client-server interactions as well as the HTTP/2 and WebSocket protocols and their use cases. If you're planning to build real-time interactions, you'll be able to choose the right tools for your application needs.