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TypeScript Remote Procedure Calls

28
Jun
2023
TypeScript Remote Procedure Calls

Nowadays, developers are turning to developing applications and services. In this context, a Remote Procedure Call (RPC) handles the complexity of connecting large-scale projects, and major tools and procedures are rising. One is tRPC (TypeScript Remote Procedure Call), used by developers working with JavaScript frameworks like React or Angular. But what is tRPC, exactly? Today, we'll provide insight into what it is all about and how it differs from other common methods for distributed application building.

What is tRPC?

TypeScript Remote Procedure Call (tRPC) is a protocol that allows different programs to communicate over a network. This Inter-process communication acts as a way to call a function in one program rather than another. This technology is a type-safe implementation of the RPC protocol, ensuring that the transmitted data is correct. This RPC model works with other technologies, such as Node.js and Angular, and it's particularly useful for building large-scale web applications, where different parts of the application need to communicate with each other over a network.

How does tRPC Work?

tRPC is a type-safe API call approach that simplifies client-server communication by easing remote procedure calls. It's particularly useful in distributed systems, where components run on different devices. Then, it allows these components to communicate with each other seamlessly without having to worry about the details of the underlying network.

Further, tRPC enables developers to define their APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) with TypeScript interfaces. The framework then generates the client and server code to handle remote procedure calls. Therefore, it allows developers to focus on writing their application's business logic rather than worrying about the details of networking and serialization. tRPC supports a wide range of transport protocols, including HTTP, WebSocket, and Server-Sent Events. It also includes built-in support for authentication and authorization, making it easy to secure your application.

tRPC Features

Type Safety. You can define your API using TypeScript interfaces, ensuring static typing. This feature means you can catch errors at compile time rather than wait for run-time errors. 
Automatic Serialization. Serializing and deserializing your data with tRPC API is automatic, making sending and receiving data between your API and clients easier. 
Authentication and Authorization. It includes built-in support for authentication and authorization, making it easy to secure your API.
Real-time Updates. You can easily add API real-time updates with WebSockets.
Flexible Transport. It supports a range of transport options, like HTTP and WebSockets.

Pros and Cons of tRPC

tRPC Advantages tRPC Disadvantages
Simplicity: tRPC context provides a simple and intuitive syntax for calling remote functions, making it easy to use and handle low-level implementation details. Support: Since tRPC relies on TypeScript, it offers limited uses for other programming languages, like JS environments, so devs unfamiliar with TypeScript may find it hard.
Performance: Being lightweight and fast expressive, tRPC can be used to build isomorphic applications by using binary serialization to reduce the transferred data's size. Flexibility: Its simplicity can also be a disadvantage in certain cases. For example, if a dev needs to perform custom data serialization or deserialization, they may need help.
Maintenance: tRPC provides a hassle-free way to version APIs. It allows developers to make changes to the API without breaking existing code. Community: tRPC is relatively new and has a smaller community than other established frameworks. Finding support or resources may be challenging for developers and teams.

tRPC vs GraphQL

When building modern web applications, choosing the right tools and technologies is important to ensure efficient and high-performance communication between the client code and the server. Two popular technologies used for this purpose are tRPC and GraphQL.

tRPC is a TypeScript-based remote procedure call framework that simplifies the process of building APIs. It provides automatic type generation and validation, which makes writing server-side code a breeze. Its small footprint also makes it a great choice for microservices architecture. On the other hand, GraphQL is a query language for APIs that gives clients the power to ask for exactly what they need and nothing more. It offers a strongly typed schema and allows efficient data fetching as clients can request multiple resources in a single request.

While both API methods have merits, tRPC and GraphQL differ in their API development process. The first focuses on simplifying the server-side code, whereas GraphQL prioritizes client-side efficiency and flexibility. Regarding performance, tRPC edges out GraphQL as it has a smaller overhead and faster serialization times. However, GraphQL offers better caching and can reduce the number of network requests needed to fetch data.

Why is tRPC Important?

tRPC is essential because it simplifies the process of building APIs without using code generation, reducing boilerplate code and enhancing developer productivity. It allows developers to define their API's methods, inputs, and outputs in TypeScript to catch errors early in the development process. Furthermore, it provides a built-in security layer that prevents unauthorized access to your API. 

It also allows you to build scalable APIs by handling requests asynchronously and efficiently, achieving a seamless integration. It requires minimal configuration, making it an easy and simple choice for developers of all skill levels. And, since it's JavaScript-oriented (they are also available in several dynamic languages, like Python and C++), it works with several well-known front-end libraries and frameworks, like React, Angular, and Vue.

The Future of tRPC

So, what is the future of the TypeScript Remote Procedure Call? As a relatively new framework, it is constantly evolving and improving. Its team is committed to making it the best possible RPC framework for Full-Stack applications, and they're working hard to add new features and improvements.

Some upcoming features include improved support for GraphQL, documentation, and more robust error handling. Additionally, the creator of tRPC and his team are improving performance and scalability, building even more extensive projects.

Conclusion

TypeScript Remote Procedure Call is a powerful and lightweight RPC framework that improves the Developer Experience with its strong typing, load balancing, and autocompletion features. With real-time communication and multiple transport, it is an excellent choice for projects that need high-performance and low-latency communications.