Benefits and Challenges of Isomorphism in Single-page Applications: Case Study and Review of Gray Literature


  • Aleksi Huotala Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • Matti Luukkainen Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • Tommi Mikkonen Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland



Isomorphic web applications, single-page applications, JavaScript, web programming, server-side rendering, isomorphism


An isomorphic web application shares code between the server and the client by cleverly combining suitable parts of server-rendered applications and single-page applications.

In this article, we study the benefits and challenges of isomorphism in single-page applications in terms of a gray literature review and a case study. The case study was conducted as a developer interview, where developers familiar with isomorphic web applications were interviewed. The results of both studies are then compared and the key findings are compared together. The results show that isomorphism in single-page applications brings benefits to both the developers and the end-users. Isomorphism in single-page applications is challenging to implement and has some downsides, but they mostly affect developers. Implementing isomorphism enables sharing code between the server and the client, but it increases the complexity of the application. Framework and library compatibility are issues that must be addressed by the developers.


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Author Biographies

Aleksi Huotala, Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Aleksi Huotala is a software developer working in a Finnish technology consulting company. Aleksi received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in computer science in 2019 and 2021, respectively, from University of Helsinki, Finland. His research interests include software development tools and web development.

Matti Luukkainen, Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Matti Luukkainen is a senior lecturer at University of Helsinki, Finland. He received his Ph.D. in computer science in 2003. His present research interests include continuous software development and software engineering education.

Tommi Mikkonen, Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Tommi Mikkonen is a professor of software engineering at University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He received his Ph.D. on software engineering from Tampere University of Technology year 1999. His interests include web programming, IoT, and software architectures.


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How to Cite

Huotala, A. ., Luukkainen, M. ., & Mikkonen, T. . (2023). Benefits and Challenges of Isomorphism in Single-page Applications: Case Study and Review of Gray Literature. Journal of Web Engineering, 21(08), 2363–2404.