Prerendering your Blazor Wasm application with ABP 6.x

Introduction

In this article, we will demonstrate how to create basic hosted monolith Blazor WebAssembly application that will be prerendered by the server.

Prerendering has following advantages:

  • 💚 Instant initial load of page content while WebAssembly application downloads and hydrates in the background
  • 💚 Improved scores in Chromium Lighthouse
  • 💚 Static markup analysis by search engines (SEO) and tools that don't render WebAssembly apps

Prerendering also has some drawbacks:

  • 🛑 You can no longer host your app on static file hosting
  • 🛑 Different approach is required, no JS Interop calls in OnInitialized(), may be a problem with 3rd party components that use JS, but didn't account for non-browser rendering.
  • 🛑 Double rendering, once on server, once on client. Takes extra steps to preserve state in order to avoid duplicate calls and content swap.
  • 🛑 Server rendering doesn't support authentication, so it works only on public pages. For best experience, parts of content specific to unauthenticated/authenticated state should use placeholders until it's decided which one it will be.

Warning: This isn't production ready solution, it's a rudimentary starter guide on how to make prerendering work. Expect problems.

Source Code

Source code for the final application is available on GitHub.

Screenshot

image 

Requirements

The following tools are needed to be able to run the solution.

  • .NET 6.0 SDK
  • ABP CLI
  • Compatible database engine

Step by step guide

Preparing the solution

  1. Use the following ABP CLI command to create Blazor WebAssembly app:
abp new Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered -u blazor -d mongodb --create-solution-folder --theme basic --preview
cd Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered
  1. Reference Blazor project in project HttpApi.Host
dotnet add src/Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered.HttpApi.Host reference src/Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered.Blazor

ℹ For simplicity we are reusing HttpApi.Host project to have just a single point of entry to run, but nothing stops you from creating separate project to decouple client (+ host) & server API like it's done by default.

  1. While this step isn't absolutely necessary, when using IDE like Visual Studio Code it's better to build solution for IntelliSense to work correctly.
dotnet build
# Open solution in Visual Studio Code
code .

Adding the prerendering

  1. Move and rename Blazor's index.html file to our host (Pages folder needs to be created first)
- src/Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered.Blazor/wwwroot/index.html
+ src/Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered.HttpApi.Host/Pages/_Layout.cshtml
  1. On top of this _Layout.cshtml file prepend
+ @using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.Web
+ @addTagHelper *, Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.TagHelpers
  1. Inside <head> element we can replace static tag <title> with new dynamic component that will prerender title and metatags coming from pages
- <title>Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered.Blazor</title>
+ <component type="typeof(HeadOutlet)" render-mode="WebAssemblyPrerendered" />
  1. Last thing to do in this file is to replace loading animation which won't be needed anymore
- <div id="ApplicationContainer">...</div>
+ @RenderBody()
  1. Next to _Layout.cshtml create new Razor page _Host.cshtml that will use _Layout and prerender the application
@page
@using Volo.Abp.AspNetCore.Components.Web.BasicTheme.Themes.Basic
@addTagHelper *, Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.TagHelpers
@{
    Layout = "_Layout";
}

@if (HttpContext.Request.Path.StartsWithSegments("/authentication"))
{
    <component type="typeof(App)" render-mode="WebAssembly" />
}
else
{
    <component type="typeof(App)" render-mode="WebAssemblyPrerendered" />
    <persist-component-state />
}

Tag helper <persist-component-state /> allows us to persist state from first render on server to second render in client preventing duplicate calls and content swap. This doesn't work automatically and has to be implemented for every component separately.

  1. Open src\Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered.HttpApi.Host\WasmPrerenderedHttpApiHostModule.cs and to the botom of OnApplicationInitialization append
    app.UseAbpSerilogEnrichers();
    app.UseConfiguredEndpoints();
+   ((WebApplication)app).MapFallbackToPage("/_Host");
}
  1. To use _Host instead of swagger delete the controller
- src\Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered.HttpApi.Host\Controllers\HomeController.cs
  1. Since we are using HttpApi.Host project to serve our Blazor application we are interiting its port. To avoid problems with authentication in src\Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered.DbMigrator\appsettings.json change WasmPrerendered_Blazor RootUrl to match WasmPrerendered_Swagger.
"WasmPrerendered_Blazor": {
  "ClientId": "WasmPrerendered_Blazor",
- "RootUrl": "https://localhost:44351"
+ "RootUrl": "https://localhost:44314"
},
"WasmPrerendered_Swagger": {
  "ClientId": "WasmPrerendered_Swagger",
  "RootUrl": "https://localhost:44314"
}
  1. We can now migrate our database, run Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered.DbMigrator project

  2. Now is a good time to run our project to see if everything compiles and host is actually at least trying to prerender our WebAssembly application, don't worry error is to be expected.

dotnet run --project src\Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered.HttpApi.Host

⚠ Please take note that you should always run the HttpApi.Host project and never the Blazor project!

Fixing the errors

  • Right off the bat we should get DI exception

There is no registered service of type 'Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.Authorization.AuthenticationStateProvider'.

Let's fix that, in file WasmPrerenderedHttpApiHostModule.cs under ConfigureServices method we need to append

+ context.Services.AddScoped<Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.Authorization.AuthenticationStateProvider, Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.Server.ServerAuthenticationStateProvider>();
  1. Next in line is router problem

The Router component requires a value for the parameter AppAssembly.

Same file, same method as in previous step

+ Configure<Volo.Abp.AspNetCore.Components.Web.Theming.Routing.AbpRouterOptions>(options => options.AppAssembly = typeof(Blazor.WasmPrerenderedBlazorModule).Assembly);
  1. Now it's another DI exception

There is no registered service of type 'Volo.Abp.AspNetCore.Components.Web.Theming.Toolbars.IToolbarManager'.

We can solve this with dependency

[DependsOn(
    (...)
    typeof(AbpSwashbuckleModule),
+   typeof(Volo.Abp.AspNetCore.Components.Web.Theming.AbpAspNetCoreComponentsWebThemingModule)
)]
public class WasmPrerenderedHttpApiHostModule : AbpModule
  1. Again ... DI exception

InvalidOperationException: Cannot provide a value for property 'ClassProvider' on type 'Blazorise.Badge'. There is no registered service of type 'Blazorise.IClassProvider'.

This is another one for file WasmPrerenderedHttpApiHostModule.cs under ConfigureServices

context.Services
  .AddBootstrap5Providers()
  .AddFontAwesomeIcons();

Don't forget the usings

using Blazorise.Bootstrap5;
using Blazorise.Icons.FontAwesome;

⚠ Please note this simplification is duplicating logic from Blazor app, you should definitely create shared code both Blazor and HttpApi.Host will use, otherwise you'll have to make changes in 2 places, asking for trouble.

  • Hooray! We should be able to prerender some markup now. But if you run the app now, you'll get flooded by integrity errors and app won't hydrate. It's still far from over.

Before continuing we can do a simple trick that will tell us if we are looking at prerendered markup or at fully loaded WebAssembly app without devtools.

For HttpApi.Host we can change WasmPrerenderedBrandingProvider.cs to include message about loading

public override string AppName => "🔁 Wasm is loading ..";

While for Blazor we can change WasmPrerenderedBrandingProvider.cs to include message that it finished

public override string AppName => "✅ Wasm has loaded!";

  1. To fix integrity errors we need a package Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.WebAssembly.Server on our HttpApi.Host project
dotnet add src/Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered.HttpApi.Host package Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.WebAssembly.Server

this in turn lets us append new line in WasmPrerenderedHttpApiHostModule.cs

app.UseCorrelationId();
+ app.UseBlazorFrameworkFiles();
app.UseStaticFiles();
  1. Next error I must admin I'm not sure why is happening

'Volo.Abp.AspNetCore.Components.Web.BasicTheme.Themes.Basic.App' could not be found in the assembly 'Volo.Abp.AspNetCore.Components.Web.BasicTheme'. This is likely a result of trimming (tree shaking).)

I could swear it's there, until someone figures what is happening we can copy this App.razor to our Blazor project, most people will probably override it anyway.

@using Microsoft.Extensions.Options
@using Volo.Abp.AspNetCore.Components.Web.Theming.Routing
@using Volo.Abp.AspNetCore.Components.Web.BasicTheme.Themes.Basic
@inject IOptions<AbpRouterOptions> RouterOptions

<CascadingAuthenticationState>
    <Router AppAssembly="RouterOptions.Value.AppAssembly"
            AdditionalAssemblies="RouterOptions.Value.AdditionalAssemblies">
        <Found Context="routeData">
            <AuthorizeRouteView RouteData="@routeData" DefaultLayout="@typeof(MainLayout)">
                <NotAuthorized>
                    @if (!context.User.Identity.IsAuthenticated)
                    {
                        <RedirectToLogin />
                    }
                    else
                    {
                        <p>You are not authorized to access this resource.</p>
                    }
                </NotAuthorized>
            </AuthorizeRouteView>
        </Found>
        <NotFound>
            <LayoutView Layout="@typeof(MainLayout)">
                <p>Sorry, there's nothing at this address.</p>
            </LayoutView>
        </NotFound>
    </Router>
</CascadingAuthenticationState>

In HttpApi.Host/Pages/_Host.cshtml replace the using to use our custom App.razor

- @using Volo.Abp.AspNetCore.Components.Web.BasicTheme.Themes.Basic
+ @using Acme.BookStore.WasmPrerendered.Blazor
  1. Wasm is loading now! But hey there's still one last error to solve

In Blazor/WasmPrerenderedBlazorModule.cs we can safely remove

- builder.RootComponents.Add<App>("#ApplicationContainer");

✅ In this state prerendering should be pretty stable with no errors. You can even authenticate! Try looking at static page source (ctrl + u).

Sadly this isn't end of the road, toolbars don't preprerender correctly, you can't manage your account and when you switch language, prerendered and client language will be different.

TODO: To be continued ...

Do you find this article useful? Would you like to see more like it? Coffee helps me stay awake at night to write for you. ❤

 

Halil İbrahim Kalkan 2 weeks ago

Thanks for sharing this, good explanation.

Enis Necipoğlu 2 weeks ago

Great article! ❤️‍🔥

Engincan VESKE 2 weeks ago

Really helpful article, thanks.

m.heidari988@gmail.com 2 weeks ago

Nice work :)