When a round-trip delay just doesn't cut it, more complex approaches can be crafted with libraries like Backbone to create a truly client-side application. The asset pipeline remains a perfect complement, allowing all sorts of optimisations.
But going beyond these simpler approaches is all the rage with Angular leading the charge. We'll look at building Angular apps leveraging the pipeline for templates, compilation, and more.
Quickly touching on some more esoteric applications, we can also export rails routes for use in client side templates, automatically create sprite sheets, and even generate icon fonts, optimising assets along the way. The Rails asset pipeline is still Da Funk; a fantastic tool for front end developers.