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Web Components

Brian Leroux: ES6 and Web Components

Good overview.  Issues:

My take is that this talk lumps React in with others based on when it was introduced; but that it is fundamentally different from, say Angular.js as Angular.js is from jQuery.  Compared to the alternatives, react is more imperative, and is based on a virtual DOM.  It also can run in both the server and the client.

Brian suggests that you view source on http://brian.io/date-today/.  What you don’t see when you do that is today’s date.  I’d suggest that the ideal would be a page where you do see today’s date — even if JavaScript is disabled.  And for you to be able to interact with that page in ways that involve the server.

I have my own page on which I would suggest that you view source: calendar-demo (Update: that site is down, try this static snapshot).  Use the left and right arrow buttons to go to the previous and next months.  Viewing source reveals that the page is delivered pre-rendered, and only after the content is delivered are script libraries loaded.  Traversing to the next and previous months are pretty snappy despite the fact that there has been no optimization: in particular, there are no anticipatory prefetches.  Nor is data retained should you go back to a previous month.  Neither of these changes would be hard to implement.

Source is available in svn.  Check it out, do a bundle update to get the dependencies, run rake if you want to run a few tests, and run rackup to start a local server.

I must say that being able to define a component with all of the rendering, client, and server logic in one place is very appealing to me.

Brian suggests authoring source in ES6, and targeting ES5.  My preference would be to work towards building a language that is to ES6 as CoffeeScript is to ES5.  At the moment, my experimentation along those lines is happening in Ruby2JS.

React Native looks worth watching.  Perhaps as my calendar is using flexbox, I will be able to quickly build an Android or IOS equivalent.


I get a 403 Forbidden trying to access your calendar-demo.

Posted by Charles at

Bummer.  The system administration staff at the ASF took this down while debugging an unrelated problem.

Posted by Sam Ruby at

Oh awesome! Yes this talk is a big work-in-progress as the story unfolds. Key points where indeed key: Angular, Polymer and React all should be regarded as somewhat risky. YUI did have a good run but, in contrast, Dojo is still running. Facebook has stated to me that they want to see community stewardship for React, so that is positive.

HTML Imports: I jive with Mozilla on this one. Service Worker and ES6 Modules APIs are on the immediate horizon which means an HTML Imports could be be a library, even in its own Custom Element. mind blown

Why do I like Custom Elements? Well, it is a very tiny polyfill so it works everywhere that Angular Directives, React Components, Ember Components and other what-have-you things do, for less payload cost. The concept is good, and that code has the most likely path to standardization. That is what I like about 'em. YMMV.

I def don’t lump Custom Elements in with React. Now that said, a Virtual DOM is not a technology incapable of dissolving into the web platform. I kind of expect it (or something like it) will find its way into browsers. It wouldn’t be that much work to bolt a vdom on the Custom Element lifecycle, for someone else. ;)

And I have not even considered prerendering Custom Elements! Totally doable when a server is involved but not possible with a plain old static HTML page. Now that does seem like a bug. No easy answer there, but I am happy that the markup source does tell the correct story even if it takes javascript to do it. Tools like React and Ember create swaths of strange markup complete with generated ids and occasional inline styles.

Other languages: yes pls! Key suggestion there: distribute compiled ES5 source, ideally on npm, so I don’t have to learn your build pipeline or module system.

Last thought/spoiler alert: React Native is totally awesome. =)

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