Ben Teese

Remix, Server Components, NextJS: Navigating the future of React

Ben Teese Principal Software Engineer Shine Solutions

Ben is a principal software engineer at Shine Solutions in Melbourne, Australia. He spent the first ten years of his career as a Java programmer, then the next ten working with JavaScript (plus a bit of Rails & iOS on the side). He's obsessed with both the user experience and the developer experience, and how we can optimise them for the web.

Remix, Server Components, NextJS: Navigating the future of React

Well, this is embarrassing. Having spent a decade shifting code from the server to the browser - all in the name of building faster, more usable apps - it looks like we might have taken things a bit too far. We’ve started doing things ourselves that the browser can give us for free, and are sometimes even degrading the user experience in the process.

As a reaction to this, we’re seeing the rise of frameworks like Remix and NextJS, and even the introduction of server-side components to React itself. These aim to adjust the balance between server-side rendering (SSR) and running code on the client-side and - hopefully - improve both the user and developer experience.

Of course, all of these new technologies raise questions of their own. For example:

  • What is the difference between them? What are the benefits of one over another?
  • How mature are they? What are the risks of adopting them now?
  • Is there anything we can’t do with these frameworks that we could do with pure client-side Javascript?
  • I’m using client-side library <X>, will it work with these technologies?
  • Should we just have stuck with writing PHP all along?

This talk will attempt to answer some of these questions. It will not be advocating one particular framework over another. Instead, it will be a clear-eyed assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of each. Nor will it be saying that we should always use SSR. Instead, we’ll examine the fundamental technical constraints involved in delivering performant web applications, and in doing so get ourselves into a better position to judge the degree to which SSR is appropriate for our particular use-case.

Attendees will leave with a better understand of what sort of apps will benefit most from this new breed of tool, and what sorts of apps might not be worth the effort. They'll also have a better understanding of how Remix, NextJS and Server Components fit into the React ecosystem, how they can navigate the future of React, and whether they could have avoided embarrassment by just sticking with PHP all along.

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