Simplifying the Front End: A Fresh Look at an Old Method

In my previous job, we began discussing the concept of transitioning to a more streamlined front-end system. This would involve utilizing a technology like HTMX, which sends HTML over the wire, rather than relying on a separate front-end server to make API calls and render the front-end. Although the idea wasn't mine, I wholeheartedly agreed with it, as it resonated with my passion for efficiency

As a front-end software engineer for a large part of my career, I enjoy working on the front-end with frameworks like React, but I also recognize the inefficiencies that arise from having to build things twice. Back in 2017, I created my own version of "HTMX" using jQuery for a personal project. The approach involved serving up HTML and replacing divs, which proved to be an enjoyable and efficient way to build an app.

Recently, I've been exploring Laravel, which offers Livewire, while Ruby on Rails has Hotwire. I'm thrilled to see that this paradigm not only exists but seems to be gaining popularity. However, I'm not suggesting that everyone should abandon their React front-end and migrate everything to the server. Instead, I believe that when new projects emerge, this alternative approach should be considered.

I'm eager to delve deeper into HTMX, Livewire, and Hotwire, and to identify their limitations. From my initial examination, I believe these technologies can address 90% of a web app's requirements. By offering another option for front-end development, we can potentially streamline the process and create more efficient, enjoyable experiences for both developers and users alike.

I am curious how others feel about this. If you had a greenfield project would you opt for HMTL over the wire or separate frontend and backend builds?

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