Back to the SSR

Roger Stringer Roger Stringer
February 02, 2023
2 min read

When servers were in Swiss basements, all they had to serve was static HTML. Maybe, if you were lucky, you got an image.

Now, a webpage can be a full-blown app, pulling in data from multiple sources, doing on the fly manipulations, and allowing an end-user full interactivity. This has greatly improved the utility of the web, but at the cost of size, bandwidth, and speed. In the past 10 years, the median size for a desktop webpage has gone from 468 KB to 2284 KB, a 388.3% increase. For mobile, this jump is even more staggering — 145 KB to 2010 KB — a whopping 1288.1% increase.

That’s a lot of weight to ship over a network, especially for mobile. As a result, users experience terrible UX, slow loading times, and a lack of interactivity until everything is rendered. But all that code is necessary to make our sites work the way we want.

This is the problem with being a frontend dev today. What started out fun for frontend developers, building shit-hot sites with all the bells and whistles, has kinda turned into not fun. We're now fighting different browsers to support, slow networks to ship code over, and intermittent, mobile connections. Supporting all these permutations is a giant headache.

How do we square this circle? By heading back to the server (Swiss basement not required).

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