Making Sense of React Server Components

Roger Stringer Roger Stringer
September 11, 2023
4 min read

Josh W Comeau:

So, here’s something that makes me feel old: React celebrated its 10th birthday this year!

In the decade since React was first introduced to a bewildered dev community, it’s gone through several evolutions. The React team has not been shy when it comes to radical changes: if they discover a better solution to a problem, they’ll run with it.

A couple of months ago, the React team unveiled React Server Components, the latest paradigm shift. For the first time ever, React components can run exclusively on the server.

There’s been so much friggin’ confusion about this online. Lots of folks have lots of questions around what this is, how it works, what the benefits are, and how it fits together with things like Server Side Rendering.

I’ve been doing a lot of experimentation with React Server Components, and I’ve answered a lot of my own questions. I have to admit, I’m way more excited about this stuff than I expected to be. It’s really cool!

So, my goal today is to help demystify this stuff for you, to answer a lot of the questions you might have about React Server Components!

[…]

At a high level, React Server Components is the name for a brand-new paradigm. In this new world, we can create components that run exclusively on the server. This allows us to do things like write database queries right inside our React components!

[…]

This is the sort of thing that gets me excited about React Server Components. Things that would be too cost-prohibitive to include in a JS bundle can now run on the server for free, adding zero kilobytes to our bundles, and producing an even better user experience.

It’s not just about performance and UX either. After working with RSC for a while, I’ve come to really appreciate how easy-breezy Server Components are. We never have to worry about dependency arrays, stale closures, memoization, or any of the other complex stuff caused by things changing.

Ultimately, it’s still very early days. React Server Components only emerged from beta a couple of months ago! I’m really excited to see how things evolve over the next couple of years, as the community continues to innovate new solutions like Bright, taking advantage of this new paradigm. It’s an exciting time to be a React developer!

React Server Components is an exciting development, but it’s actually only one part of the “Modern React” puzzle.

Things get really interesting when we combine React Server Components with Suspense and the new Streaming SSR architecture. It allows us to do wild stuff like this:

Do you like my content?

Sponsor Me On Github