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Have Single-Page Apps Ruined the Web? | Transitional Apps with Rich Harris, NYTimes



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The backlash to modern front end development is gaining steam, with good reason: single-page apps have ruined the web. Can we rescue it without going backwards? In this talk, Rich Harris presents a way to do just that. Rich Harris is a graphics editor at the New York Times, where he builds JavaScript apps to help explain the news. He is also the creator of Rollup, the JavaScript module bundler, and Svelte, the front end framework.

What’s wrong with Single-Page apps? There are a lot of critiques. A non-exhaustive list of terrible things about single-page apps include:
You’ll need a bloated JavaScript framework and performance will suffer
It comes with complex tooling and is less resilient, since it won’t work without JavaScript
It will be buggy and accessibility issues

JavaScript failing is a fact of life. So what’s a developer to do? SPAs solve problems to the traditional approach, but are still problematic. Rich presents a new framework for thinking about how we can get the best of both the MPA and SPA worlds: transitional apps.

What’s a transitional app? Transitional apps samples elements from both traditional and modern architecture. The term is borrowed from interior design’s framing of “transitional design.” Transitional apps are, like multi-page apps, server-side rendered for fast initial loads, resilient since they work without JS by default, and provide a consistent experience with accessibility features built in. But like a single-page application, they also have a single codebase, fast navigation, persistent elements, and client-side state management.

Learn more about transitional apps, and how to get the best of both worlds in Rich’s talk.
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Web design
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