Exploring Modular Server-Side Rendering with React: Meetup Review

On Thursday 19 March 2015 we held the 3rd NodeJS Cape Town meetup of the year at IO-Digital in Woodstock. The event was hosted by Guy Bedford (@guybeford), Guy Paterson-Jones (@GuyPatJones), and Tim Lind (@timlind).

The event was opened by Tim Lind who gave us an overview of the presentation and how their collaboration came about.

Guy Bedford then followed up and spoke about the current state of web development, how it has moved from server-side rendering to client-side rendering. This has given rise to Single Page Applications (SPAs). The rise of SPAs has brought about its own set of challenges like degraded performance and SEO indexing. As a result, a lot of frameworks have cropped up to try and solve these problems.

Some of the takeaways from Guy's presentation are as follows:

  • Web development has largely moved from server-side rendering to the client
  • The rise of Single Page Applications has created a need to render part of the application on the server to improve performance and SEO. A web app that uses this technique is called an Isomorphic JavaScript Application.
  • A good guide when choosing a framework is modularity because it promotes code re-use and is easier to maintain
  • React is currently the most trending framework for creating Isomorphic JavaScript Applications.
  • React's magic is in its implementation of a virtual DOM and the diffing algorithm

Guy Bedford finished off his presentation by introducing Guy Paterson-Jones, who showed us the demo they had prepared.

The demo, named zygo, is a research project that Guy Paterson-Jones worked on while doing his internship at jspm. The project explores an alternative way of building Isomorphic JavaScript Applications. You can learn more about the project by checking it out on Github.

The meetup ended off with some QAs.

Special mention goes to the Andrew Newdigate, co-founder of gitter.im, who also attended the meetup.

Hope to see you at our next meetup, till then - keep hacking!



Software Developer who loves making and breaking things. Creator and maintainer of NodeZA.