Principal Web
Developer &


Servers Got Hot So Front-End Got Cool

As I reflect back on the year in web development, what stands out to me is that the steady comeback of servers (especially via serverless) in web architecture, which has been steadily mounting for the past many years, seems to have finally hit an eruption point. Specifically SSR and Hybrid SSR (that’s SSR + SSG intermingled) are now top architectural contenders for delivering websites large and small, simple and complex, as the natural scalability of complexity these concepts can handle is elegant and efficient.

On top of that, buy-in solidified at the platform level, both in modern web hosting and frameworks. Where folks were once fine trading-off some hoop-jumping to cobble SSR into their sites, it’s now a first-class switch in many circumstances to enable an exact balance of performance and capability across any site or app.

Furthermore, I’ll dare to make a connection here that because server-side popularity has grown, it has somewhat pulled the back-of-the-front-end more towards back-end, leaving a clearer gap between front-of-the-front-end needs. Or said differently, I think appreciation is growing for mastery in HTML and CSS as complex JavaScripty logic leans heavier into back-end territory. It also helps that CSS is also having its moment as the CSSWG is hitting its stride in proposing and growing the language at a pace unseen in years past.

So servers got hot and front-end got cool, recovering from a bit of a bludgeoning from the javascript-all-the-things crowd as they also got put in their place a bit. But will it last? There are a lot of architectural fads that tend to rise and fall in our industry, and while I’m sure we’ll continue to see newer concepts overtake old, as a renewed resurgence and the fact that it’s over the hump of being a one-size-fits-all solution, I can easily imagine Hybrid SSR lasting us through the next decade of web development, acting as a capable base allowing us to focus on innovation in other areas.