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🔗 LiveView Is Not a Zero-JS Framework, It's a Zero-Boring-JS Framework

A recent Twitter discussion about the "ceiling" of server-side rendered frameworks like Phoenix LiveView has caused quite a stir. Most of it was in good faith, and many devs have responded with some great takes on the matter. One from Jose Valim particularly resonated with me:

There is an implied conclusion that server-side frameworks are limited if they have to write some JS, but the same logic does not apply when client-side devs have to write auth, lambdas, or server logic.


You can get really far without JS using LiveView. So much so, the subtitle of an excellent book on it is "Interactive Elixir Web Programming Without Writing Any JavaScript".

Nonetheless, LiveView is not a zero-JS framework. It's a zero-boring-JS framework.

The JS you'd otherwise need for routing, auth, and the like in another framework, you can write in Elixir instead. Any client code you end up needing tends to be just the fun stuff: Data visualisation, Web Audio, the Gamepad API, WebGL — just take a look through MDN's list of Web APIs.

I love JavaScript and TypeScript, but if I can replace ~90% of it with Elixir and still deliver a rich, client-interactive application I'll take that deal every time.

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