Salesforce open sources ‘Lightning Web Components framework’

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Yesterday, the developers at Salesforce open sourced Lightning Web Components framework, a new JavaScript framework that leverages the web standards breakthroughs of the last five years. This will allow developers to contribute to the roadmap and also use the framework irrespective if they are building applications on Salesforce or on any other platform.

The Lightning Web Components was first introduced in December 2018. The developers in their official blog post mention, “The last five years have seen an unprecedented level of innovation in web standards, mostly driven by the W3C/WHATWG and the ECMAScript Technical Committee (TC39): ECMAScript 6, 7, 8, 9 and beyond, Web components, Custom elements, Templates and slots, Shadow DOM, etc.”

The introduction of Lightning Web Components framework has lead to a dramatic transformation of the web stack. Many features that required frameworks are now standard.


 

The framework was “born as a modern framework built on the modern web stack”, developers say.

Lightning Web Components framework includes three key parts:

  • The Lightning Web Components framework, the framework’s engine.
  • The Base Lightning Components, which is a set of over 70 UI components all built as custom elements.
  • Salesforce Bindings, a set of specialized services that provide declarative and imperative access to Salesforce data and metadata, data caching, and data synchronization.

The Lightning Web Components framework doesn’t have dependencies on the Salesforce platform. However, Salesforce-specific services are built on top of the framework.

The layered architecture means that one can now use the Lightning Web Components framework to build web apps that run anywhere. The benefits of this include:

  • You only need to learn a single framework
  • You can share code between apps.
  • As Lightning Web Components is built on the latest web standards, you know you are using a cutting-edge framework based on the latest patterns and best practices.

Many users said they are unhappy and that the Lightning Web Components framework is comparatively slow. One user wrote on HackerNews, “the Lightning Experience always felt non-performant compared to the traditional server-rendered pages. Things always took a noticeable amount of time to finish loading. Even though the traditional interface is, by appearance alone, quite traditional, as least it felt fast. I don’t know if Lightning’s problems were with poor performing front end code, or poor API performance. But I was always underwhelmed when testing the SPA version of Salesforce.”

Another user wrote, “One of the bigger mistakes Salesforce made with Lightning is moving from purely transactional model to default-cached-no-way-to-purge model. Without letting a single developer to know that they did it, what are the pitfalls or how to disable it (you can’t).

WRT Lightning motivation, sounds like a much better option would’ve been supplement older server-rendered pages with some JS, update the stylesheets and make server language more useable. In fact server language is still there, still heavily used and still lacking expressiveness so badly that it’s 10x slower to prototype on it rather than client side JS…”

In support of Salesforce, a user on HackerNews explains why this Framework might be slow. He said, “At its core, Salesforce is a platform. As such, our customers expect their code to work for the long run (and backwards compatibility forever). Not owning the framework fundamentally means jeopardizing our business and our customers, since we can’t control our future.

We believe the best way to future-proof our platform is to align with standards and help push the web platform forward, hence our sugar and take on top of Web Components.”

He further added, “about using different frameworks, again as a platform, allowing our customers to trivially include their framework choice of the day, will mean that we might end up having to load seven versions of react, five of Vue, 2 Embers …. You get the idea 🙂 Outside the platform we love all the other frameworks (hence other properties might choose what it fits their use cases) and we had a lot of good discussions with framework owners about how to keep improving things over the last two years.

Our goal is to keep contributing to the standards and push all the things to be implemented natively on the platform so we all get faster and better.”

To know more about this news visit the Lightning Web Components Framework’s official website.

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