Server-Side Rendering (SSR) represents a pivotal technique within the realm of modern web development. By allowing applications to render web pages on the server side rather than in the browser, SSR strikes a balance between dynamic interactivity and improved performance. This article delves into the concept of SSR, its advantages, and a detailed implementation example using React and Express.
Understanding SSR and its Advantages
Implementation of SSR with React and Express
To better understand how SSR works, let’s explore a step-by-step implementation using React and Express:
- Project Initialization and Setup:
Begin by initializing a new React project using the
create-react-appcommand. This will serve as the foundation of our SSR implementation. Install the Express library as well, as it will be used to create the server that handles SSR.
- Express Server Configuration:
Create an Express server in the
server/index.jsfile. This server will be responsible for receiving requests, rendering React components on the server side, and sending the fully-rendered content to the client.
- Server-Side Rendering Function:
Develop a server-rendering function, such as
serverRenderer.js, that orchestrates the SSR process. This function reads an HTML template, renders the React component into HTML using
ReactDOMServer.renderToString(), and inserts the HTML content into the template.
- ESM to CommonJS Transformation:
For running the server code with Node.js, you’ll need to convert the ECMAScript Modules (ESM) syntax to CommonJS. This can be achieved using tools like Babel and packages like
- Building and Starting the Server:
Once the implementation is complete, build the React project and start the SSR server. The server will now render the React component on the server side, generating fully-rendered HTML pages to be delivered to clients.
Comparing SSR with CSR and Next.js
Server-Side Rendering (SSR) stands as a potent solution to the challenges posed by traditional Client-Side Rendering (CSR). By rendering web pages on the server side and sending fully-rendered HTML to the client, SSR enhances initial load times, SEO, and user experience. The detailed implementation example using React and Express provides insights into the technical aspects of SSR. As modern web development continues to evolve, understanding SSR’s capabilities and advantages becomes increasingly relevant for creating performant and user-friendly applications.