Reactivity: There and Back Again

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Everything old is new again. But this time it's different, promise!

Michel Weststrate
Michel Weststrate
12 min
02 Jun, 2023

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Video Summary and Transcription

The Talk discusses the cyclical nature of technology evolution, with examples from civil engineering and software development. It explores the shift from serverless to client-side frameworks and the recent move back towards server-side processing. The evolution of technologies and states is examined, highlighting the progression from mutability to immutability and the introduction of observable immutability. The future and next generation of reactivity are also explored, with a focus on the blurring boundary between server and client and the importance of embracing uncertainty and avoiding dogma.

Available in Español

1. Everything Old is New Again

Short description:

I'm going to talk about everything old is new again. 200 years ago, the whole new technology field of civil engineering. Eisenbart Kingdom Brunel, the best civil engineer of all time. He built loads of stuff, including the first tunnel under Thames River, the big bridge near Bristol, and the biggest ocean steamers of the time. AI is about to get our jobs. React components were reading from the database in front file system, but apparently, they moved back to the server. Are we now back to writing PHP? Are we going in circles? I think that's not the case.

Good morning, everyone. I'm glad to be back here. And I'm going to talk about everything old is new again. You know my passion is reactivity. So I'll be telling a bit more about that but first I will go to an entirely different story. An entirely different era, actually.

200 years ago, the whole new technology field of civil engineering. And it was changing all the time. They invented steam engines, and ships, and trains, and stations, and railroads. And why one guy became particularly famous. Because he was probably the best civil engineer of all time. And his name is Eisenbart Kingdom Brunel. And what made him so great? I give you three reasons. First of all, he built loads of stuff. He built the first tunnel under Thames River. He built the big bridge near Bristol. He built the biggest ocean steamers of the time. And also, he dressed himself properly. So, sadly, we didn't stick with that tradition, if I look at myself, you all. But I think we can learn something from that. Thirdly, he had the most profound, eloquent quote about programming. Now, you might be wondering, what is that quote? I'll tell you in a bit, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, while I was reading up on civil engineering, a lot of things changed in the front-end world. So, first of all, apparently, AI is about to get our jobs. Secondly, this thing happened. Suddenly, we had React components, and they were reading from the database in front file system. Apparently, they moved back to the server. And so, are we now back to writing PHP? Anyway, like, if I combined those two things, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Not sure to hate the AI or pity it. In other words, are we going in circles? And I think that's not the case.

2. The Loop of Technology Evolution

Short description:

I think what's happening here is very interesting. We started with serverless things and server-rendered pages. Then we added interactivity with JavaScript and jQuery, but it got out of hand and we built a client-side framework. And now we're moving back to do more on the server. Is technology just going in loops?

I think what's happening here is very interesting. I mean, it's very easy to joke about it, but this is serious stuff. So, if I look at front-end engineering, how I know the evolution of it, as we started with all those serverless things, server-rendered pages, then we sprinkled some interactivity on top of it with some JavaScript, jQuery, and then it got out of hand and we built a proper client-side framework. And now we're making the move back again to do more on the server. So, it makes you wonder, is technology just going in loops? And this loop seems now to be closed, almost.

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