The very first thing I ever wrote about Redwood was on April 20. It's buried in a response to a highlight about NextJS that Jeff Meyerson made on my write up for the ReactJS topic page on Software Daily.
Have you heard anything about RedwoodJS? It's a fairly new project from Tom Preston-Werner (creator of Jekyll and ex-CEO of Github). It's positioned as the full stack Jamstack solution built on React, GraphQL, and AWS Lambdas.
Full stack Jamstack sounds like a bit of an oxymoron so it'll be interesting to see how the project develops, especially considering the influence Jekyll has had on the Jamstack philosophy. He recently was on JS Party talking about it.
The JS Party interview put Redwood on my radar but the Full Stack Radio interview in particular was the motivator to invest heavily in learning the framework.
Something I find especially interesting about this little comment is that it hints at a larger theme I explore much more throughout my writing on Redwood. This theme is Tom as the Father of the Jamstack.
I launched a newsletter toward the end of May. The inaugural article was about Deno with the next planned article to be about Redwood.
On the same day I referenced Redwood briefly in a response to a question about React based frameworks on the ReactJS SEDaily topic page.
Redwood is very new and it is hard to say exactly what it will be like compared to current solutions. For now it seems to emphasize static generation and GraphQL endpoints, putting it more firmly in the Jamstack space than the more full stack Next space. But it also explicitly pitches itself as a full stack solution.
On May 31 I wrote my first dedicated article/blog post about Redwood. It highlighted the architecture of a Redwood app, the core philosophies of the project, and Tom's idea of a Universal Deployment Machine.
This would become the introductory article to the 12-part series, A First Look at RedwoodJS, which was finally finished on September 2, a full three months later.
Around this same time I was learning a lot about Blitz in addition to Redwood and became very interested in the idea of building Full Stack React apps.
I wrote a short blog post about this mostly to sketch out a timeline of Redwood and Blitz milestones. This became the second article of the series.
There has recently been a sudden influx of different projects aiming to build a "full stack react" framework. What are people talking about when they say full stack react and why is it suddenly such a hot topic?
@blitz_js @redwoodjs @remix_run17:07 PM - 19 Jun 2020
At this point it had been two months since I first started talking about Redwood and I had written a decent amount of content about the project's motivation and history. But I knew that I needed to start getting my hands dirty.
This was especially informed by my experience writing a first look at blitz.js on June 18. At this point I started transitioning from writing just high level explainers to writing detailed technical content.
With the Blitz article as a test run I used the same format for a first look at redwood.js. Unlike the Blitz article I decided to write a part 2 which eventually turned into parts 2-8.
RedwoodJS is an opinionated, full-stack, serverless web application framework for building and deploying JAMstack applications. This article documents the process I go through when experimenting with a new framework for the first time.
@redwoodjs14:17 PM - 20 Jun 2020
In part 4 of my Redwood series I go deep into all the code that was generated in part 3 to perform CRUD operations on our posts. We also set up our frontend to query data from our backend to render a list of our blog posts to the front page.
@redwoodjs01:51 AM - 01 Jul 2020
July was a weird month.
At this point I'd built out more than half the tutorial and all the concepts and technologies in the stack were starting to gel in my head.
With a deeper technical understanding of the framework I decided to attempt a definitive history of the Jamstack and how it grew out of static site generators of the late 2000s such as Jekyll and Hugo.
Final commit to complete my project built while following the @redwoodjs tutorial.
This is a milestone I'll always remember. Completing a tutorial doesn't usually feel like a very big deal. But the Redwood tutorial is unlike any other I've ever seen.02:07 AM - 03 Aug 2020
In Tom's Full Stack Radio interview he talks about Tutorial-Driven Development. You start by creating a tutorial, and then you build a framework to make that tutorial work. This may sound like a hilariously backwards way to build software. But there is a method to the madness.02:08 AM - 03 Aug 2020
DX (developer experience) has become a popular and controversial term as of late. It's usually framed as somehow being in conflict with UX (user experience). To me the Redwood tutorial represents the very best of DX.02:08 AM - 03 Aug 2020
Thinking of the tutorial first prioritizes the experience a developer will have the very first time they interact with your framework. The process of slowly unveiling the framework as you build a project is an incredibly subtle art and gets to the heart of how we learn.02:09 AM - 03 Aug 2020
Over the last few years developers have learned the true value of good documentation. We are now also starting to learn the true value of good tutorials, and Redwood has set the standard for all over frameworks.02:09 AM - 03 Aug 2020
Tom Preston-Werner@mojomboWow, thanks for the compliment!
Our goal is to have “docs that blow off your socks”. Does that phrasing work? I’m going with it.
So happy to have you in the @RedwoodJS community! twitter.com/ajcwebdev/stat…19:57 PM - 04 Aug 2020
During the month of August I worked on building a project that connected RedwoodJS with FaunaDB. David Thyresson provided significant assistance in helping me figure out the architecture.
You can see how we worked it out on the forums at Building a Minimum Viable Stack with RedwoodJS and FaunaDB.
RedwoodJS@redwoodjsAnthony will be presenting this at the RedwoodJS Meetup tomorrow!
Redwood + FaunaDB + Vercel twitter.com/ajcwebdev/stat…00:13 AM - 28 Aug 2020@traversymedia Built a proof-of-concept with RedwoodJS, FaunaDB, and Vercel https://t.co/Ziwwg7Y7Dc https://t.co/tDxlo9fgRn
I gave a presentation about the Fauna project at the Redwood meetup. We shall never speak of it again.
The Redwood+Fauna tutorial was well received and Fauna decided to publish it on their official blog.
David S Price@thedavidpriceThis is the first example of a 100% serverless @redwoodjs project I've seen. Web assets on CDN. API on AWS Lambdas. DB via @fauna
Awwwww yeahhhhh 🚀 twitter.com/dhruv_gupta/st…20:45 PM - 01 Sep 2020Dhruv Gupta @dhruv_gupta@ajcwebdev @thedavidprice @evan @kentcdodds @fauna Here you go https://t.co/99qFFiDagO
Fauna seemed to be such a fan that they tweeted about it on at least four separate occasions. The last time they even included my name!
Even Tom got in on the action
RedwoodJS@redwoodjs"A First Look at RedwoodJS” is a complete series of 12 articles on @ThePracticalDev (dev.to).
Introduction covers high-level concepts. And the rest walks through the Tutorial by section.
Full series overview via link below 👇
community.redwoodjs.com/t/a-first-look…13:31 PM - 03 Sep 2020
I finished writing the First Look series at the beginning of August but had a few little details I wanted to clean up before publishing a canonical link to the series. Since the Fauna article actually had a deadline it took precedence.
The issue was forced when I was scheduled to give a meetup talk about the First Look series for Jamstack Denver on September 2. With a few things left to do I decided it was close enough for jazz and hit publish.
The series turned out to be popular.
After I saw that people were actually reading this thing I scrambled to make all the little edits I had put off until now. This included:
- Creating a table of contents on each article for easy navigation
- Removing the screen shots of terminal commands and replacing them with code blocks that can be copy and pasted
- Creating a more in depth outline with sub-sections for each article
- And finally I'm about half way through a complete rebuild of the project to remove inconsistencies caused by versioning. This also involves updating many of the roughly 400 screenshots contained in the series.
- I want someone finding the series today to be able to build the project and have the tutorial reflect exactly what is happening in their project on their computer.
- Redwood is currently on v0.18 and when I started the series it was v0.11.
- I never encountered any unexpected breaking changes between versions but there were lots of little details like changes to the generators that I wanted to avoid.