DEV Community

Discussion on: Components are Pure Overhead

brucou profile image
brucou • Edited on

If you were loading each ESM module independently I would argue that is unnecessary overhead.

Overhead, maybe, unnecessary, not sure. There is the costs of things, and then also their benefits. So you need to sum both.

Just that they aren't needed to be mechanical part of the system and we should explore removing their weight.

Sure. That is the same idea than dead code elimination, i.e. not bundling library code that is not used. But that does not mean libraries are overhead right? The dead code sure is.

And sure you can write everything VanillaJS

Interestingly, that may be the zero overhead solution. But in the article I was not advocating using Vanilla JS only. With Functional UI you can still use React for instance but you would only use pure components. Pure components are actual modules. The module interface is the parameters of the function. They depend only on their parameters, that makes them independent, so they can be kept separate and reused in many places. They compose easily because they are functions. In fact, we haven't found yet a much simpler way to compose/decompose computations than functions.

Now, a user interface application can be seen as a series of computations (reactions to every incoming event - that;s Functional UI), but also as a process that is alive as long as the browser page is opened. So how to modularize long-lived processes? There have been several answers to that question. In microfrontend architectures for instance, modules are mini-applications that can be deployed entirely independently. They communicate with other modules through message passing (or events) to realize the whole application behavior. Mini-apps as module come with their own set of tradeoffs and overhead, but those who adopt that architecture find it worth the independent deployability advantage that they get. You can have different teams working completely independently on the smaller parts which gives you development velocity. But that's just one way to modularize, there are others.

Some things naturally are coupled so why introduce the overhead in communication there as well.

Yes, cohesion/coupling is a discussion worth having. What makes sense to group together? What is the shape of that group? How do the groups communicate? etc.

The problem with common frameworks is you aren't breaking things apart because they are too large but for some other reason.

Absolutely agree. How do we modularize in ways that preserve properties of interest? That is a discussion worth having.

Breaking stuff apart is perfectly fine but why pay the cost when it comes back together?

Sure but also why not? Costs have to be put in front of benefits. For instance, not paying the cost of reassembly (when your small modules become a big one) through compilation may have other costs that are not discussed or obvious; and/or produce benefits that are not worth the trouble. I can't talk about what you are proposing because I don't know what that is.

The general idea to be efficient or economical is a good one, that is the base of any proper engineering approach. But my point is that the devil is in the details. So I am looking forward to seeing how you approach the problem, and what are the benefits that your approach will provide, the associated costs, and what the sum of that looks like.