Start making a website in 2021 put you in a too-many-choices situation, both for server side and client side. We didn’t even mention deployment methods, CI/CD pipelines, monitoring and alert systems,… However, the answer is quite more simple than we thought: choose whatever we are comfortable with.
This article only do some explainations about our decisions, it may not apply for your particular context.
The question start with Memoet’s determination from the beginning: it will start small, be open source and support a self-hosted solution.
We can’t simply remove components from a website because it’s small. It must have a framework to do request-response cycle, a database for permanent storage, a cache for memorize intense functions’ result, a queue to execute long-running tasks, oh and before that, a web server or reverse proxy to secure and distribute client requests to our web application.
Elixir couldn’t replace the database (we use Postgres for that purpose by the way), but it can do caching, queuing, and web servering also, all from one running process. We are hooked the first time we heard that, too!
Another great thing about Elixir is we can write a Rust library and import them from Elixir using Native Implemented Functions (NIFs). We are using Rust for the SuperMemo2 core logic, which is a ported version of Anki scheduler, which was written in Python.
Why not React, Vue, or Stelve?
Because we are tired of build time, of getting one million packages to run a simple web app, and a bunch of state management frameworks which promised to make the state managing easier but are hard to keep them not to be abused in many huge chunks of client code.
In Memoet we only need a little of hiding and showing texts, some transitions here and there, and AlpineJs does us good.
TailwindCSS makes styling elements a joy
CSS is not so hard, but it’s hard to pick one style in a pool of unlimited
options. Tailwind does a great work of limiting our options into a few and
hence make styling things become much easier and joyful. All Memoet styles are
rem using TailwindCSS.
If you ask about BootstrapCSS, it is great, but it’s component-based, and is hard to write customized elements because you have to use all CSS options, again. We would like to be creative and confined at the same time for our design, so all votes go to Tailwind.
Making a web app is easy nowaday, the difficult thing is to pick what really bring you the joy. In our case, it is Elixir, AlpineJs and TailwindCSS.
Take a peak at our source: github.com/memoetapp/memoet.