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"Server-rendering your UI is expensive!"

Show me it matters.

Whenever people are duking it out over where UI should be rendered (server vs. client), compute cost inevitably comes up.

“Rendering UI on the server is costly and wasteful,” client-side rendering advocates say.

I’ve heard that claim a lot, but I’ve not seen much to make me believe it matters. Is server rendering really so jarringly expensive that it’s pummeling your bottom line, or is it a negligible blip?

And more importantly, has that cost been weighed against the benefits to user experience on the other side? Particularly for those with low-end Android phones and a slow network connection in nowhere Alabama?

“It’s expensive” is meaningless without reference and context. My compute cost may jump by $100/month, but I’ll gladly pay if it means my conversion or retention rate explodes due to better front-end performance.

The trade-off might not even come out to be worth it, but that’s gotta be determined with more numbers and fewer axioms.

Alex MacArthur is a software engineer working for Dave Ramsey in Nashville-ish, TN.
Soli Deo gloria.

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