December 20, 2023 - Adam Tulloss
Web components are a set of standardized web platform APIs that allow you to create reusable and encapsulated HTML elements with their own custom functionality. They consist of three main parts:
Custom Elements API enables developers to define their own HTML elements with a custom name and behavior. These elements can encapsulate both structure and behavior, making them reusable across different web applications.
HTML Templates allow you to declare fragments of markup that can be reused without rendering them immediately. These templates can be used within custom elements to define their structure.
Web components promote modularity and reusability in web development by allowing developers to create their own custom elements that can be easily integrated into web applications, making it easier to maintain and scale complex projects.
Autonomous web components are standalone custom elements that do not extend existing HTML elements. They are created using the customElements.define() method and provide a new, unique HTML element with custom functionality. For example, you can define a <my-button> element with custom behavior and attributes, and then use it in your HTML like any other HTML element.
Customized built-in web components, also known as “extends” components, extend existing HTML elements such as <button>, <input>, or <div>.
Let’s make a web component for a simple greeting, kind of like a “hello world”.
We’ll start by defining a class extending an HTMLElement, and registering it with the customElements.define function.
Next, add a constructor, where we open the shadow root and initialize the name property.
Next, complete the web component by adding the remaining necessary methods.
At this stage, you’ll notice that several things are happening. Using the shadow dom, we add an HTML template along with some styles in the render method. The render method needs to be manually called every time something changes, as well as after the web component loads.
Web components are designed to be reusable. Once you’ve defined a web component, you can use it throughout your web application as many times as needed. This promotes a modular and DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) approach to development, saving time and effort.
Web components make use of Shadow DOM, which allows you to encapsulate the components’ styles and prevent them from affecting the global CSS of your application. This ensures that your component’s styles won’t unintentionally leak or be overridden by other styles in the project.
While web components can be used with frameworks, they also provide an option for developers who prefer a lighter-weight solution without the overhead of a full-featured framework. This flexibility allows you to choose the level of complexity that best suits your project’s needs.
Web components are gaining popularity, and the ecosystem around them is growing. There are libraries and tools specifically built to simplify web component development, making it increasingly convenient to create and use them in your projects.
Web components encapsulate their functionality, styles, and templates, preventing them from interfering with the global scope or other parts of the application.
By compiling web components, you ensure that your components remain compatible with evolving web standards and technologies.
Frameworks like Lit are specifically designed to simplify the creation and management of web components. Lit offers a lightweight and developer-friendly approach to building web components by providing a set of tools and patterns.
Lit optimizes updates by only modifying the parts of the DOM that need to change, improving performance.
Lit supports composing components, making it easy to build complex applications from smaller, reusable pieces.
Svelte shifts much of the framework logic to compile time, resulting in smaller and faster output code.
Svelte encourages a component-based approach to UI development, and these components can be compiled into web components for use in various contexts.
Svelte automatically adds reactivity to components, making it easy to create responsive user interfaces.
The compiled output from Svelte is typically smaller compared to traditional frameworks, leading to faster load times.
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