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Scalable frontend, with Elm or Redux

Thanks to everyone trying to solve the problem.


The point of this specification is to see how we can build a scalable frontend architecture.

The specification remains simple compared to real-world applications, but it is meant to be kind of painful for both Redux and Elm to solve :)

This repository was created after discussions on this issue. Check it out, there are some proposed implementations that are worth checking.

What we don't try to solve here: tooling, css, ajax requests, performance...

Some observations:

  • Nested actions of Elm seems perfect for local component state but non-local interactions is not so easy
  • Flat actions of Flux/Redux seems perfect for global app state, but people still rely a lot on React this.setState for local component state.

None of these two approaches seems perfect to me. But can we have the best of both worlds?


It is based on the famous RandomGif ( JS / Elm example that is often used to showcase Elm architecture.

The app should have:

1) A NewGif component used multiple times:

NewGif is the original example component. It is used multiple times inside the app at different places. All the instances are not necessarily close to each others in the DOM tree.

  • A top-level RandomGif issuing actions like: APP_UPDATED > ... > TOP_LEVEL_RANDOM_GIF_UPDATED > NEW_GIF

  • A pair of RandomGif issuing actions like: APP_UPDATED > ... > RANDOM_GIF_PAIR > FIRST_RANDOM_GIF_UPDATED > NEW_GIF


2) A button

The button can be active or inactive. It is green when active and red when inactive. Clicking on it toggles its active state (default is inactive).

3) A counter value

The counter value should be incremented everytime a NEW_GIF action is fired from any NewGif component, no matter the nesting, but the incrementation amount is not fixed.

Business rule:

if ( ( counter >= 10 ) && ( buttonState === "active" ) ) { 
  increment by 2 
else { 
  increment by 1 

4) The app should focus maintainability / scalability / decoupling

Somehow this problem is easy to solve in a way that creates a lot of coupling between components.

The 3 components (NewGif/Counter/Button) should be decoupled and not see each others in any way. They can't import stuff from each others. Ideally, in a JS based solutions, one could be able to publish each 3 components in separate NPM packages that don't depend on each others.

The aim of decoupling the components is that a team can take ownership of each component. Then another team is responsible of making all the components work nicely together, and you already have split the work into 4 teams.

For example, the NewGif component should not be aware of the presence of the existance of a counter, deeply hidden in a little stats popup of our app. If this counter had to be removed by the business, it's place in dom tree updated, or it's business rule be changed, the team maintaining the NewGif widget should rather not have to know about that.

It should also be easy to move the position of components. For example imagine the button is top left of your app, and the business now wants it inside a popup, bottom right: this move of component in the tree should rather be easy to make (ie without having to modify all parent components, for example).

Good luck

I don't have yet a solution for this problem but would be happy to see any proposal to solve this problem. I'd like to see solutions in any language (JS / ES6 / Elm / Typescript ...) or tech (Elm / Redux / Cycle / ...)


Here are just some ideas I or some others had on how this problem can be solved.

Submit your solution

If you would like to propose your solution, don't hesitate to.

  • Give a good name to your solution. For me something like redux-elmish-saga-slorber or elm-2mailboxes-slorber
  • Create an issue with your solution name, to get feedbacks
  • Make a pull request, create a folder with your solution name

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An attempt to make Redux and Elm applications scale







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