You can write fast, modern, responsive web applications by generating your HTML on the server, and delivering that (with a little help) directly to the browser. You don’t need JSON as an in-between format. You don’t need client-side MVC frameworks. You don’t need complicated bundling and transpiling pipelines. But you do need to think different.
But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Complexity isn’t really a big problem if you’re a huge company. If you have thousands of developers each responsible for tiny sliver of the application, you might well find appeal and productivity in complicated architectures and build processes. You can amortize that investment over your thousands of developers, and it’s not going to break your back.
But incidental complexity can absolutely break your back if you’re a small team where everyone has to do a lot. The tools and techniques forged in the belly of a huge company is often the exact opposite of what you need to make progress at your scale.
This is what HTML Over The Wire is all about. It’s a celebration of the simplicity in HTML as the format for carrying data and presentation together, whether this is delivered on the first load or with subsequent dynamic updates. A name for a technique that can radically change the assumptions many people have about how modern web applications have to be built today.
Intrigued? Checkout Hotwire for a concrete implementation of these ideals.