I'm not sure what to do next with POP Forums

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, December 29, 2020, 12:25 AM | comments: 0

This has been a big year for me in terms of writing codez, and that's serious since I don't do it for a living at the moment (I'm manager, not maker, these days). I created a whole lot of stuff, and now that I'm coming up for a breath, the question is, what do I do with POP Forums next?

The goals in the last year or two were all exciting to meet. I wanted to make sure I could scale it out and up to handle most any traffic, not because I needed to, but I wanted to see if I could. I have no idea what the upper limit is, because I don't have the resources (or expertise) to load test it to the breaking point. I wanted to get it entirely on .NET Core so I could run it all on Linux services, because it's cheaper. I wanted to knock out some simple features that had been on the backlog for a bit. I wanted it to be current on all the packages. It's so damn fast and it generally works pretty well.

Now what? My issue is that I don't like that it still depends on jQuery on the front-end. I'm also not crazy about committing to any of the typical front-end frameworks because a forum has to be as easy for machines to index as possible to keep your Google juice in tact, and turning it into an "application" with dynamically loaded content could end badly. If I was just interested in eliminating jQuery and using vanilla Javascript, that's actually not a huge lift. I could go there, and maybe that's what I should really go after.

But there's something to be said for the template and data binding magic that you get with the frameworks. A version or two ago of the forums, I converted the admin area to use Vue.js, and once I started to "get it," I really enjoyed building it out. It has some quirks, but it's such a low-usage part of the app that I can live with the weirdness. What felt particularly good about that endeavor is that the whole admin "app" lives in two big old files, so other than some basic parsing, I'm not compiling and packing a hundred different files. I'm not sure why this triggers me, but it does. I hate when you create a project with these frameworks and end up with 30,000+ files on your computer. Still, I would overlook that if you could use Vue as little component fragments all over the place.

Templating is something you can definitely swing yourself with vanilla JS, too, but it sure feels like reinventing the wheel. I've experimented with that before, and it's not the worst thing ever. I just need to brush up on the "right" way to structure things, because I still write script like it's 1999. I haven't even gone particularly deep on TypeScript, when maybe I should.

Of course, after building MLocker, my personal music service, now I'm tempted to go deeper with Blazor. Yeah, there's an up-front download cost, which in practical terms looks like it's under 2 MB for most real conditions, but that's not really the big deal that I think it is. And from a search engine perspective, it's stupid easy to render pages on the server with the same components that run in the browser. It's hard for me to not look deeper into that. I could end up with less Javascript instead of more.

I'm sure I'll think of something and pick a direction.


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