Building a Better Web
June 11–12, 2018: Training
June 12–14, 2018: Tutorials & Conference
San Jose, CA

Serverless Server-Side Rendering: Improving User Experience with React and Serverless Functions

Natalie Qabazard (Zillow Group)
4:25pm–5:05pm Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Future JS and Functional
Location: 212 A/B Level: Intermediate
Secondary topics:  Developer Experience Track: Tools, Platforms, and Techniques, High-level, Technical

Who is this presentation for?

This presentation is for developers interested in learning more about server-side rendering, serverless functions, and improving user experience.

Prerequisite knowledge

A working knowledge of React, and any exposure to building architectures in the cloud (AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure).

What you'll learn

A new understanding of the benefits of using a serverless product to perform server-side rendering using React, as well as the challenges and drawbacks of this approach.


Rendering a webpage server-side using React and a “serverless” resource like AWS Lambda, a function-as-a-service (FaaS) product, can drastically speed up the load time of your webpage. It’s an uncommon approach because this breaks the mold of the developer’s traditional approach to webpage rendering. However, it’s worth considering because of the many benefits that come with it like improved user-perceived performance, potentially lower costs compared to a hosted instance, and a hassle-free developer experience.

In this talk, we’ll look at the differences between client-side rendering and server-side rendering (SSR) and why SSR is still important to use when needed. We’ll then move into why serverless server-side rendering is the future and how anyone can do it. We’ll address how to:
• Improve user-perceived performance for large web-apps
• Transition to a serverless approach, using Lambda and other cloud products
• Maximize the benefits and navigate the challenges, while continuing to deliver a seamless customer experience

Specifically, I will demo the minimum set of steps required to make a request to a Lambda function and get HTML in return. Because AWS Lambda isn’t the only FaaS, I will discuss how to carry out the same steps using functions from other cloud providers too. To conclude, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of SSR using serverless functions.

Photo of Natalie Qabazard

Natalie Qabazard

Zillow Group

Natalie Qabazard is a software engineer at Trulia, where she works with various web development technologies and APIs. Her experience working with React at Trulia has led her to training others and participating in panel discussions regarding the technology, as well as giving talks about React and AWS. Natalie is working on a new team, where she gets to use various AWS products and APIs to bring a new product to millions of users at Trulia.

Natalie graduated from University of California, Davis with a degree in Computer Science in 2015. She is passionate about bridging the gap between academia and industry, as well as fostering diversity in the Computer Science space. She is an active leader of the Women in Engineering group at Trulia and strives to facilitate constructive meetings for women engineers to attend monthly.

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