Why HTMX Won’t Replace JavaScript Anytime Soon

Francisco Gutiérrez
2 min readAug 31, 2023

Ah, JavaScript, the language that backend developers love to hate.

While many have tried to eliminate it from the development equation, it keeps coming back — like a boomerang or a catchy song. Enter HTMX, the new star of the “Can we please get rid of JavaScript?” club. Before you jump on the bandwagon, let’s take a critical look at what HTMX has to offer, and what it might cost you in the long run.

HTMX make it possible

The Real Costs

Server Load and Bandwidth

HTMX promises a simpler frontend by moving its logic to the backend. But every rose has its thorns: increased server load, bandwidth usage, and storage requirements are among them. For example, displaying clocks for various timezones in an HTMX-based application would necessitate constant server requests, each with its own computational and data transfer costs.

The Trap of Hidden Costs

While the immediate costs might seem trivial, they can snowball as your application scales. It’s essential to recognize that what starts as a minimal overhead could become a budgetary concern as user numbers swell.

Migration Concerns

Starting with HTMX might feel like a smooth ride, but switching gears later could prove costly. The initial convenience can potentially lead to higher expenses should you decide to migrate to another, more scalable solution.

User Experience Matters

The requirement for more frequent server calls and data transfer can be a UX bottleneck, particularly for users with limited bandwidth. Waiting for “loading” messages to disappear rarely makes for a delightful user experience.

The Big Tech Benefit

Big Tech companies could find technologies like HTMX advantageous. Not in a sinister way, but simply because more server-side operations equate to increased usage of their cloud services, translating into higher revenues.

Conclusion

HTMX may seem like a quick fix but brings long-term costs that outweigh any short-term ease. Even small-scale projects, which might seem like the ideal candidates for such a technology, could find themselves trapped by hidden operational costs. Large enterprises aren’t exempt either; they might just end up padding the revenue streams of cloud service providers.

So for those backend developers eagerly waiting to write JavaScript’s obituary — hold your horses. It seems JavaScript will live to see another day.

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Francisco Gutiérrez

An web artisan too old for the hype. 📜 "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."