First Impressions of the Svelte JavaScript Framework

Bottom line: I am very impressed with Svelte, mostly because it just “feels right”.

Let me start by saying that the title of this blog post isn’t correct. Svelte is not a JavaScript framework like React, Angular, and Vue — Svelte is a wrapper language and a compiler.

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with one of my work colleagues who has the misfortune to have to create Web applications. If I am a bad person and go to hell when I die, I’m quite sure Satan will have me creating Angular applications for all eternity. Anyway, my pal mentioned that he’d been hearing a lot of positive buzz about the Svelte system, but that he hadn’t looked at Svelte yet.

The Svelte “Hello World” application in the Visual Studio code tool and development server.

Then a couple of days ago, one of the Syncfusion ( authors I work with and whose opinions I respect, Ed F, wrote to me and told me that he’s putting the final touches on a new e-book he’s writing, titled “Svelte Succinctly”.

So, I figured I’d take Svelte out for a test run. To be honest, I was expecting to be disappointed with Svelte. “Yet another JavaScript framework,” I thought. “When will the JavaScript framework madness end?”

I found several excellent introductory tutorials on YouTube. I had a Svelte “Hello World” up and running quickly, but only because I was familiar with all the moving parts of a Svelte development system. Briefly, I installed Visual Studio Code, then in VSC I installed the Svelte development plugin, then I used nodejs (including the npm package manager) to clone the Svelte basic Hello World template from github. And presto, I had the Hello World example running in the VSC development server.

If you work with Web applications, none of this process is surprising. But if you’re new to Web development, learning how to use VSC, nodejs, github, and dozens of related tools, can take many hours of experimentation.

I dislike working with most JavaScript frameworks like Angular, Vue, React, and the dozens of others. I could list many technical reasons why I don’t like those frameworks, but instead I’ll just say that none of them feel right. I’ve been doing software development for many years, with dozens of languages and dozens of environments. With that experience, when I encounter a new system, I have an immediate reaction. Some systems feel like they’re fighting you instead of helping you. But for Svelte, my immediate impression was, “This feels right”.

Svelte code is compiled down to plain vanilla JavaScript. An application made using Svelte is just HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. No insane framework runtime like you get with frameworks.

Anyway, if you’re a Web person, you should consider checking out Svelte.

The word “svelte” means “slender and elegant”. Artist Jean-Gabriel Domergue (1889-1962) was a French painter with a very distinctive style where his subjects were always thin and graceful.

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