ReactEurope interview #2: Elie Rotenberg

Here goes our second ReactEurope speaker interview, you can read the first one of Dan Abramov here in case you missed it.

Elie loves React.js and is obsessed with making his apps fully isomorphic. According to Wikipedia:

In mathematics, an isomorphism (from the Greek: ἴσος isos “equal”, and μορφή morphe “shape”) is a homomorphism (or more generally a morphism) that admits an inverse. Two mathematical objects areisomorphic if an isomorphism exists between them.

To reach this goal, he’s working on various open source projects which are still very much in flux (pun intended) and he will present his work at the conference under the exciting title of “Flux over the Wire”. Enjoy the interview:

Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from, what do you do?

Hello! I’m from Paris, France, and I’m very glad that ReactEurope gives the attendees a chance to enjoy my beloved city ☺
I’m currently CTO of Webedia Gaming, a french web editor. My team and I work on jeuxvideo.com, the most popular videogames website in France, and millenium.org, an online community for passionate gamers (think esports and WebTV streaming). We both work on “the usual” features (CMS, articles, forums) and also on more fancy stuff (chat, interactive real-time video player, instant messaging), at relatively large scale (hundreds of millions monthly pageviews). We are currently transitioning some of our features, including the most fancy ones, to React on top of Nexus, our full-stack realtime flux architecture.

What were you using before React?

Pretty much like everyone else I guess: a hand-rolled, Backbone-like framework. Basically, a thin component-oriented approach with manual view rendering/updating/disposing. State hell. Powerful, but really low-level and a pain to maintain. Mounted on the client after a first server-side rendering pass in PHP (basically targeting spiders). And updated with HTTP requests to an HTTP endpoint exposing the database.

What made you switch to React?

I was immediately convinced by the very first problem React claimed to solve: automatic and efficient view lifecycle management. I think that everyone that has tried to actually deploy and maintain a Backbone-like app beyond a Todo List demo can relate.
But the ideas behind their solution proved much deeper: components-based declarative approach, actually useful separation of concerns, and overall design sanity. Everything just feels right in React, and it is such a great building block that it motivates you to rethink everything else to fit with this beautifully crafted gem.
When you ask people why they love React, many different responses come up. I think this is what best shows how great the abstractions at the core of React are: they drive a better software design for the web, far beyond view management.

What’s your greatest react projects, open source or not that you’d like to tell the world about?

React Nexus and Nexus Flux of course! It basically takes React as the frontest end of the web stack, and makes sure it all fits well. Nexus Flux is an implementation of the Flux abstraction, making it possible to use the same APIs for either local, client-side state, and remote, server-side state. React Nexus implements server-side rendering on top of this API.

What do you expect from the conf?

Discovering great people with great ideas and great enthusiasm. The React community is really amazing, really, I’ve been to ReactConf in January and I’ve never seen anything close to that.

Anything else you want to tell future attendees?

#thefutureistoday!

There you go, you now know a bit more about Elie and hopefully you will be able to meet him personally at the conf.

If you haven’t done so already, make sure to grab your ticket to the conference before they’re all gone and see you there!