Web apps with no backend code: the Jekyll-Angular-Firebase (JAF) stack

If you're a web developer like me, you're probably spending a lot of time writing and maintaining backend code.

Now, for a moment, imagine there is no backend code. Not a single line. Your entire web application consists of a set of static files, served inexpensively by a CDN or for free by GitHub Pages. There's still code, but it runs entirely on the client in JavaScript, supported by the framework of your choice. For reading and writing data, it talks directly to a Backend as a Service (BaaS) provider (think database plus authorization and security rules).

How far can you get with this approach?

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Querying Elasticsearch

One of the many things I like about Elasticsearch is its JSON-based domain-specific language (DSL). For example, a simple search query looks like this:

{
  {
  "from": 0,
  "size": 10,
  "query": {
    "query_string": {
      "query": "banana"
    }
  }
}

Kimchy could have created a SQL-like query language for Elasticsearch, in which case the query above would probably look somewhat like this:

query (query_string = "banana") with from(0), size(10)

Fortunately, he didn't. Let me explain why I think that was a particularly smart choice.

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