Frontity

Frontity is the easiest way to create lightning fast websites using WordPress and React. Open source and free to use.

ยป What is Frontity?

Frontity can be explained in two different ways:

  1. As an alternative rendering engine for WordPress.
  2. As a React framework to create WordPress themes.

Both are true :)

1. An alternative rendering engine for WordPress

In the past the only way to get HTML out of WordPress was to use its PHP rendering engine. Quite an old friend, isn't it? ;)

But in WordPress 4.7 the WP API was included in the core.

An API is a protocol to retrieve content from an external service.

Thanks to the WP API, developers are no longer limited to the PHP rendering engine. They can retrieve their WordPress content and use it wherever they want. A new world of possibilities started.

One of those possibilities is to create WordPress themes using React. That's where Frontity comes into play.

2. A React framework to create WordPress themes

React is a super powerful library for building user interfaces. It was created by Facebook and is taking over front-end development.

But, in spite of how amazing it is, React is just a JavaScript library, not a framework. It does not assume anything about the other parts in any full solution. It focuses on just one thing, and on doing that thing very well.

In order to create a WordPress theme with React, developers need to learn and configure lots of different things: bundling, transpiling, routing, server rendering, retrieving data from WordPress, managing state, managing css, linting, testing...

There is a reason React frameworks exist. For example, Next.js and GatsbyJS are two amazing React frameworks. Both can work with WordPress, but they are not focused on WordPress. Therefore, there's still some configuration and additional tooling left to the developer.

Frontity on the other hand, is an opinionated React framework focused on WordPress:

  • Focused on WordPress: each part of the framework has been simplified and optimized to be used with WordPress.
  • Opinionated framework: developers don't need to figure out what tools to use for things like css or state management.

This means everything is ready so you can jump in and create a new amazing WordPress theme using React right away! ๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿš€

ยป How does Frontity work?

Frontity apps live in Node.js, separated from WordPress.

  • It uses the WP API to retrieve content and generate the final HTML.
  • It is also capable of generating AMP pages with the same React code and CSS.

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Why a different Node.js server?

React is a JavaScript library. In order to generate HTML for the visitors or Google, the server needs to be able to run JavaScript as well.

In theory a PHP server can send an empty HTML with the JavaScript files and the visitor will see the page after the JavaScript has loaded, but it is not a good user experience and certainly not recommended if your site needs to rank in Google.

Frontity is prepared to be hosted either in a regular Node.js server or in serverless services like AWS Lambda, Vercel, Netlify, Google Functions and so on. That makes it super cheap and infinitely scalable.

Oh, and by the way, Frontity is extensible. It allows you to easily add new features to your theme via extensions and NPM packages without having to create them from scratch. Right now, we are working on extensions like Disqus comments, OneSignal notifications, Adsense, Doubleclick, SmartAds, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Custom CSS or Custom HTML. This means, Frontity Themes won't have to reinvent the wheel and include the same functionalities over and over.

GitHub

https://github.com/frontity/frontity