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Žan Černe
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Technology ·

Scalable Frontend Interfaces

Raycast is a Mac app which can be used as a replacement for Apple’s Spotlight search. I started using Raycast in December 2022 and I love the app. I even built an extension for it and the reason why I decided to build it was simply due to the amazing API they provided for building a frontend for my extension. All I had to do was connect the wires.

I was really intrigued when I learned that you can now access Bluesky, a Twitter alternative, as a Raycast extension. Raycast has done an amazing job providing a frontend component-based API for building extensions that are mostly differentiated based on the backend data. Sure, you can make some design-related choices, but the biggest and most important ones are already predefined for you by Raycast’s API.

It got me thinking about the power of a good component-based frontend interface that can be used and reused across the board regardless of the domain or data set. It got me thinking about the idea of having scalable frontend interfaces, similar to what Raycast offers for extensions, but for the web. Sure, a lot of web apps would look basically identical, but wouldn’t that be good? With such interfaces, you would instantly know how it works and how to navigate it—same logic, same icon positioning, same gestures, same shortcuts. In my head, it makes a lot of sense at least for very simple web apps. Or, you can get partial functionality (usually covering most user needs) while still having the full version available build by the original provider.

I can imagine a platform offering anyone the ability to build and create a simple component-based “extension” and make it available to anyone on the platform - in browser. This is just an idea and maybe not even a good one.

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