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In this article, we will publish a full-featured, server-side rendered (SSR) Vue application to Cloudflare Workers. But before we begin, let’s talk about what exactly are Cloudflare Workers, define server-side rendering and compare this setup to a more conventional load-balanced architecture.
Quite a lot of things happen when the user navigates to a website. The browser resolves the website domain name, initiates a TCP connection, sends an HTTP request to the webserver, receives the HTTP response.
The closest alternative to Cloudflare Workers is AWS Lambda@Edge. AWS Lambda@Edge differs in a few key aspects: it features fewer edge locations, and it runs Node.js rather than the V8 engine, which contributes to longer cold start times.
The commonly deployed server-side rendering architecture consists of load balancer(s) distributing incoming traffic to several containerized or virtualized Node.js processes. If we were to match the Cloudflare Workers or AWS Lambda@Edge, we’d have to deploy this setup to every relevant region and availability zone. Cloudflare Workers do all this work for us.Essential Reading: Learn React from Scratch! (2019 Edition)
To publish a server-rendered Vue application to Cloudflare, you’ll need a few things:
- A Cloudflare account with Workers Unlimited plan, it costs $0.50 / million requests per month, with a minimum charge of $5 / month.
- A Node.js installation running locally on your machine, and access to the command-line.
Make sure that you have the latest versions of Vue Cli and Cloudflare Wrangler:
$ npm i -g @cloudflare/wrangler @vue/cli
Note the Cloudflare Global API key and Workers Account Id. You can find the Global API key on the bottom of the Api Tokens page. The Workers Account Id is on the right sidebar of the Workers Overview Dashboard ; you may need to scroll down.
Next configure the Workers CLI, it will ask for the account email and the Global API key.
$ wrangler config Enter Email: email@example.com Enter api key: 123456abcdef
Let’s clone the template I prepared. It is a modified Vue CLI project that follows the Server-Side Rendering Guide as closely as possible.
$ git clone https://github.com/l5x/vue-ssr-cloudflare-workers-template.git $ cd vue-ssr-cloudflare-workers-template $ npm install
wrangler.toml is the Cloudflare Workers configuration file. Update the
account_id field and run:
$ npm run publish ... Built successfully, built project size is 554 KiB. Successfully published your script to https://vue-ssr-cloudflare-workers.YOUR-SUBDOMAIN.workers.dev
And that’s it. You should have a working server-side rendered Vue application with vue-router, vuex, (re)hydration, dynamic imports, critical CSS, and asset injection. Let’s go over the project’s structure and key configuration files.
client.config.js extends the Vue CLI webpack configuration, adds the
VueSSRClientPlugin, and removes the
HtmlWebpackPlugin and the
PreloadWebpackPlugin. The entry for this build is
worker.config.js extends the Vue CLI webpack configuration, removes the
babel-loader, sets the correct environment variables, enables
vendor/vue-server-renderer/basic.js is a modified Vue Bundle Renderer that works in Cloudflare Workers’ environment. It only supports the
renderToString method. See this commit for details.
src/entry-worker.js is the entry-point for the Cloudflare Workers. The Worker starts by subscribing to incoming requests i.e., listening to
fetch events. For each incoming request, it checks if there are static assets available that match the request URL. If there is a match, Cloudflare Worker Sites responds with the static asset. If the request URL did not match any static assets, the Vue application takes over and matches the request URL to routes defined in
The setup described in this article should give you a good starting point. Next time we will add caching with Cloudflare Workers KV to this setup. Reach out to me on twitter. I’m happy to help with this or a similar topic.
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