Some notes on local-first development

The web is due for a major upgrade, and local-first development is emerging as a paradigm shift that could revolutionize rich client apps. Local-first involves shifting reads and writes to an embedded database in each client, facilitated by sync engines that enable data exchange between clients and servers. This approach simplifies state management, supports real-time sync, and offline usage, and enables faster CRUD operations. Startups like Figma, Superhuman, and Linear have already adopted local-first principles, and more developers are considering its advantages. However, there are still challenges to overcome before local-first becomes mainstream, particularly in handling complex writes. There are several approaches to local-first development, including replicated data structures, replicated database tables, and replication as a protocol. The choice of approach depends on the specific use case, but local-first is best suited for real-time, multiplayer, and offline applications. However, it is still a bleeding-edge technology with unexpected problems and a need for novel problem-solving. Developers interested in local-first can find resources and support from the local-first community.

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