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Web Components

Web Components is a suite of different technologies allowing you to create reusable custom elements for web applications, utilizing standard APIs and encapsulated architecture.

What are Web Components?

Web Components are a set of web platform APIs that enable developers to create custom, reusable, encapsulated HTML tags to use in web pages and web apps. This encapsulation and reusability are what make Web Components incredibly powerful and flexible. Essentially, they allow you to define new HTML elements in a framework-agnostic way, adhering to the modern web standards.

The Web Components technology encompasses four main specifications:

  1. Custom Elements
  2. Shadow DOM
  3. HTML Templates
  4. HTML Imports (Note: HTML Imports have since been deprecated in favor of ES Modules)

Custom Elements

Custom Elements are one of the cornerstones of Web Components. They allow developers to define their own HTML elements and the behavior of those elements. This is achieved through JavaScript, giving the ability to extend standard HTML elements or create entirely new types of elements.

For example, you could define a custom <my-map> element that integrates with mapping APIs to display a dynamic map.

Shadow DOM

The Shadow DOM provides encapsulation for your elements, meaning you can write markup and styles for an element without fear of it clashing with other styles or scripts on the page. It essentially creates a scoped subtree within your element.

For instance, when you use the Shadow DOM, you could style a custom button component, and those styles wouldn't interfere with other styles on your site or app.

HTML Templates

HTML Templates allow you to define chunks of HTML that you can reuse. These templates are inert until you specifically instantiate them via JavaScript. This helps in creating reusable content blocks without immediate rendering.

Using HTML templates, you might have a common card layout that you can populate with different data sets as needed.

Benefits of Web Components

Reusability and Maintainability

One of the major advantages of using Web Components is the reusability and maintainability they offer. Since each component is self-contained, you can easily reuse them across different projects and maintain them without worrying about breaking other parts of your application.


Web Components work with any framework or library, or even without any framework at all. Whether you're using React, Angular, Vue.js, or no framework, you can integrate Web Components seamlessly into your project.

Encapsulation and Isolation

The encapsulation provided by Web Components ensures that your component's styles and scripts don't inadvertently affect other parts of your application. This isolation helps in reducing bugs and makes it easier to manage dependencies.

Standardized API

Web Components use standardized browser APIs, which means they are expected to work uniformly across modern browsers. This standardization eases the learning curve and ensures that your components are future-proof.

Use Cases for Web Components

Design Systems

Web Components are highly effective for building design systems. Since they are reusable and work across different projects, they can serve as the building blocks for a consistent design language.


Due to their encapsulated nature, Web Components are ideal for microfrontend architecture, allowing different teams to work on separate micro-apps that integrate seamlessly into a larger application.

Easy Integration

If you have existing applications and you want to introduce new features without refactoring the entire codebase, Web Components can be an excellent choice. They allow you to enhance your application incrementally.

Learning and Adopting Web Components

Ease of Learning

Web Components can be relatively easy to learn if you are already familiar with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The key concepts like Custom Elements and Shadow DOM may require some initial learning, but they build on existing web standards.

Documentation and Community

There is a robust set of documentation available for Web Components. Communities around modern frameworks like Angular, React, and Vue.js also often provide guidance on how to integrate Web Components with these frameworks.

Performance Considerations

Web Components are known for their performance benefits, especially since they allow for native browser optimization. Because they are built using modern web standards, they often perform better than similar functionality built using traditional JavaScript.

Best Practices for Using Web Components

  1. Namespace your elements: To avoid naming collisions, always give a prefix to your custom elements.
  2. Use Shadow DOM wisely: While encapsulation is a powerful feature, misuse can lead to performance bottlenecks.
  3. Leverage HTML Templates: These can save lots of time and effort by keeping your code DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself).
  4. Test Thoroughly: Ensure your Web Components work well across different browsers and frameworks.


Web Components offer a powerful way to build reusable, maintainable, and encapsulated web elements. By leveraging this modern web standard, you can build applications that are not only efficient but also easier to manage. To try out Web Components in your next project, consider using wisp to power your content. With wisp's capabilities, integrating web technologies becomes a seamless and productive experience.

External Resources

  1. MDN Web Docs: Web Components
  2. Google Developers Guide on Web Components