Tech

Serverless hosting: Cloudflare takes over Linc

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The provider Cloudflare, which specializes in DNS and content delivery network (CDN) services, has announced the takeover of Linc. Linc sees itself as a front-end delivery platform that developers can use to manage CI / CD pipelines for their front-end applications. Linc is pursuing an alternative architecture approach to the widely used JAMstack via the so-called Frontend Application Bundles (FAB). In interaction with Cloudflare’s serverless services Workers and Pages, FABs are intended to bridge the gap between static and dynamic front ends.

With the JAMstack (JavaScript, API, Markup) originating from Netlify, JavaScript code handles the communication with the server via web APIs, while the markup on delivery generates the content via a (static) site generator or a framework with template support . With the FAB approach, Linc is taking a different approach: A deployment artifact should cover support for all server-side requirements, from purely static sites to apps (which use API routes or cloud functions) to fully server-side streaming rendering.

When using FABs, web developers can work with familiar frameworks such as Angular, React, Next.js or Vue.js. The FAB compiler generates a fab.zip file that matches the respective framework. It contains two components: a server.js file that serves as the server-side entry point and a _assets directory that stores HTML, CSS, JS, images and fonts that are sent to the client. According to Linc, the approach not only works with the differently structured app types, but is also designed for common CDNs and serverless hosting platforms.

With the FAB approach, Linc and Cloudflare do without load balancers and CDN.

(Image: Cloudflare)

However, its specific advantages apparently only come into play in combination with Cloudflares Workers and the underlying key value store (Workers KV). While most platforms provide the two components of an FAB separately – the assets can be stored on inexpensive object storage on the CDN and the server components transferred to the serverless host – Cloudflare workers enable the FABs to be installed directly at the edge without any upstream Run Load Balancer or CDN. Although all requests have to be made by the worker with the server.js in this configuration, the FAB approach offers performance advantages, assure the Linc managers. The assets stored in the Cloudflare Workers KV would be available more quickly than those from third-party hosts that are connected via proxies.

More information on the acquisition of Linc by Cloudflare delivers a blog post, which also explains the approach of the frontend application bundles in more detail. More details on frontend delivery via FAB can be found on the Linc homepage.


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