Open Collective
Open Collective


A CDN distributed, framework-agnostic collection of functional elements to add robust features to your static HTML page, without writing code.


I've been developing websites and the back-ends that support them as since the days of AOL. I've watched with excitement with each passing year, as the web evolved to what it is today: an application run-time. It now looks more like an OS than than its simple rendering engine beginning. 

Front-end frameworks have come a long way too and today's front-end developers have to know more than just HTML, CSS and JavaScript. They must be experts in multiple frameworks, countless build tools, transpilers and all their respective configuration options that seem to change and break every time you open the IDE.

Today's front-end folks need to know more than ever! There's language abstractions; Typescript, JSX, CoffeeScript (is that still a thing?), Vue, Svelte. There's CSS transpilers; LESS, SaaS, PostCSS and since they have so many things that can go wrong, they also have to write more tests than they wrote code for the site and that means a whole new slew of tooling decisions; Jest, Cypress, Mocha to name a few. Not to mention all the plugins needed for the frameworks, transpilers, bundlers and those add just a few more configuration files that break with the next upgrade.

The cognitive load is massive -- and this is before starting on the actual site!

I've seen what designers can do with HTML and CSS. Junior developers and non-developers alike always seem to pick up the declarative constructs much faster than the imperative counterparts, scripting and the tooling needed to support it. The cognitive-load is much lower when a system is expressed declaratively. It works or it doesn't - there is nothing to debug. 

I've also seen their creativity erased when they have to fix the tooling or add a tiny bit of JavaScript for  interaction. I've also seen the terror comes over a junior developers face as I explain the first steps needed to start a new website or application.

Deciding and configuring on the basic structure and tooling of an app could take days. Designers and developers both face steep, joy-zapping inclines before they can get that first 'hello world' win. I wanted to change that.

To my suprise, I found no libraries focused on application functionality. Most if not all libraries are focused on the UI. Sure, there were components for some interactivity like modals, popups or drawer menus, but nothing for the basics, like routing or event-based element manipulation.

GOAL: Make web-application development fun and simple by modeling functionality after the building blocks of the web: HTML

These components had to adhere to a few principles if they were to accomplish this goal:
  • Components should just work with no additional testing overhead!
    Pre-tested and stable functionality like HTML itself.
  • Components should have ZERO dependencies! 
    No dependency-hell to maintain until you die.
  • Components enable web apps to work without a build-tool or bundling.
    Use one if you want, but it isn't required to see experiences come to life.
  • Components should be completely agnostic and non-opinionated:
    • Work with any host: WordPress, Netlify, Gatsby, ASP.NET, file-server, or CDN
    • Work with any UI Library or with other web components
    • Work with any CSS framework: Bootstrap, Tailwind, Semantic, etc
    • Work with any application framework: Angular, React, Vue, Svelte, etc
  • Components should be ultra light-weight for near-zero download times
  • Components should render immediately and reduce content-shifts
  • Components should download only if the page needs it
  • Components should be deliverable via CDN using a single script-reference
  • Oh and no configuration to maintain

NENT is the first and only UI-agnostic library of functional web components to extend HTML with native application functionality.

With a simple script reference to NENT on a CDN, a static HTML file supports:
  • Single-page application routing right from HTML
  • Rule-based navigation for smart surveys or choose-your-own adventure experiences
  • Automatic navigation with data-aware next and back built-in
  • Auto-generated navigation menus and breadcrumbs
  • Dynamic content from templates with data-binding and expressions
  • Remote HTML/Markdown to organize pages separately or from a remote server
  • Embed data from the URL, cookies, local storage, remote APIs and more
  • Dynamic presentations with event or time-based audio and video controls
  • Event-based element manipulations expressed as HTML
  • Extensible constructs allow advanced developers to add functionality for your designers
  • And lots more
The library has been in production where I work for over a year now, with no issues. We create complex marketing experiences in days, not months and since they are just HTML so like SSG sites, they are FAST to download and they perform better than heavy frameworks.

Now I want to share this tool with you. Whether you are a designer, a tinkerer, or a web developer that just wants to make a website fast, this tool will bring you back to the basics without sacrificing the advances browsers afford.

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Published on June 1, 2022 by Jason Wicker


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