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What open-source design systems are built with web components?

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Alex Page, a Design System engineer at Spotify, has just asked:

What open-source design systems are built with web components? Anyone exploring this space? Curious to learn what is working and what is challenging. #designsystems #webcomponents

And there are lots of interesting examples in the replies.

I plan to read up on some of the stories behind these systems.

I really like Web Components but given that I don’t take a “JavaScript all the things” approach to development and design system components, I’ve been reluctant to consider that web components should be used for every component in a system. They would certainly offer a lovely, HTML-based interface for component consumers and offer interoperability benefits such as Figma integration. But if we shift all the business logic that we currently manage on the server to client-side JavaScript then:

  • the user pays the price of downloading that additional code;
  • you’re writing client-side JavaScript even for those of your components that aren’t interactive; and
  • you’re making everything a custom element (which as Jim Neilsen has previously written brings HTML semantics and accessibility challenges).

However maybe we can keep the JavaScript for our Web Component-based components really lightweight? I don’t know. For now I’m interested to just watch and learn.

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