Server Rendering (Beta)

In addition to supporting static and Single Page application project types, you can also use Greenwood to author routes completely in JavaScript and host these on a server.

👉 To run a Greenwood project with SSR routes for production, just use the serve command.


File based routing also applies to server routes. Just create JavaScript file in the pages/ directory and that's it!


The above would serve content in a browser at /users/.


In your [page].js file, Greenwood supports three functions you can export for providing server rendered configuration and content:

async function getFrontmatter(compilation, route, label, id) {
  return { /* ... */ };

async function getBody(compilation, route) {
  return `/* some HTML here */`;

async function getTemplate(compilation, route) {
  return `/* some HTML here */`;

export {


Any Greenwood supported frontmatter can be returned here. This is only run once when the server is started to populate the graph, which is helpful if you want your dynamic route to show up in a menu like in your header for navigation.

You can even define a template and reuse all your existing templates, even for server routes!

// example
async function getFrontmatter(compilation, route) {
  return {
    template: 'user',
    menu: 'header',
    index: 1,
    title: `${compilation.config.title} - ${route}`,
    imports: [
    data: {
      /* ... */

For defining custom dynamic based metadata, like for <meta> tags, use getTemplate and define those tags right in your HTML.


For just returning content, you can use getBody. For example, return a list of users from an API as the HTML you need.

import fetch from 'node-fetch'; // this needs to be installed from npm

async function getBody(compilation) {
  const users = await fetch('').then(resp => resp.json());
  const timestamp = new Date().getTime();
  const usersListItems = users
    .map((user) => {
      const { name, imageUrl } = user;

      return `
          <td><img src="${imageUrl}"/></td>

  return `
      <h1>Hello from the server rendered users page! 👋</h1>
      <h6>Fetched at: ${timestamp}</h6>


For creating a template dynamically, you can use getTemplate and return the HTML you need.

async function getTemplate(compilation, route) {
  return `
        <meta name="description" content="${compilation.config.title} - ${route} (this route was generated server side!!!)">

          * {
            color: blue;

          h1 {
            width: 50%;
            margin: 0 auto;
            text-align: center;
            color: red;
        <h1>This heading was rendered server side!</h1>

Hybrid Projects

One of the great things about Greenwood is that you can seamlessly move from completely static to server rendered, without giving up either one! 💯

Given the following workspace of just pages


Greenwood would output the following static build output


Now, add a dynamic route and run serve...


Greenwood will now build and serve all the static content from the pages/ directory as before BUT will also start a server that will now fulfill requests to the newly added server rendered pages too. Neat!

Render vs Prerender

Greenwood provides the ability to prerender your project and Web Components using Puppeteer. So what is the difference between that and rendering? In the context of Greenwood, rendering is the process of generating the initial HTML as you would when running on a server. Prerendering is the ability to execute exclusively browser code in a browser and capture that result as static HTML.

So what does that mean, exactly? Basically, you can think of them as being complimentary, where in you might have server side routes that pull content server side (getBody), but can be composed of static HTML templates (in your src/templates directory) that can have client side code (Web Components) with <script> tags that could be run after through a headless browser.

The hope with Greenwood is that user's can choose the best blend of server rendering and browser prerendering that fits their projects best because running in a browser unlocks more client side capabilities that will (likely) never be available in a server context, like:

  • window / document objects
  • Full suite of web component lifecycles
  • import maps
  • Better UX when JS is turned off

So server rendering, when constraints are understood, can be a lot a faster to execute compared to a headless browser. However, with good caching strategies, the cost of rendering HTML once with either technique, when amortized over all the subsequent requests and responses, usually ends up being negligible in the long run.

So we hope users find a workflow that works best for them and see Greenwood as more of a knob or spectrum, rather than a toggle. This blog post also provides a lot of good information on the various rendering strategies implemented these days. ⚙️