Enhance Lifecycle


The journey of an HTTP request through Enhance isn’t complicated, but it’s helpful to understand how the final HTML document is assembled from the code you author in app/.


When an HTTP request (GET, POST, etc.) is initiated by the browser, Enhance decides how to route it. First checking for a matching API function and then a Page.

my-rad-app.net/login → app/api/login.mjs → app/pages/login.html

Error Handling

If an error is encountered, either because no route match was found (404) or an internal exception (500) occurs, Enhance calls the corresponding error function.

API Data Function

When a requested route has a matching app/api/ file, it is passed the request and executed first so that the Store can be populated for the matching Page.

Return JSON

If there is an API function, but no matching Page or the request’s headers includes Accept: application/json, the result of the API function will be returned directly to the client as JSON with the correct headers.


This is a great way to add JSON API endpoints to your Enhance app! Even if those endpoints have an associated Page: requests that set Accept: application/json will get plain JSON without a Page render.

App Page

Regardless of a matching API function, the matching Page will be used.

my-rad-app.net/contact → app/pages/contact.[html|mjs]

Custom Elements

Pages are the main entry point and usually contain one or more of your app’s custom elements. Enhance will assemble the Page by recursively expanding custom elements, using your single-file-components in the app/elements/ directory.

If there is no custom element definition in app/elements/, Enhance will render it as is and move on.

The Final Document

Enhance starts assembling HTML by running your (optional) Head function to create the top of the document and then appends all interpreted elements from your Page to the document’s body.

Stylesheet “Rollup”

If your custom element definitions include <style> tags, Enhance scopes those CSS declarations while combining them with other element styles into a single <style> element in the <head> tag.

Client-Side JavaScript

Similar to the stylesheet process, Enhance gathers <script> tags from custom element definitions and inserts them just before the document’s closing </body> tag.

Enhancements & Web Components

These <script>s are where you write the front end JavaScript to progressively enhance your application.

The yellow areas in the above diagram represent the JavaScript that will be run in a browser. To create the best starting point for the browser, in the fastest way possible, the rest of your code is executed on the server.

Not Covered Here

This lifecycle description demonstrates the real-time journey of a request through Enhance’s web server. It does not include static asset resolution (from public/ via _public/), which has a separate lifecycle for even faster responses for non-dynamic content.

Also, the core development process is not pictured here: styles configuration, the baked-in @bundles feature, or deployment.

Community Resources


Visit Enhance on GitHub.


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