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The core of SvelteKit provides a highly configurable rendering engine. This section describes some of the terms used when discussing rendering. A reference for setting these options is provided in the documentation above.
CSR and SPApermalink
Prerendering means computing the contents of a page at build time and saving the HTML for display. This approach has the same benefits as traditional server-rendered pages, but avoids recomputing the page for each visitor and so scales nearly for free as the number of visitors increases. The tradeoff is that the build process is more expensive and prerendered content can only be updated by building and deploying a new version of the application.
Not all pages can be prerendered. The basic rule is this: for content to be prerenderable, any two users hitting it directly must get the same content from the server. Note that you can still prerender content that is loaded based on the page's parameters as long as all users will be seeing the same prerendered content.
Pre-rendered pages are not limited to static content. You can build personalized pages if user-specific data is fetched and rendered client-side. This is subject to the caveat that you will experience the downsides of not doing SSR for that content as discussed above.
Static Site Generation (SSG) is a term that refers to a site where every page is prerendered. This is what SvelteKit's
adapter-static does. SvelteKit was not built to do only static site generation like some tools and so may not scale as well to efficiently render a very large number of pages as tools built specifically for that purpose. However, in contrast to most purpose-built SSGs, SvelteKit does nicely allow for mixing and matching different rendering types on different pages. One benefit of fully prerendering a site is that you do not need to maintain or pay for servers to perform SSR. Once generated, the site can be served from CDNs, leading to great "time to first byte" performance. This delivery model is often referred to as JAMstack.
Svelte components store some state and update the DOM when the state is updated. When fetching data during SSR, by default SvelteKit will store this data and transmit it to the client along with the server-rendered HTML. The components can then be initialized on the client with that data without having to call the same API endpoints again. Svelte will then check that the DOM is in the expected state and attach event listeners in a process called hydration. Once the components are fully hydrated, they can react to changes to their properties just like any newly created Svelte component.
By default, when you navigate to a new page (by clicking on a link or using the browser's forward or back buttons), SvelteKit will intercept the attempted navigation and handle it instead of allowing the browser to send a request to the server for the destination page. SvelteKit will then update the displayed contents on the client by rendering the component for the new page, which in turn can make calls to the necessary API endpoints. This process of updating the page on the client in response to attempted navigation is called client-side routing.