This is a post about Shoelace, a component library by Cory LaViska, but with a twist. It defines all your standard UX components: tabs, modals, accordions, auto-completes, and much, much more. They look beautiful out of the box, are accessible, and fully customizable. But rather than creating these components in React, or Solid, or Svelte, etc., it creates them with Web Components; this means you can use them with any framework.
Some preliminary things
Web Components are great, but there’s currently a few small hitches to be aware of.
Another option, which I personally like, is to create a thin React component that accepts the tag name of a Web Component and all of its attributes and properties, then does the dirty work of handling React’s shortcomings. I talked about this option in a previous post. I like this solution because it’s designed to be deleted. The Web Component interoperability problem is currently fixed in React’s experimental branch, so once that’s shipped, any thin Web Component-interoperable component you’re using could be searched, and removed, leaving you with direct Web Component usages, without any React wrappers.
Server-Side Rendering (SSR)
Support for SSR is also poor at the time of this writing. In theory, there’s something called Declarative Shadow DOM (DSD) which would enable SSR. But browser support is minimal, and in any event, DSD actually requires server support to work right, which means Next, Remix, or whatever you happen to use on the server will need to become capable of some special handling.
That said, there are other ways to get Web Components to
just work with a web app that’s SSR’d with something like Next. The short version is that the scripts registering your Web Components need to run in a blocking script before your markup is parsed. But that’s a topic for another post.
Of course, if you’re building any kind of client-rendered SPA, this is a non-issue. This is what we’ll work with in this post.
Since I want this post to focus on Shoelace and on its Web Component nature, I’ll be using Svelte for everything. I’ll also be using this Stackblitz project for demonstration. We’ll build this demo together, step-by-step, but feel free to open that REPL up anytime to see the end result.
I’ll show you how to use Shoelace, and more importantly, how to customize it. We’ll talk about Shadow DOMs and which styles they block from the outside world (as well as which ones they don’t). We’ll also talk about the
::part CSS selector — which may be entirely new to you — and we’ll even see how Shoelace allows us to override and customize its various animations.
If you find you like Shoelace after reading this post and want to try it in a React project, my advice is to use a wrapper like I mentioned in the introduction. This will allow you to use any of Shoelace’s components, and it can be removed altogether once React ships the Web Component fixes they already have (look for that in version 19).
Shoelace has fairly detailed installation instructions. At its most simple, you can dump