RWD (a term coined by “Responsive Web Design” author Ethan Marcotte) and RD both have the same goal: to present mobile users with an interface that has the full functionality of a website on a desktop. But RWD does this client-side while RD does this server-side.
“RWD wasn’t meant to be added to sites,” explained Anand. “As a result, RWD expects sites to be designed around it so it doesn’t have to be concerned with preserving the existing site’s logic and workflow.”
Thus, the greatest benefit of RD is that it helps enterprise Web developers avoid these time-consuming and costly website rebuilds. “Typically a site must be built from scratch to support RWD,” said Anand. “As a result, migrating an existing site to RWD entails rebuilding it. RD is directly applicable to existing sites without any changes to the existing site or needing new APIs.”
A few years ago, a technique was proposed that mixed the server-side nature of RD with the client-side nature of RWD. Responsive Web design with server-side components (RESS) was thought up by “Mobile First” author and RWD practitioner Luke Wroblewski.
Anand said RESS arose out of attempts to address the limitations of RWD; RESS was introduced as a way to lift some of the burden off the client. “RESS lets the server do some of the work to take the load off the browser, but not all of it,” he said. He added that RD technology can be seen as a successor to RESS since RD puts all the work on the server.