HTMX state management

Maintaining state across requests

Rather than managing states on the client, HTMX relies heavily on the server to keep our state in order. Let's be honest, persisting state is a task suited best for a server back-end. While we could store state on the client, in a server environment we have secure access to a wonderful array database technologies.

In this example, we'll be enhancing our UI to keep track of an ever incrementing number, with each user click affecting state on the server. If you've built a form-based application, this sample will be very familiar to you.

We'll start with an HTML UI that contains our button and the current state of 0 for our counter value.

initial UI for HTMX counter sample

In our sample project, we'll use the HTMX attributes of hx-post and hx-target to decorate our button. In general, using HTTP methods like POST, PUT, and DELETE for mutating requests is good practice, while we should reserve the use of GET for read-only requests. Like in our previous sample, we can leave the value of hx-post empty, as it will be posting to the same URL as our page. For the hx-target attribute, we'll need to set the response to our target element of example_one_count. When we initiate the POST request, HTMX will swap out the current value with our newest value.

In this sample, the server implementation is more complex than we previously saw, but not by much. The goal is to increment a count variable on each user-initiated request. Once initiated, you'll store the updated value in memory. It wouldn't take much effort to store this new value a database or other storage mechanism.

public class Counter: PageModel
    private static int count = 0;

    public void OnGet()
        // reset on refresh
        count = 0;

    public IActionResult OnPost()
        return Content($"<span>{++count}</span>", "text/html");

Once the frontend and backend are complete, run the application, where we can now click the Increment button to see our number increase by one. Neat!

completed counter sample with HTMX

This sample shows the general idea behind HTMX. Make a request, which returns an HTML response with embedded state. In this case, the embedded state is the value of our counter. As you can imagine, while straightforward, the possibility of managing state and materializing HTML can be used to build some amazing experiences.

In the following video, let's tackle one of the more challenging UI behaviors known to developers worldwide —the dreaded cascade select.