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The Sad State of Web Development Drew Hamlett Medium

I removed the section where I called out the creator of Babel by name. Honestly I overlooked the statement as a personal attack. I apologized to him publicly and hope to talk to him more in the future.Drew


People actually use this thing. Can a library actually do shit out of the box anymore? I just want to install something and use it, not decide all the little plugins I want to use. New developer comes onto your team:

Oh hey, we use PostCSS. Look at the gulp/grunt/broccoli/brunch file and see what plugins Ive used. When you do that, then look up what each plugin does. After you have wasted the entire day on that, then start writing some css, or PostCSS, whatever the fuck it actually is. I really just wanted SASS but decided to use these 185 plugins instead and you know, because its written in Javascript


I dont even know where to start with this project. From what I can tell the background of React is: Facebook couldnt create a notification indicator on, so they create this over engineered dump pile to solve that problem. Now they can tell you how many unread posts you have while downloading 15 terabytes of Javascript. Once they solved that issue they proceeded to write everything in React. They even built a comment system with it, because you know making an Ajax call and a DOM append is really hard.

Thats right. All you guys using React like its the only way to solve every problem ever are using it because Facebook couldnt build a fucking notification icon.

I have the Chrome plugin that shows when a site uses React. I swear every other website I visit uses React, for the stupidest stuff. So many content sites use React. Its pitiful. Its like developers just forget that these frameworks come and go with the wind. Just take a step back and think about your front end choices in 2009. Now 2011. Now 2013. Now 2015. Just think about it. Do you really think putting all your eggs into a basket like React is a good idea?

Of course everyone in the tech community has to rewrite all their interfaces in React now. If you love to get off to to tech stacks then youll love hearing from Netflix, Yahoo, Airbnb, Vimeo and Imgur. You know who didnt give a flying fuck about React? Their customers. Good job Yahoo, you rewrote your shitty mail client in React. Your customers didnt give a shit. They just want it to work. My poor wife with her shitty Chromebook. She can play Crysis at 60fps, but fuck if she can read her email on Yahoo. Oh Vimeo, you couldnt display the view count on the video without bringing in React? I really appreciate that. My cpu does too. Imgur, really appreciate you bringing in React on a page.. to display a fucking image. I mean you cant even make this up.

Look at this video of Airbnbs front end. I really think it is a satire piece on web development. Now look at this The whole page is static content, yet they literally hit the Rails stack, then hit the Node stack to render the React to a string and then send it back through the Rails stack. They even toyed with the idea of rewriting Airbnb in Node. 0_0. Front end developers come in to a company like Airbnb, like a parasitic infection of over engineered sloth turd. For what? Masterbating about their line code count for displaying fucking text on a page?

Please guys/girls, just take a step back every now and then. How does rewriting your interface in the latest framework get you to the next customer? Or the next 50 customers. Does it actually make your customers happier?

Dont fucking build aSPA

Really all Im saying is dont build a SPA. A SPA will lock you into a framework that has the shelf life of a hamster dump. When you think you need a SPA, just stop thinking. Just dont. Your users just dont fucking care.

If I see a section on my app that is really hard to with Pjax/Turbolinks and jQuery, Ill bring in a library/framework like Vue.js, *cough* React, Angular. All good choices for doing really complex forms(although I find Angular to be the best at this), with a ton of conditional validation. You know what though, these are the outliers in my experience, not the norm.

Maybe 1 or 2 pages on your app will have really complex UI, but the other 95% of the app does not. So you pay a huge penalty doing a SPA. Youre typically writing all the basic CRUD stuff in a SPA from scratch. The backend framework youre using cant help you in any way. So my advice is to use Rails, Django, Play Framework, Laravel, or Phoenix to develop most of the app, because they help you with most of the boilerplate stuff, and bring in the flavor of the month on a page that needs it. So when the next flavor of the month comes out youre entire app is not knee deep in the last flavor of the month. You can just re write that one page.

Hello my name is Drew and Im a recovering magpie front end developer.

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