Keeping up with the frameworks
It seems like every day there is a new change in the front-end web development workflow. Just yesterday, I heard that “that Grunt and RequireJS are out, it’s all about Gulp and Browserify now”. For those not working in the frontend world, Grunt and RequireJS are tools to help automate the development process (building and modularizing code, for example). Gulp and Browserify are similar tools, but have been said to work better by some industry experts.
Every day developers are coming up with a new something.js or a browser drops/adds support for a certain CSS spec. There are constant changes to the workflow, with everyone having an opinion on what’s “best” or what the “proper” way to build a web app is.
Frankly, I’m a bit apprehensive about going into web development with all this constant change going on. How will I ever learn all of this? By the time I’ve learned the basics of one tool, someone’s already come out with another.
Recently, for a new web application I was building, I had to select the technology stack to use. At first, I was thrilled about getting to use the latest Node.js library or make it a client-side app with Ember/Angular/Backbone.js. I could make another REST-ful API! How great!
Except I knew almost nothing about any of the frameworks/buzzwords I was using. I had no clue where to start. So rather than try and muck through pages and pages of documentation trying to understand how to build this application (and waste precious time in the process) I decided to fall back to what I knew.
Against my framework fanboy instincts, I used Drupal.
Why would I make such a horrible choice, might you ask. I made my decision based on three factors: (a) amount of knowledge/experience, (b) time available, and © the strengths of the tool. I did not have much time available, and I already had experience putting together a web app with Drupal as a base. It fit the strengths of Drupal, so I went for it.
Far too often do us developers fall victim to the hype of some new product which is supposed to help us code better. We think it’s the holy grail for a few hours, until we read a Hacker News post explaining all that is wrong with it. As I’ve learned, there is no “best” framework, tool, or platform. If you already know how to use a tool (especially if you know it well), and it gets the job done, then just use it. Ignore others when they react like “No. What the hell are you smoking?”
Moral of the story: If in doubt, fall back to what you know. Learn the hyped frameworks in your free time, but don’t think you have to use them to be a “cool” developer.
If you want even more proof of why you shouldn’t trust the hype, here’s a funny joke that demonstrates why: Winter Weather Joke
I’m going to be blogging more frequently, so if you want to get all my latest updates you should follow me on Twitter.
Thanks to Safia Abdalla for freeing my coding mind from framework frenzy.