Front-End Web Development's DX Is Going Downhill
Dont’ get me wrong: I appreciate the enormous conceptual breakthroughs we’ve made, by constantly revolutionizing how we develop front-end on the web. However, it’s become impossible to ignore how much more complicated the whole environment is now. And – how negatively it affects developer experience.
In an oversimplified view, this is what we have done with front-end development in the past 5 years:
Front-end Web Development Circa 2011:
- Master basic HTML & CSS (granted: spend ton of time struggling with cross-browser issues)
- Find some useful jQuery plugins (didn’t really need to know jQuery that much, let’s be honest) + learn how to make jQuery Ajax calls.
Result: you were the Resident Ruler of the Webs!
Front-end Web Development Circa 2016:
- Webpack or 5 other alternatives of the day
- Gulp or Grunt (if you need dev/stage/prod environment - webpack won’t do it)
- React (or Angular 2? Or Ember. OK, at least not Backbone)
- Realize React alone does nothing. Look into Flux implementations (which of the 10?). Maybe Alt. People say it has great docs. Or Redux?
- SASS… Wait – now you want Compass… Wait, now somebody told you: Bourbon is cooler…
- At least you’ve already mastered Bootstrap? Nah, Material UI, you are doing React!
- What do we do about “continuous integration” to make all these things actually work together and not drive everybody crazy? Choices, choices…
- Not done yet: wanna play with GraphQL and Relay while you are at it?
The most likely end-result: a month into ‘research’ and you haven’t accomplished anything…
And no: Yeomen doesn’t magically solve this problem.