From the Couch of Ben Johnson

Father, Principal Engineer at Prodigy Education, serial hyperbolist.


Alex Russell in an amazing screed about JS-heavy frameworks:

These technologies were initially pitched on the back of “better user experiences”, but have utterly failed to deliver on that promise outside of the high-management-maturity organisations in which they were born.

This whole article mirrors my increasing sense of the failure of rich JS web apps. I don’t know if I’d go as far as Russell to suggest that this was deliberate, but I do agree the world of SPAs has not turned out as promised.

But even as the complexity merchant’s well-intentioned victims meekly recite the koans of trickle-down UX — it can work this time, if only we try it hard enough! — the evidence mounts that “modern” web development is, in the main, an expensive failure.

It has seemed for a long time that we’re spending an enormous amount of time, effort, and money on things like URLs that work, or initial page performance, or developer experience that we all just got for free when we were rendering server-side pages. We lie to ourselves about how much of our apps really deserve the complexity of client-side state.

Maybe we will turn it around by just adding more layers of abstraction, but I doubt it’ll result in a better web for users.