2016 Feb

Thoughts on Front-end Tooling

choices
Being a front-end developer means keeping up with current trends. It doesn’t mean you have to master them all, however you are expected to know what’s available. It’s a tough job.

Out with the old, in with the new (?)

We are surrounded by an ever increasing number of tools, libraries and frameworks. The paradox of choice kicks in regularly in my day to day decisions.

You could, of course, Google and see what everyone else is doing. Personally, I find it quite daunting. When picking, for example, a framework, people tend to become very dogmatic and the end result is nothing more than a shallow clickbait.

New technologies arrive to serve a purpose. Understanding the problems they solve is more important than the tool itself since it will, eventually, change or evolve.

Questions yourself

When making a choice, try to answer yourself these questions:
Why am I using X instead of Y?
How much of this is a personal choice rather than professional? Am I following a trend?

What is X giving me that makes my job easier?
Is the learning curve too steep for you and your team? How does it integrate with other systems? Can it be automated?

Do I know what X is doing behind the scenes or am I happy to treat it as a blackbox?
Maybe the scope of the tool is too deep for my level or it crosses the border of the work I’m supposed to be doing.

Conclusion

Asking myself those questions helps me clear my head and focus on my initial problem. This is especially true after browsing for a while and going through dozens of articles.

In the end, more tools means more choices. See what applies to you, your team and, specially, your problem.


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