re: Webdevs! Are we on the right track? VIEW POST


Are we on the right track?

Nope, we're not.

Allow me to be blunt. We're overemphasising a narrow strip of the technology stack (single page applications) to the detriment of simpler solutions (HTML/CSS).

Just examine the frontpage of - read the post titles. Does this suggest to you that our industry values writing server side solutions and making honest tradeoffs? Or does it suggest that our industry favours a landscape of SPAs built with a series of fragmented frameworks?

Maybe this is driven by ignorance. Maybe this is driven by hype. It's hard to work out the tradeoffs of one approach over the other with an incomplete understanding of one or both. It's hard to use an unfashionable solution when your employer/industry is riding the hype train.


I'm afraid that I quite agree with you here. PWAs can be really great for certain use-cases, but this mad rush to convert every "dumb" webpage into a PWA definitely feels like the wrong choice. It's actually quite annoying to land on a casual blog when browsing on my phone and be asked to install it to my phone. Why in the world would I want to install a blog offline?

IMO, "dumb" HTML/CSS with little-to-no Javascript is a highly underrated technology choice. It's fast and light on resources, doesn't suffer any of the "jank" that PWAs tend to have when landing on the page, the process of building them is significantly simpler, and viewing the raw page source actually gives me useful content.


And I was the one that championed adding 'Should users be allowed to disable Javascript' in the 'State of DEV' survey. Even so, one of the projects I'm most proud of is the one that's usable entirely with Javascript completely disabled.

I do think the feedback loops have also hurt this issue. If you remember a couple years finding a PHP host was easier than finding good websites. But then the industry said 'php bad'. And so we moved to SPAs as a result and the server moved to (php/laravel) and other langs like Go, Python, and more. But no where to host them. Hosting an SPA is easy. is the most seamless dev->prod DXP I've ever seen. But it only works if your app is an SPA. Because then all the host has to do is set up DNS and a file server.

There's a huge gap in places than are able to host more hobby server apps that have hobby pricing.

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