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Web Components Have Already Won Whether You Like It Or Not

Justin Ribeiro
Originally published at justinribeiro.com on ・3 min read

With the announcement a last week that VMWare is taking their popular enterprise Clarity design framework from Angular to web components, a few emails have trickled into my inbox asking for my opinion on certain anti-web components threads on Twitter (which I refuse to link to because it’s all blah). My opinion is not a popular one, but here it goes.

Web components already won while you all were arguing about it on Twitter.

A lot of folks are going to disagree. More pieces of “why I’m not using web components” will be written by folks who seemed either misinformed or simply want to protect their own knowledge space and viability. Many will point to technical reasons that show their lack of understanding of not just web components but the web platform as a whole. Some will point to performance and say web components are slow and have no trace to prove their point.

No number of existing data that shows web component usage will matter, no number of large companies making announcements about their usage of web components will sway those opinions. I will probably be called names and my character attacked.

All of that won’t change the fact that web components already won.

Web components didn’t just win in the large public companies with splashy open source projects. They’ve won at private companies of all sizes, where line of business software keeps companies running. I’ve lost count of how many companies I’ve helped ship nearly a hundred pieces of LOBS that are built on top of web components. They won where integration was a challenge that frameworks could not (and frankly probably shouldn’t) deliver on. I’ve written a lot of components in all shapes and sizes for hundreds of companies at this point and I’m losing compared to some of the work I see developers doing on web components in so many organizations.

You know the place it wins that no one wants to talk about because it’s not cool? jQuery. Yeah that little library that it’s in use on in more places than anyone wants to admit. Turns out, web components are extremely pliable and companies with developers who still work on those system’s love them.

“No one uses jQuery anymore, especially not with web components!”

You live a sheltered development existence and I feel sorry for you. Not everyone is on the bleeding edge, not everyone can change their stack year after year. If you can’t have empathy for those developers, we can’t be friends.

Why don’t you hear about these cases? The developers and companies in question are not in the bubble. They don’t care about your argument; they have work to do and are succeeding. Drag them into that argument and they’ll just walk away. They don’t have an axe to grind.

When they do pop up from time to time, the brave step into a hostile online conversation, what happens? Drowned out by unwarranted judgement and pretty baseless gibberish. Then they shrug and go back to work on their web components.

Inevitably someone will say I’m against frameworks (you clearly have not listened to the podcast) and that I (and many others) who are helping companies build with web components (or even that raw web platform APIs) are doing these companies a disservice. I’ll let the CIO’s and CTO’s I’m meeting with this week know your concerned.

The reality is you want to argue and quite frankly I’m done arguing. Stop trying to make it an adversarial game that someone has to lose. We’re all working towards a common goal of happy users.

You don’t like the spec? Contribute. Meetings continue to happen, get a word in and let’s talk it out. Features are good on the platform for everyone.

You think it competes with your framework? Probably less than you think. We can coexist people and I don’t have to tear anyone or any piece of technology down to do so.

Use the right tools for the job, use others as warranted. Sometimes that’s going to be web components whether you like it or not.

The battle was hard fought and took a lot longer than anyone expected, but specs and false starts and missteps aside, web components did the unthinkable: they won.

You can keep arguing if you like. Me, I’m going to keep building things.

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