DEV Community

Discussion on: Why doesn't CSS move faster (like JavaScript)?

preciselyalyss profile image
Alyss 💜 • Edited on

This is all speculation on my part, but some of it has to do with the history and intent of JavaScript and CSS. Developers have a penchant for JS more than CSS (at least by appearances). I find I'm more likely to come across someone with JS expertise, despite CSS offering plenty of elegant solutions.

Prior to ECMA, there was no real JavaScript standard. There's plenty of posts about the history of JavaScript, so I won't go into too much detail there. The main point is that JavaScript ended up in such a complex state because of its use on websites (compared to server-side languages). First, you can roll-your-own JS package, then creation of frameworks becomes more accessible. It follows a similar structure to programming languages that came before it. Even when vanilla javascript doesn't support a piece of functionality, it does support building the functionality on top of the existing tools. ECMA can observe and implement the most prolific ideas.

CSS is too often neglected, but it also has some beautiful compilers and libraries. If compilers are so useful, why don't more flavors exist?

Creation of a new tool or framework or compiler requires:

  • Time
  • Impetus

I normally see new JS frameworks come out of big companies like Facebook. A team is given time to create and maintain it. Bootstrap came from Twitter. But how accessible is it to build functionality on top of vanilla CSS? Not very.

The incorporation of new ideas to vanilla CSS is done by the CSS working group, but they don't get the same exposure to the creativity and community implementations that occur naturally in JavaScript. Some cool new things are coming out though (as soon as browsers add support), like variables and snap scroll.

P.S. this was a total brain dump after a long day. I'm sorry for run-on sentences or poorly explained bits.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Super great thoughts, thanks Alyss