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Explaining Front-End Humor

This post was prompted by a rather angry thread that started here for me ...

... the conversation was based on a comment I made, referencing this site .

This article will be an attempt to define what I saw in the conversation, why I think the website is hilarious, and what can be done in the face of the conversation that occurred.

There's not enough "humor" in this world and way too much "hate." Let's enjoy and reinforce what humor is out there ... reducing the hate in some small way.

The Path

Basically, in the twitter thread someone responded with, "God I hate that website." Being a seasoned developer with what I believe is a bit of an odd and dry sense of humor, I wanted to see if there was something here I was missing.

What I got was a whole lot more than I expected ...

It’s not obvious it’s a joke unless you already know what vanilla JS is. It confuses the s__t out of beginners. The guy who runs it makes no attempt to clarify when people tweet at him with confused questions. It does harm.

He continued with ...

Also, “meant to be funny” is a meaningless bar. Sexist and racist jokes are meant to be funny, too. Doesn’t mean they’re good.

Basically, I stopped my portion of the conversation, realizing that his "hate" was deeply entrenched and I was not going to change it.

What I did realize later was that I could post something to mitigate some of what he was seeing. This article will be an attempt to define the humor I saw on this site and give others a means to reduce confusion about the site ... when you see they're confused, send them here.

The Humor

Examining ...

  1. I love the chemical formula (which I assume is for vanilla).
  2. There are references to who uses vanilla-js, which is any individual or company that uses JavaScript.
  3. It has to be used more than any other tool on the market because they are built using vanilla-js!
  4. There's actually a form for selecting functionality and downloading the "code." I tried this; it downloads an empty file!
  5. Testimonials ... read them; they're actually funny, realizing this is plain old JavaScript we're talking about.
  6. It is the ultimate in lightweight and is loaded the moment the browser is active ... even before the site begins loading.
  7. There is a reference to how to load the vanilla.js code, but if you look, it recommends not loading anything for production.
  8. Speed comparisons ... what can run faster than vanilla-js (JavaScript).
  9. Code examples ... if it can be done in a framework, vanilla-js (JavaScript) has to be able to do the same thing.
  10. Documentation ... tons of that out there for vanilla-js (JavaScript).

That's right - no code at all. Vanilla JS is so popular that browsers have been automatically loading it for over a decade.


There's not enough "humor" in this world and way too much "hate." Let's enjoy and reinforce what humor is out there ... reducing the hate in some small way.

Top comments (11)

georgecoldham profile image

Bah! First time I saw VanillaJS was when I was learning JS for the first time. Wasn't that confusing. Vanilla is used to mean bland/unmodified across industries (real vanilla taste is delicious and complex though!). It was clearly meant to be a joke, and it is funny. Some people are too serious 🤷‍♀️

rfornal profile image

That's exactly what I was saying ... but, hard to get my point across when I have 40+ years programming and have been using JavaScript almost since it's inception.

khuongduybui profile image
Duy K. Bui

The only "problem" with the site is the misleading of "who uses VanillaJS". It's like "who uses Assembly? -> everyone" even though only a very small percentage of coder directly work with Assembly.

I am indeed curious if anyone community or company, at all, attempts to uses VanillaJS :D But I guess the answer is probably no.

rfornal profile image

Actually, I've worked with a few companies that only use Vanilla JS ... they use something like Require JS to put it all together.

kspeakman profile image
Kasey Speakman

Site is hilarious, but based on sarcasm. Sarcasm is essentially a passive-aggressive remark, which is aggressive toward some target. In this case, the targets are numerous. For example, complicated frameworks/libs or compile-to-js things. Being that some people make and/or like these things, they are going to be aware of the humor but more honed in on the aggression part.

jacobboyd profile image
Jacob Boyd

Yeah that website cracked me up! I haven’t seen it before but it was a great short read 😂😂

rfornal profile image

Sums up my feelings completely.

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