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The decline of React

Over the last week, I’ve been seeing a wave of articles and Mastodon posts from people who I would consider advocates of React about how React is actually bad now.

The first one I saw was from Tom MacWright. A day later, I read an article by Cassidy Williams about how “React’s gotten really hard to understand.”

And yesterday, a toot on Mastodon from Alex Russell pointed me this post from Matteo Frana about frustrations with the direction React is taking.

I feel such a mix of emotions about articles like this.

One one hand, it’s great to have more folks finally recognize that maybe React isn’t the best thing ever. On the other, I feel frustrated that the same people who have been championing this tool for years are just now, in the year 2024, saying, “well, actually…” as if it’s something new.

React has always been hard to understand. I’ve been talking about how React is actually a terrible developer experience for at least fives years.

And as Scott Jehl pointed out

That said, much of the discussion seems focused around developer experience problems… UX should be top of mind in evaluating tech.

As someone who has audited many, many sites for performance and usability, React sites have long been a major outlier.

For years, my problem with tools like React has been two-fold…

  1. They’re bad for users
  2. The developer experience isn’t good either

I’m glad to see folks coming around, and I wish we’d gotten to this point years ago.

If you find yourself stuck with a legacy React app, and want some help transforming it into a fast, resilient, easy-to-maintain modern web app, get in touch!

I have over a decade of experience doing that kind of thing (React wasn’t the first tool to do this), and one consulting spot left. I’d love to work with you!