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The tao of web development

I often see people trying to use JavaScript to “fix” things they don’t like about the web. It’s how we end up with Single Page Apps, large frameworks, CSS-in-JS, complicated module loaders, and so on.

To me, these are not solutions to problems so much as rejections of the fundamental nature of the web.

When I was in high school, I was introduced to Taoism through The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet.

In those books, the author wrote about the willows and the oak tree. In a storm, the unbending tree falls over, while the willow bends with the wind and remains standing the next day.

He wrote of water in a flowing river. Rather than coming up with clever ways to remove rocks from its path, it flows gently around them, slowly carving away at them over time.

There are things that are, for whatever reason, fundamental aspects of how the web works—the cascade in Cascading Style Sheets (or CSS) for example.

Trying to fight against them with JavaScript leads to fragile solutions more likely to “fail in the storm.”

Embracing the nature of the medium results in both a happier developer experience and more resilient apps and sites.