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When should you use a JavaScript library or framework instead of vanilla JS?

I advocate for using native browser APIs and JavaScript methods whenever you can.

But there are situations where I think it’s ok to use a library or framework.

  • When you’re learning, if these tools help you go from zero to coding faster or let you grok concepts you otherwise couldn’t, that’s a good thing. Learning inertia is really important!
  • When the thing literally wouldn’t exist otherwise, because you lack the skills to build it without a library or framework. Obviously, focus on building your skills, but that doesn’t happen overnight.
  • When the native approach requires a lot of boilerplate/code around it. Image sliders come to mind here.

Bad reasons for using a library or framework include…

  • Because you can’t be bothered to learn more about native methods/APIs.
  • Because “it’s what everyone else uses.”

Unfortunately, these are often the reasons why people use these tools.