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Won't you be my neighbor?

Last week, I watched Won’t you be my neighbor?, the Mr. Roger’s documentary.

I grew up on Mr. Rogers, and it was, for me, a refresher on all of the wonderful lessons and messages he taught me growing up. At the heart of it all, though, is this:

Love is at the root of everything. - Fred Rogers

Something I’ve become more aware of recently is that as web developers, we often identify strongly with the tools that we use.

I had a discussion the other day on Twitter where I stated that I believe our over-reliance on JavaScript (and frameworks and other JS tooling) was actively hurting the web. And someone responded to tell me that, to him, it felt like a personal attack.

From his perspective, what I was also saying-without-words was that he either:

  1. Knew these tools where bad for users, didn’t care, and used them anyways, or
  2. Didn’t realize they were bad, which would make him incompetent.

(He didn’t agree that these tools are bad, but felt that my insistence that they are implied one of those two things about him.)

One thing I want to make clear is that while I hate what our love of tooling has done to the web, I love the people who build things for it, regardless of the tools they use. I believe we can attack ideas and approaches without attacking the people behind them.

The folks who built React and Vue, jQuery, webpack, and so on are insanely talented. People who use those tools do so for a variety of reasons.

It’s not uncommon for two doctors to look at the same set of information and come to two different conclusions about what’s going on. At least one of them is often wrong, but that doesn’t make them incompetent.

So, too, it goes for web development.

I learned on jQuery before moving to vanilla JS, because it was the fastest way to get going. I think building something that works as quickly as possible is important for beginners. It gives them a taste of what’s possible right away and keeps them motivated to learn. If that means using a framework or library at first, that’s cool!

I do want us to stop using these tools for all the things, though.

I think JavaScript is breaking the web. But I love the people who build things for it, and I love the people who use it.

I want us to have more open and honest conversations about the impact of our work.