Every web stack is a product now

When I started web development seven years ago, I was in survival mode after years of low paying wages and unemployment. It had to work, and for it to work, I had to always learn more, read and listen about web development all the time, monitor the field, socialize as much as possible with my peers. This way, I would not get disposable and lose my job. I would build a network. I would be safe.

In some aspects, it worked. I saw the adoption of JavaScript based tech stacks coming, and jumped onboard. I found places that made good use of my skills in code and visual design, and worked there. I built a network. Everything worked out as planned. And I enjoyed doing it.

But lately, everything related to web development feels stale and toxic.

I think it's because this whole ecosystem is currently shifting to a new paradigm, which turns frameworks, libraries and people who make them into marketed, vertically integrated, growth oriented, open sourced, products.

As a result, nothing feels genuine anymore. Almost every article, newsletter or podcast feels like an ad. The tone and content are streamlined to avoid discomfort and controversy. Everybody oozes fake positivity about how great web development is, or will be, by using their framework (which works best when coupled with the products its sponsoring company does, of course).

As critical voices are categorized as downers, sometimes even harassed (especially if they are women), the field turns into an ever-increasing technical mono-culture. Old concepts are re-branded and sold as novelty. The developer experience is considered more important than user experience or the website's performances.

Way often these tools, products and services don't make sense in real life. They are either too expensive in the long run, vendor locked-in traps, or over-engineered and thus too complex for small to medium average teams. And yet, they still are picked, as alternatives are made invisible by the marketing noise.

Monitoring the field doesn't feel like learning new things anymore. It feels like reading a never ending flow of brand content updates similar to consumer tech products. Like smartphones, it's all about this new feature nobody asked for, the % of power/speed gained compared to the last model, all presented during keynotes.

So I think it's time for me to let go and stop caring about this nonsense. Delete social media lists, unsubscribe from podcasts and newsletters. Remove this mental charge from my brain.

If I ever lack a skill or specific knowledge, I'll learn it when I need it. If my company needs me to learn something new, it will be done on company time. As it should be.

Initially published: December 3rd, 2022
Generated: January 6th, 2023