Questioning the JS frontend paradigm

Links with the ⚠ sign are, in my opinion, the most important ones. If you lack time, focus on those.

2018

The Thirty Million Line Problem
Casey Muratori explains why software has become unmaintanable due to the amount of code present in most projects. link

2020

⚠ Second-guessing the modern web
A very influential and discussed essay by Tom MacWright where he questions the (then) emerging norm of building a React SPA with server rendering. link
The Cost of Javascript Frameworks
Tim Kadlec explores, in a data driven approach, the cost of using JavaScript frameworks. link

2021

⚠ Hypermedia as the Engine of Application State (HATEOAS)
Carson Gross, creator of IntercoolerJS and HTMX, started a series of essays and among them one focusing on the concept of Hypermedia. It questions the well founded use of JSON as a format for transferring data in web applications. link

2022

⚠ Making the world’s fastest website, and other mistakes
Taylor Hunt narrates, in this incredible 5 parts article, how he tried to make a Fortune 20 website work on 60$ phones and terrible bandwidth, how he was successful, and why it was and will never be used. Probably the most influentiel article on this page. link
The balance has shifted away from SPAs
Nolan Lawson explains how browsers have implemented several techniques like paint holding, back-forward caching, service workers, etc. that reduces the necessity of using single page applications. link
Website Fidelity
Jim Nielsen details and adopts the idea of building websites in layers of fidelity instead of layers of technology. link
The self-fulfilling prophecy of React
Josh Collinsworth discussed how React is falling behind, and how it isn’t great at anything except being popular. link
The Demise of the Mildly Dynamic Website
Hugo Landau discusses what he calls the "dynamicity gap", basically how there's little room for mildly dynamic functionality in the modern ecosystem of static site generators and web frameworks. link
Is the madness ever going to end?
Unix Digest rants about the increasingly complex stacks used for websites and apps and how it degrades the experience of using them too. link
Weathering Software Winter
Devine from 100 Rabbits explains by example how modern digital hardware and software breaks once it gets out its very specific context, mostly the western world. video version text version

2023

⚠ The Market for Lemons
Alex Russell explains how the JS stack merchants (especially the React team) knew about the complexity, cost and lack of performance of their tools, and how they chose to say nothing, obfuscate evidences and debates about it, by using boosterism, misdirections and toxic positivity. link
⚠ A Historical Reference of React Criticism
Following Alex Russell's article, Zach Leatherman lists all the fact-driven critics he could find about React, going as far as december 2014, showing that many issues that plague it today were already there right at the start. link
React is the New IBM
Charles Chen not only goes back to the well known React issues, but interrogates the whole philosophy of its inventors, mainly how they solve problems by escalating complexity. link
Why not React?
In this followup article of its 5 parts series, Taylor Hunt explores why using React for server side rendering can't achieve the speed of other technologies. link
Hypermedia Systems
Carson Gross (creator of HTMX), Adam Stepinski and Deniz Akşimşek published a free book about hypermedia. A more condensed and structured version of the essays mentionned above, with a more historical and practical approach. link
What's the most significant change in our industry over the last 10 years?
Steve Purcell answers in a single phrase. link
Bilithification
Glyph Lefkowitz questions the use of micro-services as the default for backends, arguing monoliths are better suited for most projects, and explains how to split them once they become too hard to maintain. link

2024

⚠ The Performance Inequality Gap, 2024
Alex Russell updates his yearly analysis on the performance of hardware and networks and how it's still a bottleneck when websites use a JavaScript based stack. link
JavaScript Bloat in 2024
Nikita Prokopov aka Tonsky lists popular websites and details their bloat. Staggering numbers. link
⚠ React, Electron, and LLMs have a common purpose: the labour arbitrage theory of dev tool popularity
Baldur Bjarnason details how frameworks like react and their model standardses the software developer, allowing companies to replace their expensive platform specialists with more commodified generalists. link
The quiet, pervasive devaluation of frontend
Josh Collinsworth deconstructs, in a very sensible way, the discourses and expectations put onto frontend development and how it leads to its develuation. link
The Decision to Leave Tech
Todd Libby details the reason that led him leave the tech world after years spent trying to increase awareness about web accessibility, just to burn out in the end. link

Adjacent topics


Initially published: May 7th, 2024
Generated: May 7th, 2024