Frameworks are the new black

As of lately, the desire, no, correction, the compulsive need people have to implement frameworks and libraries seem to have gone way overboard.

I mean, in virtually every project I hear about from others or get involved in to some degree, everyone’s running around rambling about the key frameworks for faster development, better development, never-seen-before-ROI, out-of-the-box-world-conquering-applications-without-writing-a-single-line etc.

I mean, really, how many JavaScript libraries have you had forced down your throat within the least year that will solve all the interaction for your web site? Off the top of you head, do you have a count of the number of AJAX frameworks which have popped up, for both Java- and .NET environments? Not to mention how piss-poor they usually are from an interface development perspective.

It seems like it doesn’t really matter that much if he frameworks are top-notch, it’s just about time-to-market and being the first ones out there releasing something.

Frankly, I’m getting tired of being presented with the new holy grail of web developing almost every single day. Listen, we still need to code, ok? There are no installation packages or WYSIWYG tools that will set up a perfect application. Live with it.

And for heaven’s sake, test things before getting completely persuaded by the the marketing bs and end up buying a crappy product…

10 Comments

  • Olle says:

    You are only upset because your position as javascript expert is not needed anymore. And face it, if someone wants to launch the next big thing, why should they care to reinvent the wheel instead of focus on their main goal? Also one thing perhaps the most important, even if you build your own js framework it doesnt matter, it wont solve all problems you'll ever have in the same way the big opensource frameworks wont aswell.

  • Peter Griffin says:

    What the hell does "rant" mean?

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Olle,

    Yes, you're absolutely right! How come I didn't see that? Or… Your thoughts are maybe narrow-minded and you don't see the whole picture?

    Anyway, you're free to express your opinion here, but if you want your comments to stay, enter a proper e-mail address.

  • Steven Clark says:

    I think a lot of this comes down to programmers wanting to be lazy in many cases as much as wanting a library that can save them reinventing the wheel. And of course the quality of libraries, as you note, vary greatly.

    The bottom line is that someone should first learn the basic programming language. Second, if they must, then go search out a library that you understand and works for you (this will include wading through a lot of crap too unfortunately). The third is be prepared to have to draw on the skills developed in the first step to achieve all of your goals.

    In short, there will never be a magic pill for the developer / programmer who is a little too lazy to get their skillset up to par that just builds an application. And I personally don't want one. When something breaks or doesn't work and it will – then the quality programmer comes into their own.

    So yes frameworks can be useful just as a washing line is useful. But its only useful for what its meant to be used for. Logically if I want to mow the lawn I need another feature in my backyard (my partner)… πŸ™‚

  • Johan says:

    Are the Eastern Island heads connected to Ayers Rock?

  • Marco says:

    I fully agree Robert. The whole framework-zealotism is extremely annoying. And as you say, there's still lots of coding to do, no matter how slick the screencasts look. This reminds me of the brilliant SQL on Rails screencast which takes a good piss at this whole phenomena.

    And when it comes to the whole marketing thing: Nothing will ever change as long as people who don't know shit about technology are making the calls in large corporations. This is in my opinion the root of most IT related problems. The suits make the calls, the technicians get to wade through the mess those decisions resulted in. Power to the companies that actually listen to their developers I say.

    Furthermore I strongly disagree with Olle. Nothing is ever going to eliminate the need of an expert. And also, I think a skilled developer like Robert will never have to worry about 'not being needed anymore'. Even though some frameworks may appear to 'do everything out of the box' one may wonder HOW they do it. How many lines of codes are executed under the hood when you run this really 'nifty' 5 lines of JQuery thingy you just wrote? And how well does that work on a slow box?

    As for 'frameworks': I quite like the core modules of YUI (not the widgets really but mostly the YAHOO.util.* stuff). They merely assist a developer with stuff rather than trying to take control of everything. Kind of like your own DOMAssist (which looks very nice!).

  • Steven has a good point but I do not think its the designers fault but rather the person who demands the work to be done in such a small period of time.

    At my part time job, I can either get it done properly and take longer to do it and get in trouble or do a quick slap job and as long as it kinder works, its what they want.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    I definitely understand about developers being lazy, focusing on target goals etc. And yes, there are frameworks that are somewhat usable. But what I object is, as mentioned above, the wrong people choosing if and what framework should be used, and, more importantly, what framework should be used.

    I don't have a problem with frameworks, I have a problem with the fixation to use them all the time, and with the selection process where no quality criteria whatsoever seem to exist.

  • Jakob Heuser says:

    I see in frameworks a trend much akin to every other fad engineers face. We all see something that makes our lives easier, then we love it / embrace it / take it on nice dinners. After that, we start trying to use it where we shouldn't because we're so familiar with it.

    As frameworks are tools for us to engineer, those who engineer should be looking at frameworks. The same can be said about the evaluation of any open source technology for use by engineers. However, as you said, it's when the non-engineers start deciding that things get messy.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Jakob,

    I agree. And naturally it's very important to research frameworks to see where you can gain from them. Just as long as you're not blinded by the bright light… πŸ™‚

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