Too Many Tools and Frameworks

Theodore Sturgeon was a science fiction author, critic, and the basis for Kurt Vonnegut's recurring character Kilgore Trout. He was prolific, authoring over 200 pieces himself and critiquing around 400 others. His first piece came out in 1939 - a time in which science fiction was not widely respected within the field of literature.

In 1958 he published a piece in Venture proclaiming what he called "Sturgeon's Revelation":

I repeat Sturgeon's Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud. Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. is crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.

You don't have to bounce a tennis ball very far in San Francisco before it will hit two developers complaining about how many js tools/frameworks there are for development in 2015 and how much unneccessary complexity they add. Doing a search on twitter for 'too many js tools' or 'yet another js framework' returns... a lot of people lamenting the current state of affairs.

This is most likely, the wrong conversation for us as a community, to be having. The presence of bad tools - shouldn't discourage us from wanting more tools or frameworks. There are more books published in a single day than I will ever be able to read in my lifetime. But this does not make me sad. Or overwhelm me. Mostly I think about how excited I am to read the best books that are being published. And this is where we should push the conversation. How do we build better tools? What does that look like?

"Four–fifths of everybody's work must be bad. But the remnant is worth the trouble for its own sake."

- Rudyard Kipling in 1890

Rudyard Kipling died 59 years before javascript was created. But he might as well have been talking about js frameworks. The remnant is worth the trouble. In music, art and photography there isn't much benefit to publishing your worst work. So most people keep this work hidden. But when we write code, we rarely get to hide our worst work. It's just not the way development happens in my experience. I don't think this is a bad thing. Doing things out in the open promotes progress. It gives people something to build off of and learn from. We need more of this not less.

Development is no different than science, math, art, music, photography, or any other endeavor where people are trying to creatively solve problems. It's hard. It takes time. We evolve our solutions as we learn new things. It took Thomas Edison more than a year to develop the first working prototype for the electric lightbulb. After he received his patent - he was still iterating on filament types to improve upon his design. It's 2015 and we are still trying to improve upon the lightbulb's design. Searching amazon for lightbulbs returns 150,858 results. There are many companies trying to solve all types of lightbulb problems. Quality of light, endurance, energy efficiency, and cost are just some of the problems companies are still trying to find improved solutions for.

Instead of telling people to stop creating new js frameworks. Instead of discouraging people from adding to the vast amount of available tools, I'm going to encourage people to build even more tools. Pick a problem and try to solve it better than anyone else has before. Having better tools will help us push the web forward. And it's okay if 90% of them are bad. The 10% will be worth it.

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