Thursday, March 9, 2023

the propped up web

A friend pointed out this mastodon post:

 Which talks about a Denis Pushkarev, maintainer of core-js, trying to make things work financially

He makes a great case that core-js (used to transpile code and make sure even older browsers can run code written in the new paradigms) is used ALL OVER the place, in much the same way jQuery was back in the day.

The obvious model is this famous xkcd comic:

It reminds me of "You are not buying from a supplier, you are a raccoon digging through dumpsters for free code." So many place I've worked - everywhere that's not a Microsoft house, really - you just start using stuff because it's cool and useful, everyone else is using it, and you don't have to setup budget approval.  (And then coders start getting massively entitled. "Software should be free!" and they mean "as in beer" not just as in speech)

Also for UI folks - the tendency to just have these mammoth piles of code npm'd in for every little task - it's a lot of trust! Or even the plethora of VS Code plugins. They tend to have a lot of access to your filesystem... I'm reminded of Dietzler's Law, how all these abstractions allow things to flow so much more easily, but you can still caught if you need to change something the abstraction doesn't allow for.

I've definitely grown a preference for systems where trust is just a few organizations. On my OS, I try to minimize clever plugins that I would miss if sitting down to a "fresh" install (though I do like SizeUp and HyperSwitch) - for my light server stuff, I like PHP's monolithic set of "here are all the fiddly functions you probably need" vs NPM's giant library... and for my own projects I still gravitate to not needing a build system and just trusting what ECMAScript the browser supplies...

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