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Discussion on: Really, why React?

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appurist profile image
Paul / Appurist

I've tried to start a couple of new, even simple projects in React and usually after one day or so, at about 50%, I run into things that don't "just work", search for answers, and the answer seems so backward and alien an unintuitive that I feel like I've been falling and finally hit the bottom of that pit of despair. Really? The want me to pollute my code with that solution? Then I repeat the test with Vue or Svelte or Alpine or even Angular or something else and things tend to "just work".

I understand that React provides a lot of benefit but to me the cost is so high that I feel it is a net loss, especially given that there are plenty of alternatives that provide those benefits without the high cost. To me, React encourages technical debt, and deep lock-in on an approach that is ugly, for the reasons you outline in this article above.

React apologists will explain why they like it's awkwardness, those are features, but I honestly feel either they are new to webdev and just learned to deal with and ignore these problems, or there must be something else motivating that opinion, e.g. that they are required to use it for their full-time job, or they've invested so heavily that they must defend it now.

Frankly I don't understand why anyone who has learned all the lessons of software development would support React. Maybe most are actually aged younger than the 37 years that I've been a professional developer. I started a full decade before the first browser. I used Mosaic and then Netscape. React is a buzzword fad that will probably die a sudden painful death as more and more realize the cost outweighs the benefit. There are so many better choices. I've gotten to the point where I don't want to work at any company that has chosen React as their front-end solution in their development stack. It's a red flag that those making the decisions are doing so for the wrong reasons.

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Jordan Brennan Author

“Net loss” is definitely my experience too. The cons simply outweigh the pros and I say that not as a Svelte/Vue/Riot fanboy - I’ll drop those in an instant if something better comes along, but like you I find they do in fact “just work”.