I think a big part of this question is motivation.
I'm often more motivated by the tangible wins, the stuff that comes with frameworks and APIs usually. But then the long term gains come from the underlying stuff.
I think starting with the frameworks and working back to the fundamentals is a reasonable approach.
There's a learning style component as well. I've known people who want to read the manual before they use a new thing - which I see as analogous to principles thinking. Some folks prefer to jump in - frameworks.
You can get a lot done without understanding why it works in a framework, and you can understand a lot of theory without ever writing code that does something interesting. The trick, as usual, is to find a balance.
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