re: Investing in the right technologies to avoid technical debt VIEW POST

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I agree that it is important to be patient when it comes to new and exciting things. Junior developers may come onto a team wanting to use new tools, but the more senior team members may seem opposed to change. It isn't always because they are old, scared, or do not want to put in the effort. It is because they have experienced the pain of switching to something too soon. When you use unproven technology, there are risks. You will have to figure out issues that have not been answered by the community. If the community fades away, there won't be an abundance of answers out there. This can slow development time a great deal. You will not be faulted for sticking with something stable, but you will be faulted for choosing something new and running into problems delivering the project.

Using new tools also does not guarantee you won't run into the same issues. Using React will give you an effective way to render UI and manage state, which may solve some of your team's problems. If you are working in a legacy PHP application and there was a lack of team standardization, chances are you have spaghetti code where the back-end logic is coupled with the view, JavaScript, and CSS. It works, but it isn't pretty. If you start using React and your team is not trained on it, or it is not introduced into the application in an appropriate way, similar things are likely to happen. There would be changes in the build process, a change in the programming language, and a change in the structure of the application code. Not every developer is not up to date on the latest and greatest in the JavaScript world, so their solutions could create problems. You could end up a similar mess like the PHP app but in React. Other developers may feel like this new technology was supposed to solve all of the problems, but it is just a hurdle to productivity and another mess to deal with. That is how technical debt is created.

The other side of it is being too patient. Do not let highly-used, highly-rated, production-proven, and stable technologies pass you by. You may have chosen a tool 5-10 years ago and made the right choice, but sticking with it for new projects may also lead to the technical debt due to a lack of maintenance, support, and a smaller community around that technology. This involves analyzing when it is appropriate to move on to something new in an incremental way to minimize the risk and set your team up for success in the future. Re-writing your entire existing application is unlikely to happen, but you can get started in a controlled way.

 

Not every developer is up to date on the latest and greatest in the JavaScript world, so their solutions could create problems.

Definitely something that I don't see enough companies consider when upgrading to new tech. It's important to offer proper education, documentation, and also architecture that allows any level of experience developer to jump in to the codebase with confidence that they're doing things "the right way".

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