React Pays the Bills

It seems to be trendy to trash on React again. Look, I know these criticisms aren't targeted at me, but I can't help but feel defensive when I see post after post accusing React of "taking us back to the days of Flash" or being "Facebook's way to control JavaScript" or that it's full of "cultish worship" and a "goddamn awful technology and community".

These are direct quotes, from just some of the many posts I've seen, and holy shit are these ridiculously over the top and melodramatic.

You can code in React without being a "React scab"

So I totally acknowledge there are some asshats in the community, some of whom are very vocal. I'm not going to pretend that isn't the case.

But don't judge the entirety of one of the largest sectors in the web development industry based on its bad actors. There's a reason React is so popular, and it's not the assholes. Maybe take a few minutes to step back and consider why.

I will say this point blank: I have built things in React that literally were not possible on the web before it came out. 1

It absolutely changed the landscape for the better; it absolutely expanded the possibilities of what we can do on the web.

It's not the only game in town — several other (better) frameworks have built on what React started — but it was the first library to offer truly componentized web development without tons of technical overhead. It was essentially first to market by several years. That's why it dominates the industry today.

I'm not calling it perfect

The framework has its issues. Single-page apps also have their issues — though I will be quick to point out there isn't some 1:1 correlation between React and SPAs. So do some of the other aspects of the ecosystem that surrounds it. It's totally okay to point out the problems with a technology. In fact, I'd say it's a good and productive thing to do. But don't disregard all the good it also provides. And above all, don't be an asshole about it.

You aren't going to make the industry better if your response to bad actors is to be one yourself.

Look, I'm tired of writing this same post over and over. Can we stop it already?

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