A Tool for Every Job: a Belated Response to Jose Aguinaga

My father was once a mechanic. Since he never sold the tools of his former trade, I grew up with a garage that was full of thousands upon thousands of tools spanning the three walls of the garage.

My father knew that most jobs would require a specific tool. The tools for electrical work wouldn’t completely transfer over to transmission work. Needing to work on American, German, British, and Japanese cars compounded this complication and forced my father to buy even more tools.

After reading a WIRED article comparing coding to blue collar work, I’m better able to connect my father’s mechanic experience to my journey into web development. Programming Throwdown talks about so many programming languages, because there is a tool for every job and it never a one-size-fits-all affair.

So Jose Aguinaga’s How it Feels to Learn JavaScript in 2016 saddened me. The author poked fun at the insane number of JavaScript libraries popping up lately and how confusing it is all becoming.

But the reason for this volume of libraries is obvious even for me. The internet is barely two decades old and is increasingly asked to do more and more things. Developers have to make sure that their products will work on mobile and desktop across Microsoft Edge, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome.

Therefore, we will need a garage full of tools. No one has invented a tool that fixes any car of all its problems. So why would any programmer worth their salt expect their tools to be that simple and magical? As I learn more of the exciting world of JavaScript, I am expecting constant and exciting changes.

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