There are not too many frameworks, there is too little content.

A lot has been said in the last couple of days about how confusing it is to learn— or even maintain a competitive skillset in — JavaScript right now. I am fairly new to the party, but nevertheless I feel the need to add my two cents to the discussion.

“Too many frameworks”, or “too many libraries”, or “too many tools” are rather abstract terms. I have seen them written dozends of times. But too many for what? Usually the too refers to too many to learn. A lot of people will probably agree that there is no way you can have a working knowledge of every JavaScript framework out there, but most of the people will also add that there is no need to learn them all. And they will then say something along the lines of

“It depends on what you’re trying to do”

To me, as somewhat of a beginner, this is a very frustrating statement. You see, I have no clue what I’m trying to do. I know that I want to learn some or all parts of web development. That’s pretty much it. I don’t know what the next step is now that I have made rudimentary fanpages for my 10 favourite Simpsons characters and my dog, and even if I did know, I have now way of figuring out if I need Redux to manage state in my next project, and if so, which addons I should use. I’m not even sure I should use React at all, maybe just Vue? Now that Angular 2 is fully released, will it make a comeback, should I use it? Should I use Aurelia? Is it going to be worth the hours that I would need to put in? Should I code in ES5 or ES6? Yes, I feel lost.

So here is what I did

I went out and looked at pages I liked. Awesome, interactive pages, tremendous creative work beautifully realised in my browser. If you — like me — check the awwwards every now and again, you know what I’m talking about.

Most frameworks feel like great, abandoned facilities, even when maintained.

I want to build pages like these

Equipped with my Wappalizer plugin, I was on the hunt to see what the pages I admire use to be so awesome and pretty. Well. I have not conducted a precise count and therefore I cannot wow you with a fancy graphic, but the pages I saw, they use none of the frameworks that are frequently discussed in JavaScript communities, except for jQuery, the one thing everyone seemingly agrees not to use. I found merely one page that actually used React. Every other page used but small, single-purpose libraries, if any.

My point being: When I am reading up on what the JavaScript community is up to on sites like Reddit, Hashnode or Medium, I get bombarded with new things that I can use to make my sites better, faster, more interactive, more easily maintainable and so on. That is not a bad thing, why would it be? Quite on the contrary, I love to see all the awesome people building awesome stuff, but here is my question: Where are the awesome people using all of that stuff to actually build great things? Where can I see the power of all of those “powerful” frameworks in real life? Dear JavaScript community: The ratio between frameworks and created content seems to be off.

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