1. 23

  2. 61

    Oh hey, yet another person ruining the word “gaslighting”. Nobody’s pretending that people weren’t hyping angular before react. Nobody’s telling you your memory is wrong. People were hyping angular, and now they’re hyping something else. That’s not gaslighting.

    And you know what? That’s not even the biggest problem! The article keeps saying that the react hypemen were angular hypemen 10 years ago. But it never shows this. It never quotes a person hyping angular, and then later pitching react. For all we know, these are two separate groups of people. And that would completely undermine everything the article is trying to say. It’s not gaslighting for different people to push different things!

    At the bottom of the article he’s advertising paid courses on vanillajs. I can only assume he’s secretly gaslighting us, too.

      1. 13

        I mean this nicely, but you’re kinda sealioning here w.r.t. web stuff. I’ll vouch, for whatever my anecdata is worth, that at many employers, countless conversations, and many spaces there has in fact been a lot of what you euphemistically refer to as pivoting and the author here refers to as gaslighting. It is a real phenomena, and the folks doing it would love nothing more than to have useful idiots providing cover fire for them.

        By your own admission:

        I don’t give a single shit about React versus Vue versus Vanilla JS.

        Okay, cool–please respect the lived experiences of the people who have had to deal with that shit day in and day out for over a decade. If you want, I can provide horror stories (about this, about React, about Apollo, about GraphQL, about Angular, about many other things in webshitland)…but please do not categorically dismiss an entire type of issue that is in fact so pervasive that finding isolated textbook examples of it is quite difficult.

        Whenever something takes the developer world by storm, it’s never because we banded together to puppeteer your brains […] don’t read a shadowy cabal into every zig and zag of the tech industry.

        What you did here is what we vulgar unwashed masses would refer to as gaslighting. A lot of money and marketing resources were spent promoting React (and Angular, and Mongo, etc.) by corporate interests, even before the secondary market of folks selling services for consulting and training and bootcamps existed. This author (and I, and others) commented on this undeniable fact.

        If enough of us have seen this play out, and a few of us say “hey there’s a thing going on here”, and here you are saying “silly developer, pattern matching with abandon; ignore your experience, there is no conspiracy here!”…you’re kinda gaslighting, my guy. It’s not a good look. (This has, incidentally, played out over and over again across all corners of public life, and I wager is a good part of the distrust of experts.)

        ( And while I do think you make a reasonable point about trying to get the meaning of gaslight precise, well, in $current_year we have ceded that ground on so many words I really don’t think one more is going to make a difference. We collectively can’t even agree on what violence is, so let’s not clutch pearls about gaslighting versus lying–what matters is that people are hurt through a cluster of behaviors and wish to have their feelings recognized and respected. )

        1. 18

          What you did here is what we vulgar unwashed masses would refer to as gaslighting.

          Only if you’re making the word useless by turning it into a synonym of “denying”. The whole point of gaslighting is t psychological manipulation intended to make the person doubt their own memories. Simply arguing against them, about public events that are a matter of record, doesn’t count. Otherwise hwayne could claim you’re gaslighting them back, and then you have a dumb little circular “youre wrong!” “No, you’re wrong!” thing going on.

          1. 5

            As I understand it, gaslighting can be a spectrum somewhere along the lines of:

            • Purposefully causing somebody to doubt their own sanity by sowing specific doubt or confusion on things they know or remember, usually for power or gain (say, the literal plot of the play from whence the term arises)
            • Purposefully and constantly negating somebody’s perceptions, telling them their emotional reactions are irrational, or that they are always wrong (say, the behavior one may run into in a relationship with a narcissist)
            • Accidentally causing somebody to doubt their own sanity by sowing specific doubt or confusion on things they know or remember (say, refusing to confirm details of a story due to genuine error or perspective difference)

            (I am not a shrink, I am not your shrink, etc., but these three levels are kinda how I reason about gaslighting.)

            “Proper” gaslighting is the first one of those, but insisting on receipts as corroboration or repeated “there are no conspiracies anywhere” can get in as a lighter form of the second category. There’s definitely a fuzzy line between that and mere disagreement, sure, but I think the difference comes out in the wash and it’s worth erring on the side of addressing it.

            1. 3

              I’m in agreement with Hillel that gaslighting should describe an element of intentionality that’s missing in the article, and IME the word hasn’t yet reached that. I also think its usefulness in describing abuse is diminished if the word is watered down.

              Of course, the article itself and very fact that you think gaslighting has a spectrum, suggests it may already be too late.

      2. 9

        Yeah, there is actually very little overlap between those groups of people.

        This recent spate of anti-React trash getting upvoted on lobsters is really embarrassing. Like, I get the dogmatically anti-SPA tilt of the site’s user base, but at least upvote good critiques. There’s so much you could rant about that would be valid but these vapid articles wouldn’t even begin to know what those things are.

      3. 24

        Character assassination. Not constructive or in the spirit of the guidelines. No effort was made in this article to account for what gave rise to JS frameworks in the first place. Doesn’t add anything new to a very tired debate about whether or not JS frameworks have a right to exist. I’ve seen a lot of articles here bordering on trolling JS developers, but this is the most explicit in a while.

        1. 17

          We are seeing quite a similar popularity contest in the infrastructure space - if you’re not running on kubernetes, you’re a dinosaur and will get your lunch eaten.

          10 years ago the same complexity vendors were pushing Hadoop-style “Big Data” architectures with a similar amount of fervor. I did not buy it then and I’m not about to now.

          1. 9

            And if you’re not a K8S fanboy, it’s nightmarishly hard to get hired for backend/infra/platform/SRE roles these past several years. Constantly “rate your Kubernetes skills 1-10” and anything under a 10 gets instantly binned.

            1. 6

              At a previous job I personally spent 1.5 months writing a total cluster build & deployment script for our kubernetes-deployed project that easily could have been just copied over to run on some random VM, so I think you’re right.

            2. 12

              This entire article, full of hyperbole, overexaggerated (and unsubstantiated) claims, weird overdone emphasis, and eventually landing on an ad, reads like so much like a generic marketing funnel it hurts.

              There’s some merit here—software eng in general seems to have a problem with cargo culting new tech, and frontend/JavaScript communities seem extra bad about it these days—but it’s pretty hard to process when it’s being commented on by off-brand Billy Mays screaming about how the sky is falling nobody using React will have a job in the future, so you should buy his courses ASAP.

              1. 9

                Here’s the thing, I don’t think that any of these are mutually exclusive.

                • I agree with this article in that SPAs are very hard to get right & people keep saying they’re not.

                • I also agree that most people shouldn’t use a framework if they can build a strong platform without it.

                • I also agree that we need to figure out how to make SPAs simpler, because the gains in certain types of applications are enormous.

                • There is currently 0 frameworks/practices that can get you anywhere near a bug free SPA experience, and IMO almost all best practices to this day are horrid.

                • I believe SPAs can be developed sanely & less bug prone, but we’re still figuring it out, it might take some time.

                • SPAs can be incredible

                  • I love how I can trust that trello will auto update itself without needing refresh
                  • google docs/maps is a game changer
                  • refresh for an instant app update
                  • link sharing in these types of apps that would normally be desktop apps

                What I hear in these arguments is very valid, and we can have both. I am still finding new patterns for frontend that dramatically simplify logic while making it less bug prone, this makes me very hopeful.

                1. 6

                  While I hold a certain amount of disdain for SPAs (as most developers seem to do here on lobste.rs), I will admit that I have been running Office 365 applications in Chromium (Outlook, PowerPoint, Teams, et al) to great effect at work. I use Linux as my main driver and decided to make Chromium my “All things Office” application and nothing has really let me down yet in that respect. So I agree - there is a time and place for an SPA but not everything has to be an SPA.

                  1. 5

                    Apps like Trello and Google Docs/Maps are good examples of SPA use-cases, and I think starting from a point of framework maximalism that begins with the abstraction necessary to build those is crazypants.

                    Framework complexity should be introduced only where necessary, when it provides value. You should not need to build everything that way when all you need is a web site. This has been the source of my discomfort with React from day one.

                  2. 14

                    If we are ranting here… I’m starting to get suspicious any “JS developers” (that doesn’t mean all people who write JS, of course!).

                    Recent story: a project manager and a team of developers making a frontend for a certain system. I’ve been mainly involved from the backend part but I decided to get familiar with their codebase. One of the immediate finds was that a relatively junior member plagiarized a chunk of a timezone list from an unknown source without any license information and attribution. I pointed it out to the team. The project manager, as it turned out, 1) had no idea that tzdata exists, has a JS version, and is in NPM 2) had no idea why such databases exist and why a list of current timezones without DST marking even is insufficient 3) never paid attention to the provenance of that code.

                    And project manager’s comment when I pointed my finger at the NPM package of tzdata was… “but its last release was three months ago, it’s unmaintained!”.

                    Is the “JS ecosystem” really a parody of itself already?

                    1. 6

                      How do you know your ability to write React apps today isn’t as much of an industry dead-end over the long arc of technological web history as was writing AngularJS apps 10 years ago? Seriously, how do you?

                      I am tired. 2 or 3 years ago, I noticed that the whole “isn’t React just the flavor of the week?” discourse seemed a little too confident, and a little too indifferent to how old React was.

                      React is more than half as old as Rails. It’s 10 years old in just a few months. It doesn’t appear to be in decline.

                      I will predict is that in a few more years, I’ll make a similar comment, only I’ll be pointing out that React is 12 or 13 years. Perhaps it will be in decline then, perhaps not–I’m agnostic.

                      In 10 years, I don’t know what’s going to be around–I suspect there will be some React, some Rails, but i don’t know how either one will change. For that matter, there’s not too many confident predictions I’ll make (other than that it’s very hard for a language/framework to truly die).

                      P.S. If you’re interested in a framework that optimizes for developer experience at the cost of some performance, can I recommend Rails? It’s still a good choice for a lot of use cases, but it absolutely does do those things.

                      P.P.S. You may notice that I didn’t offer an opinion about the suitability of frontend frameworks.

                      1. 5

                        from my perspective there is already a movement towards Vue SolidJS Svelte

                        1. 2

                          I think you’re probably interacting with a non-representative sample of the industry if you think that movement is currently close to overtaking React. https://gist.github.com/tkrotoff/b1caa4c3a185629299ec234d2314e190?permalink_comment_id=3935827

                          I make no predictions about the year 2028.

                          1. 2

                            there’s a movement towards these frameworks in the “writing trendy articles that go viral on orange/red site” community, but in my experience in the industry react is absolutely not going anywhere, and this isn’t changing for the forseeable future.

                        2. 5

                          This article makes a bunch of claims and has a bunch of problems, but I think we can get a pretty useful discussion if we focus on a version with the rantiness removed. In that spirit…

                          Problems I have with it:

                          • The article doesn’t really cite much in the way of sources for the behavior it is complaining about. I personally think this is due to a lot of it being the sort of thing you just soak in over years of online discourse and in-person meetups, but your mileage may vary.
                          • The article is structured as a rant, which is to say loosely and not in a way that’s easy to digest.
                          • The author interleaves a bunch of different claims in a way that makes all of them harder to defend.
                          • The author makes too many claims, when hammering home one or two probably would’ve served them better.
                          • The author makes some claims that are relatively easy to defend, and some that are much harder, but because of the aforementioned interleaving it’s harder to pick out the good ones.
                          • The author (in my charitable reading) means to say “Hey, Voss’s writing here is an example of the sort of propaganda we deal with”, but it comes across more like “Here’s Voss, the face of React shilling I hate”
                          • The article (as some others here have pointed out) doesn’t give enough context for how React got where it is; if they’d focused their ire less on React or doubled-down on detail it’d have been fine, but they didn’t.
                          • The article basically doesn’t explain why SPAs are a thing, which is important context in figuring out why the ecosystem did what it did.

                          In spite of those issues, the author makes some claims which I think are worth discussing:

                          • Tech is driven by a lot of fads/fashion–and we don’t acknowledge this.
                          • Tech ecosystem has a lot of garbage content, and an ecosystem of hucksters thriving on repackaging it for infotainment and consulting.
                          • People on non-majority tech stacks are annoyed at their treatment by folks on majority tech stacks.
                          • There is population that came out of developer puppy mills that only know a particular stack; what happens when the wheel turns? (I think this point was very underexplored in the article.)

                          I think we should be careful not to skip discussing those claims in favor of complaining about the article or author themselves.

                          1. 3

                            We’re simply asking you to acknowledge that for years you’ve completely hogged and dominated the #WebDev conversation, ignored our repeated attempts to point out the potential flaws, foot guns, and fallacies with the JS/SPA approach, and in some cases even ridiculed us for our choice of technology stack/language/etc.

                            What? Are we living in different planets?

                            Go to https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=pastYear&page=0&prefix=false&query=react&sort=byPopularity&type=story

                            • #1 is criticism of React
                            • #2 is migration away from React
                            • #3 is a React release where the 2nd-most-upvoted comment is criticism of React
                            • #4 is a product release about React where the top comment has a (light-hearted) jab about React
                            • #5 is a ChatGPT+React demo where the 2nd-most-upvoted non-OP comment is a long criticism of React
                            • #6 and #7 are products using React (that don’t have any critical comments about React)
                            • #8 is “Why I don’t miss React: a story about using the platform”, which speaks for itself
                            • #9 is a React tutorial where almost every highly-upvoted comment is a complaint about React
                            • #10 is an article about React state management where the 2nd-most-upvoted comment is about how they moved from React to another framework because React was “over engineered”

                            Need I go on? There wasn’t a single pro-React article in that list, and even plain React articles didn’t escape negative comments about React only tangentially related to the article content.

                            Now look, I don’t do much frontend nowadays (and when I do I prefer client-side Svelte because SSR is annoying ducks) but come on, this is ridiculous.

                            1. 2

                              I’m old enough to remember when the “Hot New Thing” were all these other stacks that weren’t perl or PHP - now I guess we’re stuck in a cycle where the “Hot New Thing” is perpetually a new JS framework.

                              1. 2

                                I think this has more to do with cargo culting than it has to do with js. Sure there’s a lot of cargo culting in the frontend/js space, but that could also be attributed to the fact that its an area of programming that has become increasingly popular, so of course it will get a larger amount of mindshare/exposure to other communities

                                You see the same thing with the rewrite-it-in-rust crowd, the nix community, etc

                                You can absolutely still build a js web app with minimal framework usage. You can still use mostly plain javascript and vanilla web technologies. And that experience only continues to get better over time as the js spec has been iterated on and expanded (look at web APIs like document.querySelectorAll, which basically rendered 99% of my jQuery usage obsolete once it became widely supported by browsers)

                                There’s problems with the community for sure, but to call it gaslighting goes a bit too far in my opinion

                                1. 2

                                  This isn’t a post about web development. It’s about being in a club.

                                  1. 1

                                    I hate to break it to you, but when it comes to tech…

                                    1. 3

                                      I realise we live in a world of fads because we have a bunch of unsolved foundational engineering problems, but this article isn’t even about fads. It’s about some rails guy being butthurt that he didn’t get no respect, no respect at all.

                                  2. 1

                                    Not to be too nitpicky but I’d like to defend the whole full js stack crowd

                                    But requiring JavaScript as the only server language because you’ve built up a monster of a framework/build system/hosting infra/module ecosystem that’s JavaScript + JavaScript + JavaScript + JavaScript (and apparently now TypeScript + TypeScript + TypeScript + TypeScript) is not only a huge burden to place on the world-wide web developer industry, it’s highly exclusionary

                                    Perhaps an extreme example because I wanted this to be all a constexpr, but the level of bending over I did to mimick what I could do in a js server easily made me kind of realize why full stack js is a thing: https://github.com/adedomin/moose2/blob/sqlite3/server/src/shared_data.rs

                                    This example is only simple constants. I don’t even know what I’d have to do if I wanted to share, say, the code that actually renders a bitmap/png. Over this weekend I was going to explore wasm-bindgen style webdev just to see how far I can take it.

                                    1. 1

                                      While I agree with the criticisms to this article– it uses the term gaslighting wrong and incorrectly blames individual bloggers, the gist/sentiment is correct– the JS world is a mess, lot of hype not enough substance. And the same hype keeps repeated every few years– either the community suffers from amnesia or there are lots of junior programmers learning $HOT_THING and then moving on to other things.