Cassidy's blog

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Kind of annoyed at React

I’m kind of annoyed at the state of React lately. I still use it regularly, and am somewhat friendly with the folks that work on it still, and it’s the first library I reach for, but… it’s just gotten too confusing and frustrating.

Not to boast but I like… really know React. I’ve used it for almost a decade. I’ve seen it morph and grow and used the frameworks that have popped up to work with it, I’ve written dozens of articles and tutorials for it, I was in the React 18 Working Group and other related groups before that, and before the pandemic, I taught React full time. So trust me when I say: React’s gotten really hard to understand.

I feel like the lack of understanding comes from not communicating properly with the community (both educational content and also transparency about what/how/etc things are being built), and it frustrates me.

It’s frustrating to see that there hasn’t been a release since June 2022. It’s frustrating that the core team all spouted “use a framework!” with React 18 and then most of the vocal ones left their jobs to join [a company that owns a large React framework] and [that framework] seems to use Canary releases rather than the one that’s stable and out in the world (and it seems like a “cool kid” monopoly). It’s frustrating that they took so long to write new documentation (and the folks writing them weren’t properly supported) that if you look up “React documentation” the new docs aren’t even the first result. It’s frustrating that there’s two Reacts now (not that there shouldn’t be, but that it’s not clear/an easily understandable mental model for most people). It’s frustrating that diversity efforts visibly took a backseat with React leadership and there’s just not as many voices from a variety of different people anymore.

Bleh, anyway. I really didn’t mean for this to be a negative nancy post. I’ve harped on the React team’s communication before and I do think they’ve gotten a bit better. And again, I still reach for React when I want to build something somewhat complex, I just… wish I were happier about it when I do. I’m optimistic for the future. Kind of.

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