The web didn’t change; you did

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I love this piece from Remy Sharp where he argues that the web didn’t get more complicated over the last 20 years, despite what we might think:

Web development did not change. Web development grew. There are more options now, not different options.

Browsers have become more capable and still work with web pages built over 20 years ago.

[…] The web really didn’t change. It really didn’t become complex. The web development process is not one single path. There is simply more choice and more options.

Remy argues that the web is only really as complex as we make it and, when we choose an enormous framework for a small problem, it’s us that’s choosing the complexity. We really don’t have to build a website with the latest and greatest tools if we’re familiar with the old stuff and there’s no shame in using float over flexbox, if that works for you.


There’s a lot of ego in web design, and there’s a lot of folks out there bashing others for using the “incorrect” tools. But here’s the secret when it comes to making website: there are no perfect tools, and there’s no perfect way to build a website. That sucks, but it’s also exciting because we get to figure it all out; nothing is set in stone.

For example: I use Sass all the time for side projects and I know for a fact that a lotta folks would scoff at that. There’s emotion and Tachyons! There’s plain CSS! There’s PostCSS! But hey: I like Sass for a few things. I like the power it gives me and I like that I’m familiar with it. That doesn’t stop me from reaching for emotion in my day job or experimenting with something new when it comes along.

But old tech isn’t bad just because it’s old. And new tech isn’t good just because it’s new. You can see that sentiment playing out in the comment thread of Chris’ “Front-End Dissatisfaction (and Backing Off)” post.

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