170: The Case for Vanilla JavaScript with Chris Ferdinandi

February 19th, 2020 · 1 hr 9 mins

About this Episode

00:53 - Chris’s Superpower: Derailing conversations and having a knack for taking complex tasks and breaking them down into smaller, simpler parts that people find easy to understand.

01:44 - The Pitch for Vanilla JavaScript

03:06 - Peoples’ Biggest Challenge as a Developer

  • Having Trouble Keeping Up
  • Adding Processes and Tools Make it More Difficult to Get Started
  • “The Right Way To Do It”

05:50 - The Problem With The Way We Do Things Today

  • Front-End Development
  • Back-End Developers Move to Front-End

08:30 - Modern Web Development

  • The Use of Frameworks
  • Package Managers
  • “The Cascade is Bad” - Using More JavaScript

11:42 - A Better Approach To Web Development

  • Sometimes Old Is Better
  • Don’t Ditch The Old Just Because Something New Came Out
  • Embrace The Platform
  • Think Smaller And More Modular
  • Remember That The Web Is For Everyone

17:15 - CSS and JavaScript

  • Web Bloat That Affects The End User
  • Accessibility - Being Able To Work On Improvement
  • Accessibility Audit On Gutenberg
  • Being Too Heavily Focused On One Programming Language

25:05 - The Notion of Development At Scale

  • The Google Hiring Process And Frameworks

27:45 - Silos Of Technology

31:10 - Complexity And/Or Simplicity

  • Focusing On Quality Over Volume
  • Factoring For Growth

37:20 - Advocating For Vanilla JavaScript

  • Documentation
  • Unexpected Incidentals

44:10 - Gradual Movement Of The Code Base

45:30 - Using The Word “Just”

49:30 - The Concept Of State

52:45 - Use Of Static HTML

53:40 - Do Companies Actually Build For The Web Like This

  • Netflix Page Loads With Vanilla JS
  • Happy Middle Ground

58:05 - Summation Of Positives Of Vanilla JavaScript

  • Ease Of Beginner Developer Onboarding
  • Allowing Non-JavaScript Developers To Participate More Meaningfully In Your Process
  • Overall Resilience And Performance For The End User


Rein: Pick the thing that reduces your suffering the most.

Jacob: If you are just starting to learn JavaScript, it is ok to not learn a framework immediately. It is also ok to dive into something else and come back to learn vanilla JS. Also, Noel Rappin - Modern Front-End Development for Rails, takes a great approach to using differing technologies and what they can bring to your project.

Chris: Thinking about the instances where it does make sense to use some of these tools as opposed to reasons why you shouldn’t use them. Liked the talk about minimizing your pain.
If you feel like there are too many moving parts to JavaScript, you are not alone, it’s not you, and you’ve totally got this.

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