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Ray Gesualdo

In Defense of Frontend Complexity

June 1, 2024 | 2 Minute Read | Category: Code

I see a clickbait-y tweet just about every day regarding how difficult and complex it is to build web applications today, particularly on the frontend. While I don’t disagree with the statement itself, the general disdain it’s delivered with is completely unwarranted. The requirements for modern web applications are completely different than they were even ten years ago.

The fact that we specify “web apps” is telling in and of itself. You can run Photoshop in the freaking browser these days! For those of us using desktop Photoshop 10-15 years ago, that statement alone is astonishing and speaks to how far the web has come. There are whole classes of desktop-only software that’s been completely replaced by software running in the browser. Oh, and that could be one of a dozen different browsers. Running the entire gamut of screen resolutions. With users potentially around the globe.

Of course building applications is more complex today! Look at both what is required of modern apps and what they are now capable of. Better tooling, frameworks, infrastructure, etc. are necessary to support software engineers creating all manners of applications.

So yes, the way we build software today is more complex than it was fifteen years ago. And that’s a good thing. Otherwise the web apps all of us get paid to build wouldn’t exist. And neither would our jobs.

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