Myth busting mythbustedMonday, January 13th, 2014 at 7:39 pm
A blueprint for “considered harmful” articles
These kind of articles are lots of research but easy to write: you take a “common practice truth” and you debunk it by collecting counter arguments. Extra points go to having lots of performance benchmarks or demos that can not be done with the technology you debunk.
Personally, I have no problem when libraries, frameworks or software solutions are getting debunked but I have a real problem when solutions built into browsers and defined in standards are being painted as inadequate for the sake of a yet another library or – in a lot of cases of articles of this kind – your own product.
This is not helping us having a professional platform. If there are issues with performance or functionality of a standard, we should get them fixed on browser and spec level. Yes, this takes longer and we can not be the hero to the rescue that built the quick library that fixes all these problems. But we also fix it for everyone and not just for the moment as inevitably following one of these articles will be another one a few months later showing that the solution of the first one has issues.
An endless source of dispute
Here are a few truths about web development:
- It will never be perfect – the idea of the web is to release code into the unknown. All you can do is make sure you don’t deliberately make it harder for people by expecting a certain technology or hardware to be available.
- “Technique $X is the best to use” is a fleeting statement – table layouts were the only way to create a multi column layout and got replaced by CSS. CSS layout with positioning and floats is a make-do solution, too. Flexbox is the up and coming solution to the problem of layout on the web. It is not ready across all browsers and not backwards compatible if you want all browsers to create the same layout. See where this is going?
- There is no “one” solution for any web development problem – this is the beauty of the web. It is the “bring your own solution” platform. If you want to make it better for everybody, use standards and let the browsers worry about the performance issues and do report them to the browser makers. Everything else is patchwork and will be debunked as “not working as expected” over time
- In 90% of the cases mythbusting articles solve one problem – the argument is not that a technology is flawed, the argument is that it is not good enough to solve problem $x. Which is OK, there will always be things that can not be done. The real question is “do you need to solve problem $x and what dependencies, issues and problems does the solution bring along with it”?
All of this would not be an issue if people looked at the source of the article, the date of it and see it as a problem solution in a certain environment and time frame. What we do though is keep quoting them out of context and as gospel. Until someone else will take that argument without context and writes a mythbusting article about it.