Rediscovering the Joy in Coding

I don’t know about you, but I’ve become jaded, frustrated, and increasingly disinterested in coding over the years as I progress in my career.

I’ve always enjoyed hacking away on little projects or working on my site in my free time. The odd time, I’d pick up a new framework that was doing the rounds and learn all about it. Not to show my age or anything, but I remember when Backbone.js was the bee’s knees, along with the original release of AngularJS. Two-way data binding was mind-blowing, and the internet was instantly flooded with ToDo apps.

It was fun. We were still figuring things out. The client side became more of a playground filled with experimentation. I didn’t have opportunities to use some of these tools in my job because I was supporting older versions of Internet Explorer in agency land. Supporting is a strong word. I was helping it cross the road while making pleading eye contact with the driver, who stopped to let us across. Please run us over.

Anyway, I eventually got what I wished for. Cutting-edge web technologies at my fingertips without worrying about browser compatibility. But now, I can feel those sharp margins slicing at my tendons. There are all these rules and paradigms and severe over-complication of basic ideas. “When this changes, I want this other thing to happen.” Throw in some useEffect with a dependency on an instance of useState. Fine, whatever. Oh no, now TypeScript is complaining about something.

I’ve been telling myself for a while now that React and TypeScript have worn away my enjoyment of coding. I get that a job is meant to feel like a job, but Jesus Christ. I’m incredibly grateful for the position I’m in, and I enjoy it on the whole, but on a personal level, I used to have much more fun.

I’ll cut to the chase: I’m building little projects with PHP and Web Components. The code could be clearer. I’m mixing and matching patterns, and that’s okay since it still works because I’m not fighting any predetermined rules. I’ve taken great inspiration from Chris Ferdinandi, who advocates for a simpler way to build for the web.

I’ll post more about things I find interesting about this approach with some examples, so stay tuned!

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