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Take the Direct Path

Take the Direct Path
By Mastering JS Weekly • Issue #65 • View online
We’ve recently become big fans of The Commonplace by Thomas J Bevans. The Commonplace is a pleasant yet thought provoking Substack newsletter that goes perfectly with a quiet Sunday morning coffee. If you’re looking for an issue to get started, try reading The Direct Path. We think it’s particularly relevant to web development. Here’s why.

Stop Worrying About Your Tooling
We often get questions about how to get started building a web app, and most of the time the questions have nothing to do with actually getting started building a web app. People who come from a business background tend to ask about how to hire and/or manage developers, and people who come from a corporate background tend to ask about how to set up the “perfect tooling setup.”
I'd build a new app if only it wasn't such a PITA to configure a linter?
I'd build a new app if only it wasn't such a PITA to configure a linter?
The question of how to set up the perfect tooling, ESLint config, Webpack config, etc. for an example application is not a question that you should be worried about when starting out with an experimental project.
Don't Solve Problems You Don't Have
Instead, take the direct path. What do you want to build? Unless you’re building Rome, you don’t even need a tooling setup. Sure, you should have a linter and you should have tests and CI/CD and all that good stuff. But don’t confuse what you “should” do with what you actually want to do.
From "The Direct Path"
From "The Direct Path"
If you want to build a blog, all you need from a technical perspective is to ship some HTML to a hosting platform like Netlify. Worry more about what you’re going to write about, and less on figuring out how to configure Gatsby plugins. At Mastering JS, we target spending max 1-2 hours per year on our build system. We don’t always get there, but it helps us stay focused on what matters: writing.
If you want to build a cool new dev tool, you should channel your inner Steve Jobs and focus on improving the developer experience for users of your dev tool, not on improving the developer experience for people working on your dev tool.
Guillermo knows a thing or two about building dev tools
Guillermo knows a thing or two about building dev tools
The idea is to stop worrying about problems you don’t have. If you’re looking to tinker on something to learn something new, you don’t need to have perfect code formatting. If you’re a solopreneur working to launch a new product, don’t worry so much about setting up a lerna monorepo to enable external contributors.
Focus more on what makes your project unique. You can always tinker with tooling later.
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