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Ammunition for My Manifesto

My Manifesto is a call-to-action to remove complexity and get back down to the basics. In some ways, it is the art of defining what something is by removing what it is not. In the case of a website, what it is not is a series of interwoven dependencies. Andrian Zumbrunnen said it as well as I could have when describing what modern designers/developers need to go through in order to work on something that, at its core, should be simple:

When I started designing websites, life was easy. All you needed was an editor, an HTML, and a CSS file. On days when I felt witty, I even added some JavaScript. Today, I feel like I need to go through a regimen of tasks before I get to write my first line of code.

It usually involves setting up NPM, Webpack, Babel, React JS and all the other technical mumbo jumbo. All these layers come together to build a pyramid of inter-dependent blocks. This approach has greatly increased the efficiency of our craft but came at the cost of fragility. Once a module or dependency breaks, the whole system falls apart. We easily forget that the underlying foundation of the web is plain old simple HTML, CSS, and JS — even if some of the most avant-garde technologists want us to believe they aren’t.

Adrian Zumbrunnen, “Via Negativa” via UX Collective