Shunning Frameworks

I’ve used frameworks for about every language I’ve used throughout my entire career. I’ve always picked up a language and a framework at the same time – using the framework as a guide for what is possible, what the best practices are, and how to write idiomatic code. Quality, of course, varies by framework.

Over time, I’ve started to realize that frameworks provide magic, and there are secret incantations to bring out that magic. I can usually jump into the source and figure out what’s going on, but this detracts from developer velocity. And this makes the framework less appealing; I start to feel that I’m using a language on top of another language which quickly leads to a halt in developer velocity due to the law of leaky abstractions.

The law of leaky abstractions dictates that as abstraction complexity increases, the likelihood of exposing the underlying complexity also increases. Most modern frameworks allow for the customization of abstractions, allowing you to plug any leak. But there is always that one case the framework doesn’t cover and when you’re the only one with that problem, you really have to get your hands dirty.

I no longer use frameworks. Or I should say I build custom frameworks for the problem I’m trying to solve. I do this by piecing together libraries, which of course have their own leaky abstractions, but they are not usually monolithic. And if there truly is a leak and nobody has ever had the same problem, I’ll fix it and contribute back to the community. Actually, if nobody has ever had the same problem, I’m usually doing it wrong.

Inspired by this nice post over here – Stop Learning Frameworks.

gRPC Clients

Not speaking for my employer, but about my employer:

Our entire QA team has scoured the internet looking for a gRPC equivalent of Postman. So many contenders… so many failures. Not a single client we’ve found has been able to do a fraction of what we want. The closest we got was a cli tool that failed on recursive definitions. Fail, fail, fail.

To fill this void, we had to create our own client. The main one is Java based and is used heavily by QA to test all our definitions and endpoints. The other is a kafkacat type utility that reads protobufs out of Kafka. This one if Python based. Sometimes the two conflict (e.g. Timestamp), which causes us to rip our hair out. Best to stick within one language for testing.

Someday, when I have an exorbitant amount of free time, I hope to slap a UI on this thing and release to the public.

The Death of Edge

Update: Brave has also fallen.

Microsoft released Edge on July of 2015, dethroning IE’s decades long reign on error. Initially, Edge was going to support the legacy IE renderer, but this idea became the laughing stock of Redmond (or so I assume) and they abandoned it. Web developers the world over cheered, until they realized how much money that single app doled out.

I’ve never had the pleasure of making anything “Edge-compatible”, I haven’t heard much negativity so it comes as a tiny bit of surprise this engine is now getting dropped as well. Again, devs cheered (I literally heard this in the office), but the reality is the we are now left with three mainstream engines – Chromium, Webkit, and Gecko.

Quick economics on this:

  • fewer engines = less competition
  • less competition = winner takes most
  • winner takes most = less standardization
  • less standardization = winner takes all
  • winner takes all = we all lose

I certainly don’t think we want to live in a one-world engine. Before you cheer for Chromium, think about what the consequences could be… and give Safari or Firefox a chance. My primary browser right now is the Safari Technical Preview, I highly recommend it.

Changing All My Passwords

Safari now supports favicons in tabs so has become my new default browser (actually using the Safari Technology Preview) and it is much faster than anything else I’ve come across. Especially impressive is the credentials system.

I was surprised to learn I had a similar password on 50+ sites – GitHub went so far as to tell me my password had been compromised and is now in all the rainbow tables.

So I started changing my passwords and using the iCloud Keychain. I’m wondering what’s going to happen the next time my Nintendo Switch wants me to log in.

Facebook Using 2FA To Better Target Users

This is probably the last straw for me with Facebook. I’ve actively avoided the platform for probably the last year, only logging in to delete old posts.

If so many third-party apps did not rely on this criminal enterprise, as other’s have called it, I would ditch Facebook in a heartbeat.

Funny thing, I have a recruiter letter from them sitting in my inbox as I type this. Why would anyone want to be affiliated with such brazen greed, recklessness, disregard for user safety, non-existent morals, etc.?

I wouldn’t.