To illustrate this, Graham talks about the company he works for. Their app is a 90% is a Rails app, and one component has a lot of React. He talks about how they came up with that strategy and how they have kept React isolated to that page. It’s crept into some other little places, but there is a document in the team charter that defines where and why they use certain things, and that has kept it limited.
Graham talks about the tradeoffs between choosing to stay in Rails or introduce React. If you bring in React, you have to bring in a different testing framework. React also has a bigger learning curve than standard HTML or CSS. There are far less conventions around React than Rails, so you have to spend time coming to a consensus as a team. Webpacker helps with this to a degree, but it also pulls in a bunch of third party plugins, so Rails is no longer writing the rules and you may have to debug random plugins.
Graham gives advice to developers considering pulling in a frontend framework. He says to start with minimal JS and then talk to your team about when it feels right to do it, because that’s a tricky conversation to know what your expectations are and problems you’re trying to solve. Sometimes things will force the issue and make you want to explore using frontend frameworks. When it’s a time saver, it makes your team scale better, or when you have something you just can’t do without it, then that might be the right time to use React.
The show concludes with the panel discussing their experiences with different compiling languages like TypeScript. They talk about what influences the tools people choose. They agree that the most important thing is getting working code out there, it doesn’t really matter how it’s written, but to only pull things in when you know you need it.
Charles Max Wood
With special guest: Graham Conzett
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Charles Max Wood: