Missing the trajectory

I remember working in Bangalore with a CTO of a large company some years before the pandemic, and we were talking about their tech stack strategy and how all these new cool API's solve everything. The CTO patiently listened to us, nodded and then politely said "[person x], I love all these technologies, it's amazing to see the web capabilities improve, however we're in a competitive market and I need to build our product quickly and I need to hire 150 developers quickly and everyone knows React. That's why were using this stack".

This was a moment of realisation for me that I needed to re-think about wider changes to how I think about working with developers. It's one of the main reason why I don't get into a UX vs DX debate: people want solutions to problems (UX), which drives a market demand for those solutions that is driving competition for competing products, which drives market demand for tooling to rapidly get the solutions in the hands of the people who want them. DX isn't about developers being selfish and preferring to optimize their happiness, they need to ship. [Feel free to @ me].

When React was first launched my take was "it's just a tool for faster DOM", heck all that people talked about was VDOM, and then like going bankrupt all of a sudden nearly every job requires React experience. As I see it now, the component model has clearly made it easier for teams to get software, products, solutions (or what ever you call it) that people use. I didn't see it at the start, and I didn't see (or ignored) the progression, even though in retrospect all the signs were there. Hubris on my part for sure

I know where Browsers are heading and the opportunity they enable for developers. I also know the state of the web right now (as a snapshot). But do I know where developers are going? no. Am I confident that I can spot a genesis moment like React? no. Am I confident that I can see the trend earlier? no.

What's next and where's the web going? I need to build the function in my team to do that...

About Me: Paul Kinlan

I lead the Chrome Developer Relations team at Google.

We want people to have the best experience possible on the web without having to install a native app or produce content in a walled garden.

Our team tries to make it easier for developers to build on the web by supporting every Chrome release, creating great content to support developers on web.dev, contributing to MDN, helping to improve browser compatibility, and some of the best developer tools like Lighthouse, Workbox, Squoosh to name just a few.