p.b. hua

or: how to clean up from scratch

Letting go of frameworks, and how that feels


  1. frameworks feel like a box that's too small for me
  2. i want to understand the limits of my tooling and understanding
  3. no one would pay me to do this
  4. it sounds weirdly... fun?

A parable

ever since i moved to my current place, there's been this pile of clothes and papers and random junk that's just been accumulating in the back of my closet, for over a year. and no matter what i tried to do i couldn't for whatever reason get rid of that mess. i tried rearranging things, i even added some shelves and organizers. and yet i could never actually clean it up? something always came up, nothing ever worked, and that big pile of random stuff kept accumulating. it wasn't until i started decluttering until i could finally get that closet all tidied up. that's when i realized that what i was so hung up on wasn't that i couldn't organize what i had, but that maybe i had accumulated too much baggage along my travels, and what i really needed to do was to learn to let go.

Frameworks are a box

or a framework:

From Merriam-Webster:

    1. a basic conceptional structure (as of ideas)
    2. a skeletal, openwork, or structural frame

recently i've been making stuff without a framework, from scratch. to me, developing without a framework is like putting all my stuff out on the floor. conversely when i was using frameworks it felt like i was using a box, or a bunch of boxes. after assigning your stuff to various boxes, it becomes convenient to throw things into boxes. eventually you develop a symbiotic relationship with the boxes, because they act as kind of an externalied way of thinking about stuff, a means of forgetting.

but sometimes, you just stuff too many things into a box

sometimes, the framework becomes a crutch. sometimes you start to think that a framework can do things it's not meant for, because sometimes forgetting is more convenient than thinking. and you do this again and again

Laying things out and being a beginner again

has society advanced past raw HTML and CSS? is writing web UIs with the HTML DOM even a good idea? will robots write HTML in the future, so we can leave the debate on the best state management library for javascript to them? i don't know but i know that i haven't felt like i had a grasp of the internals of web technologies for quite some time now, and that scares me a bit. and i think the best way to get a grasp of them is for me to build back up. frameworks have let myself forget, and that's okay. but for now, i want to remember again.