Some First Ideas About Writing Modest JS

As I’m writing a small book about how Modest JS is good enough, here are some of its first ideas.

In order to keep your JS modest:

  1. Develop a two-way relationship with the dependencies you use. Then they will no longer be things you depend on, but rather things you invest in.
  2. Know that JavaScript evolves slowly because of browsers, but that’s a feature, not a bug. But anyway, browser updates are coming faster than ever because of auto-updating browsers and computers are fast enough to handle the newest features. So hold tight. New things are always coming.
  3. The browser gives you a ton of good stuff for free.
  4. Use CSS, server-rendered HTML and SVG. Those are fine. Dress up the HTML and SVG with styling (CSS) and behaviour (JS).
  5. If the thing you’re building is not going to last, then don’t build it. Don’t take the job. Most startups are part of a game that investors play. Gravitate toward teams that have a clear idea of the problem their software is solving.
  6. If your business can’t handle complex CSS, CSS-in-JS will likely not end well for your business. Maybe it’s the business that’s exploding in diverging directions. Consider slicing up the CSS by business concern.
  7. Don’t pick a language or framework that will allow you to build everything. Pick languages or frameworks that work well with the domain you’re building for, and pick domains that are sane for you to work in. Languages come with their own culture, and so go to languages that attract people you’d like to hang out with more.
  8. Being a good software writer is like any other classy builder trade. You gotta lead your customer to a better version of themselves through what you’re building. Everything is your fault, so lead.
  9. Most so-called modern javascript frameworks claim they just coordinate the view. That’s false. They actually require that you babysit the data model’s integrity.
  10. You can write something big and modest, just like you can write something big and immodest. Your pick.

My name’s Pascal Laliberté, and I’m writing this because I think JavaScript is a really good tool for making today’s new businesses, and for making your point in today’s world. I’m writing this for those who want to learn it, and who then want do something with it that matters more.

No need to ruin JavaScript with immodesty. It was always supposed to be modest.


I’ll go in more depth with these ideas in articles and in the book, so sign up if you’d like to be the first to know when I’ve got something new to share.

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