(Mind you, if the framework is being used on the server to pre-render pages, then it’s a moot point—in that situation, it makes no difference to the end user whether you use a framework or not.)
In the last few months I built my very first framework-based front-end, in Vue.js. I complemented it with a router, a store and a GraphQL library, in order to have, respectively, multiple (virtual) pages, globally shared data and a smart way to load new data in my templates.
I am glad I tried a framework and found its features were extremely helpful in creating a consistent interface for my users. My hope is though, that I won’t forget about vanilla. It’s perfectly valid to build a website with no or few dependencies.
If you’re building a large scale application (literally Facebook, Twitter, QuickBooks scale), the performance wins of a framework make the overhead worth it.
Alas, I’ve seen many, many framework-driven sites that are most definitely not that operating at that scale. Trys speaks the honest truth here:
We kid ourselves into thinking we’re building groundbreakingly complex systems that require bleeding-edge tools, but in reality, much of what we build is a way to render two things: a list, and a single item. Here are some users, here is a user. Here are your contacts, here are your messages with that contact. There ain’t much more to it than that.
I worry that all the perfectly valid (developer experience) reasons for using a framwork are outweighing the more important (user experience) reasons for avoiding shipping your dependencies to end users. Like Alex says:
If your conception of “DX” doesn’t include it, or isn’t subservient to the user experience, rethink.
And yes, I am going to take this opportunity to link once again to Alex’s article The “Developer Experience” Bait-and-Switch. Please read it if you haven’t already. Please re-read it if you have.
Anyway, my main reason for writing this is to point you to thoughtful posts like Hidde’s and Chris’s. I think it’s great to see people thoughtfully weighing up the pros and cons of choosing any particular technology—I’m a bit obsessed with the topic of evaluating technology.
To quote Grace Hopper:
The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’