Published Oct 11, 2023

Developer Thoughts: Riding the Hype Train

Categories: Developer Thoughts

Tags: #hype , #htmx , #bunjs

If you've read my other blog posts, this is going to be a bit different: more chatty instead of technical.

I've been thinking about "the hype train" a lot lately (or "bandwagen" for you boomers - jk). For me, the latest tech tools to bring this to the front of mind again are htmx and, most recently, Bun. There's also AI, but tHaT's NoT hYpE or so I'm told.

What are these things?

htmx (yes, he likes it lowercased ?) is a library that ads a sprinkle of interactivity to otherwise-static HTML. It also expects an HTML response to any requests it makes. It's extremely lightweight, and it assumes the developer wants to just let the browser do its thing instead of running an entire client-side application that manages state and pre-processes the DOM before the browser touches it.

Bun is a performance-focused runtime meant to eventually replace Node and also bundle some common tools that normally need to be built on top of Node, such as a package manager, dev server, and code compiler.

Really, neither of them matters for the purposes of this post. But they are the latest things—in a manner of speaking (*ahem* htmx).

Getting hyped "back then"

For me I think it started with MEAN. I started seeing it around when I was finishing up college IIRC and it looked like such a cool idea. I was already into JS, being the greener dude I was back then. Why shouldn't we use the same language client- and server-side?

Funny enough, as exciting as it looked, I never really got into it. In fact, when I actually sat down to learn Angular JS from Code School (RIP ?), I was going through the course and could only get knots in my stomach. It just felt wrong and overly complicated.

That aside though, there were a few other things here and there that either had a large amount of hype or just seemed exciting for me.

MeteorJS was in the same vein as MEAN for me. It was the whole stack, and it was a lot of fun (very old project repo for the curious). I do remember other devs in the Meteor Slack channel would complain about build times though, and soon React became the favorite front-end for Meteor.

Elixir is 1 that I remember exploding onto the scene. And at the same time, I was looking at Laravel. Laravel already existed, but it was exciting to me because it made working with PHP a lot nicer, and I was already working with PHP. I eventually started writing Laravel here-and-there (you can see the codebase of this website on GitHub).

Other things came and went.

Now, by the time I started learning Laravel and was looking at Elixir, I was feeling burnt out by hype—just watching everying come-and-go, people getting exited about Y as excitement for X died down, and then excited about Z as excitement for Y died down. That burnt-out feeling about hype still lingers.

Hype now

These days, I see something start to explode and I still feel the burnout, though sometimes I might join in. Having my own family has forced me to focus on immediate needs first though—family, work, bills etc.

There's not much spare time and energy for hype. So what I mostly do now is watch things from a distance to see how they'll play out.

Final thoughts

I think that last bit is one of those things I'd like to tell my younger self about: to be patient, watch, dabble—just don't get swept up and you'll come to better conclusions.

A much broader point: social media sites, forums, Slack channels, Discord servers—they're all bubbles of varying sizes and with different makeup. But they're all bubbles, and they all block out a surprising amount of the real world, either by accident or on purpose.

So remember to step outside and take a breath.

Thanks for reading!

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