Stop the Fanaticism – Using the Right Tools for the Job

When a JavaScript project is defined, we face a seemingly endless number of choices – from frameworks, to module loading, to dependency management, to code style. There are at least 2 tools for every job, and a group of people willing to argue the merits of each one until they are blue in the face. Fanaticism runs rampant, and we’ve started to ask the wrong questions when faced with new tools and ways of solving problems. This talk examines the decisions we as developers make, the way we make them, and how we can make these decisions better. We’ll talk about framework fanaticism, dealing with large teams, and protecting yourself once you’ve made your choices.

Privilege – we all have it. Everyone here.

Tech culture is toxic. We’re still arguing about Codes of Conduct?! We’re still arguing about semicolons! We’re still making fun of PHP and Flash devs! We still say “soft skills” like it’s a bad thing. We constantly judge each other’s experiences instead of accepting them as they are or attempting to understand or learn. We idolise jerks! It’s gross!

We happily ignoring it even though it’s destructive.

Fanatacism – marked by intense uncritical devotion.

We have all done this at some point!

It shows in the way we stick to our languages – “we’re (language) developers!” – even though 99% of the time the language you use will not affect your project’s success.

We need to stop telling people the language they like is wrong just because we don’t like it. It’s possible to discuss a choice with some objectivity.

Similarly nobody will force you to use a language feature – you don’t have to use them.

Of course if you expect a programming language to stay the same, you’re in the wrong profession.

So many of our arguments boil down to wanting to look smart. We sometimes argue passionately without being able to explain exactly why!

We hire weird archetypes – the hard-to-work-with genius; and the 10x engineer. Both of these archetypes are considered negative qualities in all groups other than young white men. This is called unconscious bias.

We can fix this. We can do a lot with language – we can frame things differently.

Take the fanatacism out. We need to be enthusiastic and encouraging. We don’t need to love what we do at the expense of someone else, we can just love what we do.

Invite new people, teach things, discuss your tech, participate in open source if you want to.


Don’t discourage “noobs”. Don’t say “noobs”. Don’t tell people RTFM when you don’t have docs!

Be enthusiastic, stop short of fanatacism.

(Kassandra leading the audience all together…) There is nothing wrong with being nice!