Back in the ’90s the World Wide Web (what we used to call the internet) was a very different place. The idea of dynamic web pages was limited to a visit counter at the bottom of the page that would go up every time someone visited a website. In other words, the web was static, and Netscape wanted to change that.
Netscape worked in tandem with Sun Microsystems to embed the Java programming language as a scripting solution to their flagship web browser. Java was all the rage at the time. It was popular, powerful, and, above all, revolutionizing software development by pushing object-oriented programming to the forefront.
The language is inefficient, unstructured, and inelegant. It has competing paradigms inherent to its design and overlapping features. It’s horribly verbose for some things and rather tame in others. But it did solve a big problem, and thanks to a very invested community it found its place in the tech industry.
If anything, jQuery served as a rallying call to developers. It gave a common ground for paradigms to form around web development, and it was so successful and convenient that even to this day it is used by more than 70% of all web pages. So, how did we go from this rather stable paradigm to the lifecycle crisis we are living in today?
This growth goes in tandem with the increase of computer/smart devices’ processing power as well as the capabilities of web browsers. Simply put, it’s a self-reinforcing loop: more refined browsers push for more elaborate frameworks, and in turn, this pushes for better browser technology.
The revision treadmill is certainly addictive. It’s easy to be excited by the hot new thing without realizing what effects it will have on our products. This is especially true with deprecations. While most companies are wise enough to carefully go over the documentation before implementing an upgrade, it’s easy to miss a line or two. The end result? Suddenly the code is no longer compatible with the framework.
What It Means for Your Business
Do you really need to keep up with the latest release? Maybe. The only piece of sound advice I can give at this point is to understand that not every change is good and that new revisions always involve retraining to a certain degree. Don’t jump on the bandwagon when your current solution is yielding results. In other words, think before you leap.