But, you can install express, copy paste the getting started code and be up and running at a similar level in 5 minutes. I...guess I don't understand why I should trade something super simple and easy to use for this additional level of abstraction magic.
There is such a thing as too much abstraction.
Once you get used to them it's easy, but to get started it's a nightmare. I started with PHP back in the day, and even though it's hated around here the bar to getting started there is amazingly low in a good way.
I also teach sometimes and all this friction to get started just makes it harder to get into web development these days.
I prefer those who are new to any webdev to get started by creating a simple CRUD, not with the grunt details like parsing a JSON body or what is this session stuff. Those IMHO should be optional optimization details to apply later on if you wish, but not mandatory for everyone.
There is a reason why frameworks such as Next.js, Reframe, and now this one are being used.
I'd actually say the opposite, it's tools like Webpack that don't have enough abstraction. I don't care how source maps are being generated, why on earth is it a good idea for Webpack to force me to dig into that? (If at least Webpack's default source map config would work out of the box but it doesn't.)
Parcel hits the right abstraction level much better.
Disclaimer: I'm Reframe's author (https://github.com/reframejs/reframe).