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Exactly. There is a place for these tools, the key is having the knowledge to know when it makes sense to take the next step, and when it's just overkill.

If you have a site delivering mostly static content, obviously use the bare minimum JS.

However if you have a lot of reactive forms, interactivity etc, while it can be done with plain Javascript and HTML, I've seen way more buggy DOM manipulation/jQuery soup than not, even from experienced devs. Add in a large team working on separate features and code quality and UI consistency goes in the toilet. The frontend libraries at least can bring some structure and common patterns that can slow down this debt, at a library size similar to jQuery.

It's also important to remember you don't have to go all in. If your site is mostly static with a few highly interactive components, you don't need a SPA Webpack setup with a 50MB node_modules directory. Tools like VueJS can be dropped incrementally on a server rendered application, and you can "step up" in terms of libraries, common components and build process only as needed.

Me and an earlier colleague had the same fight, that he could rewrite my 10000 lines of vanilla JavaScript code for interactive UI with less code and less bugs if it was written in React.

The React infrastructure ended up with more than 10000 lines of code, more bugs, and he spent at least twice the amount of time to deliver.

The main reason he failed, was that he over-engineered his solution.

As long as you are not experiential as the developer of react, it is likely your 10000 lines of code would create way more bugs than the 10000 lines of code react team wrote, it just not explode yet, while your colleague only need to debug the extra 1000 lines of code he wrote.

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