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Ask HN: Why aren’t frameworks like htmx more popular?
9 points by viksit 56 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments
The front page has a link today about how OP built a modern website in 2021, that uses some 20 modules - react, remix, et al.

Why is this? Why aren’t more people shifting to htmx [1] or related “simpler” libraries?

[1] https://htmx.org/

Complexity sells.

People in tech are generally terrified of saying “this seems too complicated” because it sounds close to “I’m not smart.” Combine with the snow-job culture of tech sales and, well, you get what we’ve ended up with.

If you use htmx you have to implement something server-side to return HTML, where most frameworks return JSON. Also, idk how you would handle form validation or authentication. And what if you have to transmit something that needs to be in JSON? Then you need another client-side api.

In general the issue with small frameworks is that you need 5 of them then still implement a lot yourself. Vs a big bulky framework which takes time to really learn, but has integrated support for all the features you need.

It’s why many people use big game engines instead of making games from scratch. If you make a game from scratch you need to implement asset management, rendering, animation, collision detection, AI, and export to multiple platforms. Game engines have built-in support for all of these things.

And i do know that many people use static sites or simple blogging platforms. Most sites i visit are actually pretty simple and look like they were built on older technology. On the other hand, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. kind of need to use complex frameworks because they’re complicated apps.

authentication is trivial and session cookie based, as was common before JSON-based apps became the norm. all mature web frameworks have this form of authentication baked in or available as a standard library.

validation is also trivial: you do can do it server side as was normal for many years. htmx also allows you to plug in to the HTML5 client-side validation API if you'd like: https://htmx.org/docs/#validation

there is no need for a complex front end framework for the vast majority of web applications. something like twitter or gmail could easily be built using a hypermedia-oriented approach, but when they were built hypermedia hadn't been advanced in nearly two decades. now it has.

People want to solve problems, they don't want to sit around babying their tools and technologies. To that end, if libraries and frameworks like React and Remix enable them to move fast and solve the problems they want to get solved, those will be used over things that are ostensibly leaner yet do not inherently solve the problems required.

Tools also have network effects. If you choose something like React, and you run into a problem, well, it's likely solved with a simple Google or Stack Overflow search. If you run into a problem with htmx or others, the community and support just may not be enough to solve the problem, and you'll have to spend time figuring things out yourself, time that could be better spent trying to solve your problem.

You will find a lot more support for React troubleshooting since there are simply more people using it. That is a major selling point, and barebones React with a simple UI framework like Material/Tailwind can be pretty simple (if simplicity is your thing).

As to why the OP you referenced went overboard, that has more to do with the old adage of ‘life is not complicated, people are’. I agree with you, this stuff is not that complicated, it’s the people designing it that are.

If you think about how mundane making web apps can actually become, it’s no surprise developer histrionics found a way of creating amalgamations.

Adoption curves will look like a hockey stick. When the adoption is low, it’s a lot riskier to use a framework. The best thing you can do to boost the popularity of $FRAMEWORK is to use it yourself, and post patches, issues, or learnings. The availability of this information will make it easier for others to adopt the technology as well.

Rails, one of the most popular web frameworks, comes with https://hotwired.dev .

I count this as very popular.

While the tendency to over engineer web apps is strong, many teams opt for faster development.

This post you reference was satirical and meant to illustrate how out of control [1] things can become.

[1] if you measure it in number of technologies / toolsets used.

In this case, by design:

> Big Sky Software

> We find hot new industry trends & then do the opposite of that...

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