Dan Davies{ Front-end Developer }

Automation is killing my love affair

2nd September 2014

I’ve talked about this before and I expect I’ll get the same reaction as I did last time when it comes to the topic of tools and automation. For me, the thrill of the project is sculpting something out of HTML, CSS and JS. Getting deep down and dirty and watching something grow before me. I liken it to opening a new jar of coffee when I start. All the enthusiasm life has to offer as you tinker with this and that, trying out new ideas as you go.

It’s how front-end development used to be.

Now, I find myself wrestling with ruby gems and command line getting shit to build and recognise my out of date Mac. It could be an hour or so before any markup is written and any excitement I had is now lost forever.

Do you hear that Dan?

That’s the sound of a thousand keyboards being smashed as everyone jumps to the defence of tools like grunt. “Just follow the instructions Dan, you moron” they shout. “It’s so much cooler to use them. You are not a proper front-ender if you don’t!”

“Maybe not” I’ll reply.

Thing is right, I’ve made a few projects now with these kinds of compilers and what not and every time, something went wrong getting it to work. Now don’t get me wrong. I like the fact that we can make things easier. I can accept change (slowly) but we seem to be going deeper into configs than ever before. I don’t want to have to mess about with this stuff, I want to write markup.

I used Hammer for a while whilst freelancing. It worked a treat. I didn’t have much setting up to do and I didn’t spend hours trawling the web trying to find an answer to a error message. I’m not scared of the command line so it’s not a case of being against tools because of that.

I just want to start building straight away.

At the moment, I can’t.

It’s no longer fun for me.

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