Javascript Has Gamified Programming

Modern Javascript has gamified programming by creating more micro-success moments (aha! finally got it!).

But we know there is No Silver Bullet[1], so it couldn’t have created more moments where you finally solve your hard problems (“essential complexity”). Instead, it has created many opportunities to beat problems you wouldn’t have in another environment (“accidental complexity”) and made it fun to beat them.

All these small annoyances create a mounting pressure in the Javascript programmer to do anything but work on front-end code, resulting among other things in the Cambrian explosion of development tools that modern Javascript is so famous for, and which is also the source of most of the accidental complexity. Tooling annoys programmers, causing them to create tooling that annoys programmers… A positive feedback loop!

Another way this pressure releases is by writing technical blog posts. Which is to say, I have an important deadline for tomorrow morning. OK, OK, getting back to work.

[1], probably the most important software engineering essay you’ll ever read


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