Monday, March 28, 2016

Follow up to my Babel 6 rant

I wrote a blog post yesterday ranting about Babel 6. It was posted to Hacker News and viewed 10,000 times within one day.

It's the next day and my head is cooler so I want to say a few more things.

The first thing to acknowledge is my great appreciation for the hard work that open source developers do. They choose to contribute their time and considerable professional expertise writing software for free.  That's no small deal, so I say thank-you to the Babel 6 developers.

Babel 6 is amazing.  Being able to compile ES2015 and have it run on any browser is a true game changer.  ES5 is a real pain and I am eternally grateful to those people who enable me to write ES2015 instead of ES5.

The reason people bother to complain about something is that they care about that thing.  If they did not care then they would simply be indifferent. So the origin of my rant is that I am clearly deeply involved in the usage of Babel 6.

The thing I value more than anything is my own time.  I have nowhere near enough time.  It is my most scarce resource. So when software causes me to lose time in very large chunks, I get extremely frustrated.  Writing a rant like that is the outcome of months of losing vast chunks of time to Babel 6 configuration.  It's not a spur of the moment hotheaded outburst.

And although I delivered the message to the Babel 6 folks in an overly pointed manner, sometimes there is value in people receiving not only a message but also the level of emotional intensity.  The rant level of intensity is far more likely to draw the attention of the message recipient than a quietly spoken, factually driven list of issues posted to github.

An effective rant, whilst certainly emotional, should not be a personal attack on people.  Hopefully this one was not.

And for the recipient of a rant, it's an opportunity to hear from your software users who are deeply engaged .  As a software developer it can be very hard to grasp how a user experiences your system, so when you get a rant hopefully it is not just an attack but contains valuable insights that can help the developer to understand the user experience .

So thanks to the Babel 6 folks for an excellent product.  I'm not at all backing away from the content of my rant but I do want to color it further with my appreciation for your work, and indeed for the work of all open source developers.

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