Decoded Chats – Chris Wilson on Frontend Code Complexity

Chris Wilson headshot
Chris Wilson (@cwilso) is a “World Wide Web Shaman and Freethinker” and has been instrumental to the web of today by working on Internet Explorer and Chrome and defining a lot of standards we use. He blogs at

In this edition of Decoded Chats, Chris Heilmann talked with him on our changing world of frontend development and the plethora of tools we have. And if that is an issue or just things we’ve always done as a group.

If you prefer to listen to the audio version, here is a 19MB MP3 version.

Here are the questions we covered:

  1. There is a lot of discussion right now about front end development being too complex. Have we lost the focus and went down the tools rabbit hole?
  2. It seems that there is a problem with quick invention and discarding though. By the time you want to try out a tool, it is already “considered harmful”. How can we avoid that noise?
  3. Critcism is always swift and quick, and changes do happen over time, but aren’t as discussed publicly. Do we have to go to a fight period every time because contributing is too hard?
  4. Do we have a problem with education? Performance of products is paramount and yet there isn’t enough information about rendering and painting in our computer science courses.
  5. Developer tools in browsers have become incredibly powerful, but also complex. Is there a need for better UX in them and maybe even a purge of some of the lesser used features?
  6. Debugging is still being a part of live products. Surfing with devtools open shows a lot of console.log messages that could be a security issue. Do we need to be more professional about this?
  7. Seeing that we are prone to cover the full stack with JavaScript right now, do you think that the security aspect of using web data and accessing file systems is not covered enough in our tutorials?
  8. How do we deal with third party services and security in JavaScript? How to use keys and secrets inside a client side JS file?
  9. What old-school, boring sounding thing is something you’d advise any new developer to get their head around?

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