Rajat Saxena


Territoriality In Software Development And Why We Don’t Need That

You don’t have to hate a technology in order to love some other one.

A recent experience led me to believe that we, software developers, are very territorial when it comes to our favourite programming languages, our tooling and our IDEs. As soon as someone brings up these topics, we become very protective towards our way of writing software. We go as far as calling the alternative programming solutions stupid. In my opinion, we, sometimes, like to bury our heads in sand and think that whatever language, tooling etc. we are using to develop software, is the perfect solution and everyone should be following the same workflow. Even I am guilty of thinking like that in the past.

But it should not be like that

Last month, I posted a video comparing two cross platform mobile app development solutions i.e. React Native and Flutter. The video was immediately picked up by YouTube’s algorithm and started to get some unprecedented traffic I’d ever witnessed on any of my videos.

While there was no reaction from React Native (hereafter “RN”) community, Flutter community, however, got offended that I called Flutter inspired by React and that I had no reason to immediately jump ship.

That’s when I saw the ugly side of putting your opinion out there and what happens when developers don’t like your perspective. Although this was not my first time and I was very well aware of the fact that one has to grow a thick skin in order to put oneself out there, it was the scale of negativity that blew me off my feet. I was called an idiot who did not understand the mechanics of Flutter and who did not acknowledge that Flutter was better than React Native. The video has been the most disliked video on my channel. I have been getting quite a lot of negative criticism. While a few comments were insightful about how Flutter is actually better that RN, most the comments were one-liners like “Flutter is better than RN”, “He is an idiot” and full of hate. Of-course I have deleted most of the negative comments as they were not constructive in any sense and were incapable of inciting any sort of healthy conversation about the frameworks. Overall, the comment section of the video became a hot pot of hatred.

In my opinion, that sort of a reaction was uncalled for. We talk about things like empathy and inclusion all the time, but we always fall short when it comes to demonstrating these values in real life.

In my video, I recorded my own views as per my professional background and experience. Others were under no obligation to agree to whatever I was saying on the video but what’s with all the irrelevant hate!

If there was a lack of information in the video, about Flutter (which I think there was) one could leave a comment stating why I was wrong or why the information was incomplete, but most of the people felt like typing some random hateful comment and calling it a day. It should not be like that! I guess most of us have witnessed this sort of unwelcoming behaviour on StackOverflow as well, when we were learning to program and even today. We were constantly perplexed about other experienced programmers calling us n00bs and getting our questions down-voted for “not doing enough research before posting”.

Our love for our tech stack doesn’t have to be this entrenched. Many technologies don’t survive the tides of time and most of the people who have been in the industry for any considerable amount of time understand that. But sometimes our love for our tools gets the best of us and we say things we don’t really want to say. We don’t have to be dismissive towards any emerging technology. We don’t have to be dismissive towards Flutter. Heck! we don’t have to be dismissive towards React Native just because Flutter is there.

Let me know about your opinion in the comment section below. I read all comments.

If you want to contact me personally, write to me at rajat@raynstudios.com.

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