Starting from scratch vs. frameworks

June 14th 2016

Building from scratch versus frameworks: a long-standing question and struggle of mine that still needs resolution. I have a perverse fascination with building everything from the ground up. It's very satisfying to say I built this whole thing. Look at it. Yes, I know this is dripping with ego: I'm trying to be better.

My mindset is starting to shift, although it hasn't been an easy path. Lately I've accepted that code is just a tool. It's not the product (in my role as a designer). No, it's a tool to build the things that can solve problems for people; a means to an end. So sure, it's fun and satisfying to build things from scratch, but it's also like building my own hammer any time I want to hang a picture.

Code is a tool indeed, and we live in an amazing time where there are countless free tools at our disposal to use and learn from. The big hurdle, of course, is coming to know the proper way to use that tool: understanding its architecture and opinions and prescriptions. But that takes less effort than building the thing from scratch.

Perhaps this way of thinking is quite obvious to many people out there. I'll admit my ignorance and ego. In the meantime, I'm going to try and spend the next few months getting out of the weeds to see the bigger picture and solve problems for myself and others, even if it means conforming to someone else's framework or mindset.

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