React and refs: Getting started

Refs is one of those topics that sends even seasoned React devs into fits of panic. What is this mysterious thing called a “ref” that we never encounter and yet is encountered everywhere (in blog posts and interviews, at least!)? Am I less of a React dev if I don’t know how to use refs? Where the heck would I need this ref thing? Calm down, my friend. The topic of refs might be on the fringes and it might be a bit weird, but it’s by no means mysterious or useless.

Make StackOverflow great again!

People hate StackOverflow (SO) for various reasons. There’s the general hate that SO is a quick-and-dirty help forum that promotes copy-paste-driven development. Then there are architects and “10x” developers who say that the entire SO is a joke, and so are the solutions found there. Finally, many people consider it a valuable entity and want to participate but are repulsed by the heavily acidic moderators and downvoters. What do I think?

The Impossible Structuring Decisions

How to structure your web app’s code base is a difficult problem, even more so when there are full stack frameworks involved. Take Django, for instance. “Apps” is one of its cornerstones, and the docs say they allow you to create reusable, pluggable modules. GREAT! A project structure that is mature, well-designed, and well understood . . . what more does a developer want, right?! Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work out that well in practice.

Red(ux)ing the complexity in a React application's state

When the last edition of the wonderful React newsletter landed in my mailbox, one of the links caught my eye: “Why I stopped using Redux”. Pleasantly, the link sent me to, a social network of sorts for developers that you must absolutely be a part of. Now, grumpy devs writing against Redux is nothing new. While for many Redux is the perfect solution for the messy, ugly problem of state management, for others it’s an overcomplicated, over-engineered, half-complete solution that is being rammed down their throats by the snobs of the React world.

Redux vs. Context in React

In an earlier post I wrote, I remarked on how many developers in the React community feel that Redux is an overkill, an antipattern, and so on. And so, they’ve started developing in the Context API instead. In fact, the narrative now is that Context is going to “kill” Redux. Is it? Well, the thing is, Context is really simple and works well with the new Hooks API, but lurking in the beauty is a major concern: performance.