Having an old Windows Phone 8 die (followed by dissection) was a fresh reminder I haven’t put enough effort towards my desire to “do something interesting” with those obsolete devices. The mysterious decay of one device was a very final bell toll announcing its end, but the clock is ticking on the rest of them as well. Native app development for the platform was shut down years ago, leaving only the browser as an entry point. But even that browser, based on IE11, is getting left further and further behind every day by web evolution.
In one of my on-and-off trips into web development, I ran through Angular framework tutorial and then added legacy project flags to make an IE11-compatible build I could run on a Windows Phone 8. That is no longer possible once Angular dropped support. One of the reasons I chose Angular was because it was an “everything included, plus the kitchen sink” type of deal. An empty Angular app created via its “
ng new” command included all the tools already configured for their Angular defaults. I knew the concepts of tools like “bundler”, “minimizer”, etc. but I didn’t know enough to actually use them firsthand. Angular boilerplate helped me get started.
But the reason I chose to start with Angular is also the reason I won’t stay with it: the everything framework is too much framework. Angular targets projects far more complex and sophisticated than what I’m likely to tackle in the near future. Using Angular to create a compass web app was hilarious overkill where size of framework overhead far exceeded size of actual app code.
In my search for something lighter-weight, I briefly looked into Polymer/Lit and decided I overshot too far into too little framework. Looking around for my Goldilocks, one name that has come up frequently in my web development learning is Vue.js. It’s supposed to be lighter and faster than Angular/React but still have some of the preconfigured hand-holding I admit I still need. Maybe it would offer a good middle ground and give me just enough framework for future projects.
One downside is that current version Vue 3 won’t run on IE11, either. However, the documentation claimed most Vue fundamental concepts haven’t changed from Vue 2, which does support IE11 and is still on long-term service status until the end of 2023. Maybe I can get started on Vue 3 and write simple projects that would still run on Vue 2. Even if that doesn’t work, it should help orient me in a simpler setup that I could try to get running on Windows Phone 8.
I’m cautiously optimistic I can learn a lot here, because I saw lots of documentation on Vue project site. Though that is only a measure of quantity and not necessarily quality. It remains to be seen whether the material would go over my head as Lit’s site did. Or if it would introduce new strange concepts with a steep learning curve as RxJS did. I won’t know until I dive in.
Aesthetically, there’s at least one Material Design library to satisfy my preference for web app projects. I’ll have to find out if it would bloat an app as much as Angular Material did.
Codecademy offers one course for Vue.js, so I thought I’d start there.