Sticking To What Works

Technology changes every day, but that doesn’t mean we should change our tools.

I was building a new side project. It was going to be focused on weather data, specifically tornadoes. I already know Django on the back-end, but I didn’t know Tailwind CSS on the front.

A new front-end framework! My front-end experience consisted of using Bootstrap and Bulma. I installed Django, Tailwind, and all of its dependencies. I built the front page of Tornado Tracker following the documentation for Tailwind. I was learning something new, which I don’t enjoy working with anyway; HTML and CSS.

My MVP approach for side projects is focusing on small bets. Use data, build a skeleton project, release it, and watch the analytics. I was almost ready to launch V1, which was a Tornado Map and some graphics from the National Hurricane Center.

The only step left was styling the mobile menu. I clicked on the mobile menu for a manual test. Nothing worked. I realized that Tailwind is specifically a CSS framework and does not include the JavaScript code to open your mobile menu on click.

There’s no way.

After all, Bootstrap had this code built in. Turns out there was a way. You need custom JavaScript to add to your Tailwind mobile menu.

I closed out of the project for the day, went for a walk, and started thinking. This project isn’t too far. Should I go back to what I already know that works?

We often want to learn new things. That’s never a bad thing. But why do we need to change something that isn’t broken?

When you build new products, stick to what works. They are the easiest to build. Save your learning for other projects.

Focusing on what you know builds an MVP faster. You get your idea out to the world and see what they like. While your idea is marinating on the internet, you can focus on learning new things.

Subtraction is the best addition. Subtract the resistance from your life. Build things you love with tools you already know.

Published on: January 10, 2024

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