It’s important to keep up to date in the JavaScript world, but it’s necessary to know where you stand. When do we stop searching for the latest and greatest, and settle for what works, what is maintainable?

The world of JavaScript is a complex place. With new frameworks and breaking updates releasing on what seems like a weekly basis, how can a developer keep up? When they do keep up, how do they choose the right framework for their project? Despite JavaScript’s fast pace and seemingly endless whirlwind of “latest and greatest”, equipped with the right tools and mindset a JS dev can cut through the mire and see the other side.

The first thing any JavaScript dev knows is that keeping up with the latest frameworks is hard.  With constant updates, changes and new shiny libraries, there are often more questions than answers. JS development requires a look at the big picture. It’s helpful to consider what you’ve been working on in the last year: what frameworks did you use, which updates did you make to existing code? Having a good look at what has worked in the past is invaluable to determining where to go in the future. Armed with what has worked in the past, you can begin to filter out the noise. Worked on a React project last year? Follow React’s release schedule and keep up to date with the docs. Comfortable in an Angular project? Read up on AngularCLI and the latest Flux implementations with NGRX. By narrowing the scope of updates and changes, you can focus on what matters to your work.

While filtering JavaScript updates is a useful tactic, looking at the big picture remains imperative. Much like building a wall and only focusing on single bricks, only paying attention to the frameworks you use can cause projects to lean out of plumb. So, keep an eye on the JS ecosystem as a whole: were there recent updates to ES6? Did Microsoft push a new TypeScript version? What do I need to do to keep Babel up to date? Keeping up to date with overall JavaScript changes helps keep your app maintainable and scalable for the future.

Look at the big picture, but sweat the small stuff. It’s contradictory, sure, but the point is not to be embroiled in pedantry, but to filter out noise while keeping an eye on greater trends. Keeping up to date with JavaScript requires work, but it’s easy once you filter out the noise. Colin Mackey

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