A Quick Look at KeystoneJS

I took KeystoneJS out for a quick test recently. KeystoneJS is yet another JavaScript framework, designed to create a Web site / Content Management System (CMS) along the lines of WordPress.

My overall opinion of KeystoneJS was mixed. On the one hand, trying to create a CMS Web site from scratch would be a gigantic task. With KeystoneJS you can get a site up and running quickly.

keystonejsdemo

However, KeystoneJS is very complex and has scads of dependencies including NodeJS, MongoDB, Yeoman, Mongoose ORM, NPM, and others. This complexity makes sense because a Web-based CMS is complex. But I’ve worked with other JavaScript frameworks that have many dependencies, and such systems can be nightmarish. Things generally work well in the beginning, but over time, typically a year and a half, many of the dependency libraries introduce breaking changes.

I’m not sure what the main alternative (or possibly alternatives) to KeystoneJS with JavaScript are. My hunch is that the main alternative is probably using WordPress site building tools with PHP. I haven’t looked at this approach but my guess is that it’d be really, really complex too, but have a ton of community support in the form of Stack Overflow questions and answers.

Also, I’m not sure, but I suspect that maybe the overall chaos in Web development may be a consequence of inherent weaknesses in the design of the JavaScript language.

Bottom line: Web Development — ugh.

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