Daniel Compton

The personal blog of Daniel Compton - Projects

What is the Job To Be Done of a web framework?

The Clojure community has a knack for looking at things and distilling them to their essence. I think the recent discussion on whether Clojure needs a web framework is another opportunity for that.

I don’t think Clojure doesn’t need a web framework, because Clojure is a programming language and doesn’t need anything except a nice, warm JVM. Even if you reframe the question, “Do people need a Clojure web framework?”, I still don’t think its asking the right thing. People don’t need a web framework, they need what a web framework provides for them, and different people have very different needs.

If we use the Jobs To Be Done theory we can see what job different groups of people ‘hire’ a framework for:

“The Business”

The business hires a popular framework because

Recruiters

Recruiters like to be able to pick out a particular technology and match you to their clients requirements. Like it or not, thats the world that we live in. If there was a common framework that people used, this part would be easier for them and the developer trying to get hired.

The CTO

The CTO shares many of the same concerns with the business, she also

The junior developer

A popular framework is great for a junior developer, they hire it for

The senior developer

A framework is least useful to the senior developer, as they are often capable of combining libraries with the functionality they need to build their own webapp. A framework is still useful if it allows them to swap out libraries for their own choice. They may find themselves restricted by the framework if they want to step outside of the bounds that the framework provides.

If you agree with my (crude) characterisations then you can see that a framework provides many different things to many different people. Clojure doesn’t necessarily need a web framework, but in my opinion it does need to satisfy each of the parties involved with the development process if it wants to be used more commonly in web app development.