Grok all the things

grok (v): to understand (something) intuitively.


🙄  Cynics & grumps

Ah, TypeScript. That delightful extension to the ever-so-shaky JavaScript that some of us turned to for a sliver of hope, only to realize that we've just added another layer of complexity into the already chaotic world of front-end development. But hey, at least it has static typing, right? Bear with me as I guide you through the ins and outs of this seemingly helpful yet undeniably perplexing language.

Once upon a time, JavaScript ruled the web, and it was the only game in town when it came to client-side programming. But then, developers started to have nightmares about its wobbly typing system and decided they needed more robust tools. Enter TypeScript, conceived by none other than Microsoft, which strove to bring some order and sanity to our lives.

What TypeScript promises is a better JavaScript. You can enjoy its lovely benefits like static typing, object-oriented programming features such as interfaces, classes, and modules. Oh, and let's not forget that TypeScript needs to be compiled down to plain old JavaScript so our browsers can handle it. As if we didn't have enough build processes already!

interface Greeter {
  message: string;
  greet(): string;

class BasicGreeter implements Greeter {
  constructor(public message: string) {}

  greet(): string {
    return `Hello, ${this.message}!`;

const greeter = new BasicGreeter("world");

console.log(greeter.greet()); // Output: Hello, world!

See all those fancy additions? Interfaces! Classes! Compile-time type checks! It's a whole new world for JavaScript developers. That is if you're willing to drink the TypeScript Kool-Aid and put up with the looming question of whether it's worth it.

One of the more "endearing" quirks of using TypeScript is the constant dance between TypeScript types and the inherent uncertainty of JavaScript libraries. You'll often find yourself juggling type declarations or writing your library type definitions, just to make TypeScript happy. And of course, let's not forget the infamous any type, which is basically TypeScript waving the white flag and saying, "Fine, you win."

// Not recommended, but sometimes you just give up
let data: any = fetchData();

Now that we've talked about some of TypeScript's features let's dive into perhaps the most compelling reason to use it—the overwhelming FOMO that comes from seeing TypeScript rapidly becoming the trendy choice among JavaScript frameworks and libraries.

Is it a matter of time before we all submit to the TypeScript overlords? Maybe TypeScript is now what jQuery was in its heyday—a must-have for any serious JavaScript developer. It's almost as if TypeScript is lurking in the corner, smirking and saying, "I told you so."

And speaking of frameworks, TypeScript has sneakily weaseled its way into some of our beloved JavaScript frameworks that once had their flavor of typings. Angular came with its AtScript only to replace it with TypeScript later. Meanwhile, React developers are now being persuaded to use TypeScript instead of good ol' PropTypes. It seems like there's no escape from the siren song of TypeScript.

As we walk through this TypeScript wonderland together, I encourage you to reflect on a very important question: Are we actually solving problems with TypeScript, or are we just adding another layer of complexity to the already convoluted front-end ecosystem?

I mean, sure, TypeScript has its merits. It can help catch bugs early on, make code more maintainable, and provide better autocompletion in text editors. But have we truly reached the pinnacle of developer experience? Or are we just creating more ways to confuse ourselves while trying to convince each other that our codebases are now somehow better?

In conclusion, if you're feeling brave and want to step into the TypeScript rabbit hole, by all means, go ahead. Enjoy the thrill of learning yet another tool that may or may not survive the test of time. Who knows, you might even find yourself truly loving it – or maybe, one day, you'll find yourself writing a cynical article about it, just like me. is a collection of articles on a variety of technology and programming articles assembled by James Padolsey. Enjoy! And please share! And if you feel like you can donate here so I can create more free content for you.