Libraries and Frameworks

“Politics and culture often function as ‘prisonhouses’ of knowledge… yet they can and often do function as ‘toolboxes,’ enabling new perpectives.”[1]

Imagine if you’d only ever used JavaScript with Bootstrap. If all you’d ever worked with were Bootstrap sites, you might think that .button(‘toggle’) is a native method. Someone else, coming from a different framework, might ask why you organize your files just so, and you’d be like, “What do you mean? That’s where they go. They have to.”

A framework places restrictions on what we do. It makes decisions for us. This makes our lives easier. And it’s OK, when we choose the framework, and we consciously accept those limitations. Libraries, on the other hand, only support us in our decisions. Sometimes that’s all we need.

Each of us lives in a cultural framework. We didn’t choose it, we just grew up in it. It’s the way we know, the “obvious” way things are. Yet, there are people around us whose circumstances aren’t the same. People of a different class, race, gender, or background. They grew up in a different cultural framework. They know some things we don’t. If we recognize this, we can learn those things. Like using pieces of Angular within your Bootstrap site. You can’t switch frameworks, but once you realize that other frameworks exist, you can use bits of them like libraries.


[1] The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader, Sandra Harding. Introduction.