Bruce Lawson's personal site

Jane Austen, Tailwind and modern full-stack development

Some of us are so old that we grew up before npm existed. In fact, I’m so old that I went to university and studied English Literature because we had things called “books”. As part of this, we had to read some 19th century novels so I chose Jane Austen, because she’s funny and because her books are 10% of the weight and boringness of peak noveltwats like Dickens, Thackeray or Walter Scott.

Anyway, not many people in modern full-stack development have read much English literature so may not know that Tailwind, the extra-wonderful replacement for CSS, is actually named after a 19th century euphemism for “fart”. From Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Chapter 7):

Miss Bennett, shall we take a turn around the garden ? The air in this ballroom has become somewhat rancid, methinks”.

Elizabeth blushed. “My apologies, Captain Cadbastard”, said she ; “I do confess that when you whirl’d me round in the last cotillion, a small tailwind eked out from beneath my seventeenth petticoat”.

Pride and Prejudice is all about the mindset of anachronistic developers who think that the only language they know is the only one that counts (the ‘pride’) and also that “CSS isn’t really a language” (prejudice). See the famous opening:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a developer not in possession of a basic knowledge of the foundational languages of the Web, must be in want of a framework and cumbersome build process.

Buy "Calling For The Moon", my debut album of songs I wrote while living in Thailand, India, Turkey. (Only £2, on Bandcamp.)

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