Frameworks Are Not Tools

A friend of mine, a long time ago, asked me why it is that “gun guys” are so interested in firearms in the first place. “They're just tools,” he said. “I have a detached interest in my tools, like the knives I use for cooking, or the tools I use in my garden, but they’re not objects of endless comparison and discussion for me.”

My response was that a pistol, or a rifle, or any other modern firearm, is not merely a tool. It is a machine. It has interrelated interdependent moving parts that all work in concert. (Additionally, it is powered by explosives, which makes it even more interesting.)

My friend got the point after that. Tools are not especially interesting because they are not especially complex. But machines are fascinating because they are complex.

With that in mind, we have to realize that frameworks are not tools. Frameworks are machines. Each one has the code equivalent of interrelated interdependent moving parts. Frameworks are fascinating for the same reasons that machines are fascinating.

So the next time someone says “use the right tool for the job” and then mentions a framework, consider that the person making the framework suggestion might not be thinking about frameworks in the right way. Indeed, they might be thinking about something else entirely, and using “the framework” as a shorthand for whatever concept they really have in mind.

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