React Adventures Part 1 – Memory Collapsing the Experience of Learning

I’ve been learning React and it’s hard. I’ve been making web sites since ’98 or so, but I tend to stay a couple years behind on learning certain technologies. (This filters out some fads, and frees up some of my time to work on music, hang out with people, have a life.)

So, by the time I’ve jumped in with React (and the gaggle of technologies and tools that accompany it), the shallow end of the pool has grown to be pretty deep.

I’m a ways into the learning process already. Zeldman wrote recently on the difficulty of learning new tech and the “rosy lens of memory” — how old learning experiences seem easy in retrospect, because they were so long ago.

But I’m not sure time has much to do with it. I feel like there are cases where memory collapses learning experiences instantly. That’s how I’m starting to feel about learning React (and the gaggle). I feel like I spent a week swimming through search results and tutorials, only to arrive on shore with a two-sentence summary of React’s conceptual basics, and the feeling like, “Oh, I got it. OK, check.”

It’s weird — reminds me of learning drums. The mental click when your limbs suddenly start doing the samba beat after fumbling for however-long.

I’m already a few clicks into the process, and therefore already losing it, so I’d like to document it here.

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