I've done very little front end dev in JS for some years now, and am increasingly disappointed by the need for some installer or other to simply make use of JS projects. In particular, I was hoping to use Chart.js today, but the docs tell me that I must either use NPM, a CDN, or build the project myself:
If you download or clone the repository, you must build Chart.js to generate the dist files. Chart.js no longer comes with prebuilt release versions, so an alternative option to downloading the repo is strongly advised.
I expect this building process might produce a minified version of the JS, which seems somewhat helpful, but I wonder why this is a trend lately? My front-end friends have increasingly complicated JS development environments that automatically compile their JS every time they save a file using sass or less, etc. What advantages does this 'build' bring that justifies the extra moving parts?
IMHO, this seems to really complicate things unnecessarily by adding lots of moving parts and potential version conficts. PHP dev projects these days might make use of some combination of composer, npm, less, sass, and possibly a whole host of packages in a vendor directory.