After reading about React Move I moved onto one of the heavy-weights of React animations : React Motion ! With more than 10k stars on Github and lots of blog posts and tweets about it online, I had high hopes ! Well after spending 15 (or rather 10) on the Github page of the project and its’ wiki I felt brutalized…
The Docs, or lack thereof
It looks more like the documentation for some backend API service than for a library that animates things to make them move to create cool user experiences. No live demos, or anything like that to play with… It was kind of painful, my brain hurt for the majority of the time I spent looking at React Motion.
But after reading through it all, everything started to kind of make sense… I kind of felt like I was starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together… A little…
If I had to get started on a project using it, I’d probably be looking at some more pain, and I’d definitely have to look for a more hands on guide to help me because clearly the docs aren’t going to get me very far… Right now I’d say I know a little more than nothing about React Motion, but clearly I’m unable to detail how I’d go on to implement even the most basic animation on an existing app.
So what did I think of what I grasped
Overall the point of this experiment of only reading the doc for 15 minutes is to have some sort of fresh opinion of which tools to invest time in and some idea of what they could be good for so it’s not so surprising that I don’t feel ready to work with it right now.
Despite having a hard time navigating the docs, I’d say React Motion looks like it makes animation things, even values, and not just styles, easy which is a plus.
That being said, the concept of spring and stiffness and all that does seem a bit weird. It feels like it has the potential to make things much simpler if you have no clue what to do (working from static design comps, or even on your own) but it feels like it could get in the way if you decided to use more precise timings and sequences in more complex transitions.
It’s hard to make an opinion about what it’s really good for but it felt opinionated, which can be both good and bad, I’ll need more tests to see if it matches my needs, or how it adapts to different projects.
Either it’s very difficult to use, or maybe nobody spent the time working on contributing a nice introduction in the docs, but it’s overall quite hard to figure out how things are supposed to work just from reading the docs… A good Get Started guide will definitely be needed when I invest more time in it. That being said I think it’s worth the effort. First because it’s very popular in the React eco-system but also because it feels like this can really be an exhaustive solution to many animation needs.
Alright, time to figure out how to get rid of that headache now… Damn this documentation !