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Framework vs Vanilla JS for students

I'm serving as a tech lead for a student group's charity project. We're building a website which puts a bunch of homelessness resources in one place. There are two goals to the project: create a useful website, and let students learn as they build it.

The group is comprised of all levels of college CS student. Most have never done web dev or worked with any of the associated technologies. People get uneasy when I mention using a JS framework.

I want to make sure they get out of it what they came in for -- which by all reports is learning -- but I'd prefer that they enjoy it and don't quit (which would be totally fair, cause they are volunteering their time).

The group has been asking why we should use a framework. I say

  • testing
  • reusability
  • dealing with state

They feel that learning multiple things at once could be bad, and that this would be overkill. Honestly, I'm not sure if it would be overkill. It could be. But learning vanilla JS is certainly less valuable than learning React.

Am I being dense? More importantly, would the project better reach it's goals by using a framework, or not?