What is a front-end development? What does an FE developer do? What was the road of front-end development from its beginnings?
Well, those are just a couple of questions for which you can find answers here.
Since I am mentioning that term front-end development all the time, why shouldn’t I explain it a bit before we continue on with FE developer road? Front-end development is part of web development which code is executed on the client side. That actually means that code written by FE developer is served like that into a browser of the visitor of that web location and executed there. Throughout the time, that actually changed a bit, but I will speak about it when we reach that place on the front end developer road.
Now, we who took a programmer road, well, we still had very bumpy road ahead of us. With jQuery, we had a lot of new possibilities to add to websites. Websites were no longer static. We have a dynamic part of a website. Sort of speak, we brought websites to life.
Beside ECMAScript and jQuery, frameworks made a boom in FE development.
The year was 2010, and that year made the great impact of FE developers. The first frameworks that we use today appeared. For example, it was Angular and Backbone. But why they made such an impact? Well, a difference between libraries and frameworks lies in how its implemented. When you use a library, you just call predefined functions from it and that’s it. What frameworks give you is much bigger. It gives you a set of rules, guidelines, frames in which you can create apps and websites with a lot of more possibilities. It allows you to design entire apps, combine it with libraries, manipulate DOM and much, much more. So today we have a lot of frameworks around us, and we can choose which we want to develop our apps. There is a lot of them and the most popular ones are Angular, Vue and React.
In the new era, the late 2000s also made a breakthrough for FE developers when CSS is in question. As CSS is well, a bit uptight when developing is in question. Something had to happen in order developers get a chance to do more with less code. That Idea was the most important link in the chain that gave us CSS preprocessors. They give us an opportunity to do many things, have functions in CSS, have variables, entire parts of code used on multiple places, divide code into smaller pieces. And what’s the best in it: when you are done it gets compiled in plain CSS, and works like a charm. So today, preprocessors are used all the time. We also have a variety to choose from. We have the stylus, LESS, SASS and much more, but those 3 are the most used.
One more thing was worth mentioning in this era: HTML expansion. Throughout years HTML evolved a lot too. Today, we have HTML5 which way more powerful than before.
Today, FE developers do a lot, not just make the website look good. FE developer today creates the structure of websites and apps. Makes the site have its life: creates all possible interactions of users with apps. He manipulates the DOM on the much higher level, a not just that. Creates virtual DOM and manipulates the content displayed. Communicates with a server to pick up data, but if needed, formats the data as needed or even creates data independently from Server.
All that makes FE developer a very important link in the web development process.
That is our next crossroad, where will FE developer go, only time will tell. Let’s see what years to come to have to offer.
FRONT END Developers, let’s buckle up and enjoy the ride we are on!