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Frontend Development

Frontend development requires much more than writing code. Like other aspects of technology, the goals of frontend development have changed over the last decade. Under this topic, we discuss frontend development and its benefits, challenges faced by developers, and new trends The New Stack watches out for in software development.

Frontend development requires much more than writing code. Like other aspects of technology, the goals of frontend development have changed over the last decade. Under this topic, we discuss frontend development and its benefits, challenges faced by developers, and new trends The New Stack watches out for in software development.

What Is Frontend Development?

Frontend development, also known as client-side development, is the implementation of the vision and design concept of web pages or applications through code. 

A fascinating aspect of frontend development is the emergence of new architectures in the early 2020s. We track closely two of them: 

  • Web3 (blockchain combined with web architecture)
  • Metaverse (a yet-to-be built 3D version of the internet, supported by Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia and others) 

There are increasing opportunities for frontend developers to make an impact in both Web3 and the metaverse.

What Does a Frontend Developer Do?

All developers must know how to wrangle data. We cover everything from APIs and databases to the new paradigm of decentralized storage in Web3. Machine learning is also increasingly important to developers, in particular with the programming language Python.

A frontend developer is in charge of executing design and content directions through code. These developers enable interfaces to look pleasing on all devices — phones, tablets, and computers. Frontend developers aim to provide the best user experience for customers and ensure that the overall software layout is consistent.

Programming Languages for Frontend Developers

To develop client-facing sections of the software, a developer needs to be familiar with these three main languages:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

Knowledge of libraries, frameworks, and other relevant tools can come after mastery of the core programming languages.

The Rise of Low-Code Solutions

Low-code is quickly becoming a viable method of creating applications for enterprises and governments. We track the impact of low-code and visual programming in general on the wider frontend development industry.

The frontend development world is dominated by JavaScript, including popular frameworks such as React, Vue, and Angular. We cover all the latest developments in JS frameworks, including ways to potentially route around them — for example, with Web Components, an HTML-native alternative to using JavaScript.

Frontend vs. Backend vs. Full Stack Development

Software development is the process of creating, deploying, and delivering computer code. There are different aspects of software development, each with its own approach. 

Frontend development, as stated earlier, is the codification of design concepts to create a satisfactory user experience. 

Backend development, also known as server-side development, deals with the more technical aspects of creating software. Backend development revolves around databases, APIs, backend logic, and servers. 

A backend developer aids communication between browsers and databases and writes code to store, update, retrieve, and delete data depending on the user’s desired action.   

Full stack development is the combination of both client-facing and server-side development activities. Full stack developers work on both frontend and backend to design complete web applications.

Why Frontend Development Is Important

As more businesses compete for customers’ attention, the ability to stand out among similar organizations is essential to a company’s success. Frontend development activities result in the first touchpoints for many clients or customers and can be the determining factor in organizational performance. 

Here are some of the reasons why frontend development is vital:

Successful Branding

The execution of a good frontend development plan results in powerful branding. When all logos, colors, and elements reflect an organization’s beliefs and values, customers are able to associate the software with the brand easily. This prevents a disconnection in sales processes and increases conversions.

Brand Confidence

A web application with a clean layout and clear focus portrays a brand as competent and capable of delivering quality products and services. Proper design implementation through software development also builds customers’ confidence in an organization.

Optimized Navigation

Frontend development makes navigation around a website or application easy. Users are able to find what they are looking for easily, leading to a better experience and visitor retention.

Frontend Development Challenges

Frontend development is advancing at a pace that is difficult to keep up with. However, there are certain recurring challenges that surface in spite of the new direction of frontend development.

Some challenges faced by software engineers and other specialists in the frontend development space are:

Balancing long-term and short-term design decisions. As design preferences change throughout the years within organizations, maintaining a balance between core design principles and new trends may be slightly challenging.

Understanding and communicating search engine optimization (SEO) concepts. Asides from providing a great user experience, getting web pages seen is a priority for organizations. Ensuring that frontend development activities follow best SEO practices can be challenging. especially when other teams are not aware of its importance.

Coding JavaScript in a robust way. In the past, JavaScript wasn’t a dominant programming language, and many solutions were not JavaScript intensive. Now, many web applications require that JavaScript is working and be maintained on all browsers.

Selecting the right tools. Given the many libraries, frameworks, and programming languages existing today, it can be a challenge to choose the right tools for your project. Each tool has its perks and drawbacks.

Ensuring that all user interface (UI) elements work as intended. As frontend developers implement design directions, ensuring that all flips, movements, and other elements appear as intended may be difficult to achieve. 

Explore Software Development News on The New Stack

At The New Stack, we keep tabs on emerging frontend development languages and tools such as Svelte. We also monitor the incorporation of web animation, motion designs, APIs, and CSS animations in frontend development. As part of our coverage, we explore the technical foundations of emerging platforms such as Web3.

Tracking technical progress on the web platform is also a key part of our coverage — browser technology, web standards, and cross-platform mobile technologies such as Flutter and React Native. We occasionally look into mobile internet development, too, but we have a keen interest in reporting on open web technologies.

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