Frontend Development Challenges for 2021
I was keen to speak to Cramer after watching his keynote at a recent virtual event held by Sentry, called “The Future of Frontend.” He said during that presentation that “the application is the frontend” and that “the frontend is your business.” His implication was that in the digital era — and even more so in this current pandemic era — there’s a good chance that many people mostly interact with businesses via an app. Think about how you deal with your bank nowadays — if it doesn’t have a decent mobile app that loads quickly and has a good user interface, that’s probably grounds to move to another bank.
“Everybody notices it, because it takes so long [to load]. And so I do think there’s something that has to change. I don’t know if it’s this year or next, where we kind of rethink some of these ideas of, like, should we actually be pushing all of this logic and this code into the client? Or going back to what the web actually is, and using servers and streaming that data to our customers?”
Kubernetes “hasn’t actually simplified a lot of the problems we have as developers — the people writing the business logic.”
Another interesting theory of Cramer’s is that the platform layer of software development — currently dominated by Kubernetes — will increasingly be outsourced to developer-focused platform companies like Vercel and Heroku. It turns out Cramer is not so much a fan of Kubernetes.
“I don’t think Kubernetes is the future. That might be controversial, but I think Kubernetes is another tool for infrastructure teams to manage configuration, at the end of the day. It hasn’t actually simplified a lot of the problems we have as developers — the people writing the business logic.”
This of course is where so-called “Platform as a Service” tools come in, like Heroku and Cloud Foundry. But Cramer thinks those kinds of tools, that take the infrastructure burden off developers, are still “very, very early.” So in 2021, we’ll probably see a further shift towards PaaS and newer workflow-oriented platforms like Vercel.
I noted in my 2021 predictions post that there are a plethora of services for static hosting now: Amazon Web Services‘ Amplify, Azure Static Web Apps, Netlify, Vercel, Firebase and Cloudflare Pages. This trend is playing out in Jamstack too. But why is static hosting so popular currently?
Amazon Web Services, Sentry and Cloud Foundry are sponsors of The New Stack.