The evolution of front end development

The evolution of front end development

The "Front End" refers to everything that happens on a website's "client" side. Whatever is displayed in the browser, from the interface to the "effects" on the front end of a web application, has changed a lot over the years. And so has the work of those who do it!

In the sweet web industry, there was a time when "Back End" and "Front End" development was avoided like the plague. The term “web integration” was timidly used to describe everything that happened when working on what was displayed in a web browser. The Internet Explorer 6 reign of terror was in full swing, and the Blackberry CURVE could not be counted on to show anything decent on its screen.
 

Like a wind of change

The first symptoms of the emergence of a "Front End" development specialty can be seen in the job offers for integrators. More and more, integrators are requested to use tools like jQuery and MooTools. These advanced javascript libraries mainly allow making interactive effects and animations. They must use methods like AJAX, invented to improve the interaction between the browser and the server. They also have to replace the weird animations, formerly executed by the late Flash Player, with Javascript effects.

With the rise of modern browsers and the standardization of Javascript use, web workers realize that it is now possible and easy to add a functional role to the presentation role of the browser. As a result, “web applications” are flourishing and, as we saw in last week's article http://symetris.ca/blog/top-5-web-apps-productivity, they are becoming an integral part of our work.

In addition to having more and more technologies to master, the integrator must be proactive towards the different types of displays, as 10% of the web in Canada is now consulted from a mobile device (http://gs.statcounter.com/

The "Front End" is involved in the application processes

The web page stops being a page and becomes an interface. Links become buttons. Keyboard shortcuts appear, the right mouse button displays a contextual menu to the web application. Integration stops being integration and becomes design. Thus, the "Front End" developer is born.
 

Increase in google searches for the term "Front End Developer", source: google.com/trends

Towards the end of segregation

It will probably no longer be a question of the "front end developer"; they will be fully integrated into the notion of development in a few years. The interaction between the "Front end" and the "Back end" will become more and more transparent. With the rise of "Javascript servers'' such as Node.js, which allows dynamic communication between the browser and the server, the difference between a native application and a web application will diminish until it no longer exists. What can we say about Metor.js, which reduces to nothing the very notion of "Front End" and "Back end"?

What about the user?

You will quickly realize that the user can only be happy with the appearance of "Front end developers." Without them, all these complex applications, as seen below, would never have seen the light of day.

A web application like Facebook constantly communicates between the browser and the server to share information with users (the data is updated without refreshing the page).

Thanks to the excellent work of Google's front-end developers, multiple people can collaborate in real-time on documents in Google Drive.

The magic of javascript servers like Node.js makes it possible to design games. This is because the server continuously sends information to the browser.

What would we do without the "cute" videos of Youtube, whose interface is programmed by developers specialized in "front end".