Let's look at the factors that contribute to why many individuals think front-end development is complex, why so many technologies are involved, and what factors contribute to this. We'll also look at how the ever-changing technological world plays a role in UI development.
Why Front-End Is Hard
Front-end development could be seen as complex for a few reasons. The first is that the front-end development landscape keeps changing in terms of its fundamental structure. This means that many programming languages need to be studied, and new ones are being developed. At the moment, there are at least 20 top frontend technologies that you can sink your teeth into if you choose.
Another reason is that coding for front-end UI encompasses a lot of minute details that are often overlooked but are very important, which we will discuss in detail.
One could say that because UI experience is getting easier for non-developers to achieve, this could be problematic for the field of front-end developers. However, consider this. The UI that is able to be completed by using simple interfaces and online tools is nowhere near what an actual front-end developer can execute. Think about your favorite web applications like Gmail, Twitter, Twitch, etc.
There is no drag and drop feature to make those applications, and without proper front-end developers, they would not exist.
Front End Development Is Ever-Changing
Now, this is perfectly fine; however, after a couple of years, they will discover that the front-end landscape has changed, and if they were stuck in a job that only focused on obsolete front-end technologies, they would have to learn a new framework and gain experience in it.
Coding Is Not That Easy For Front-End Development
Remember that a web application, or any application for that matter, does not just need to run on a browser but on many browsers that can run on all devices. Even though front-end developers specifically code front-end applications and UI for browsers, these browsers still need to function on computers and mobile devices.
Coding For Screen Sizes For Front-End
Many different devices boast many different screen sizes. One of the jobs of a front-end developer is to adjust the UI to be able to accommodate all of these sizes without breaking immersion in their browsers.
Why such a fuss about developing UIs for all screen sizes? There have been 100 million new android tablet users In the last year, and a growth of 92% for Chrome OS.
Windows has incorporated breakpoints to make things a little easier for front-end developers. Because Windows apps can run on many devices like TVs, mobile devices, desktops, laptops, and more, they have actually categorized width categories to make things a little easier for front-end developers.
Hence, even though front-end development may be considered hard, some features make things a little easier. Here is a table breaking down the Width Categories. Then how a browser should be sized according to the device.
Breakpoint (Width Category) Browser Size Table
|Size Class||Breakpoint (Width Category)||Screen Size (Typical)||Device||Window Size|
|Small||Up to 640px||20” to 65”||TVs||320x569, 360x640, 480x854|
|Medium||641px to 1007px||7” to 12”||Tablets||960x540|
|Large||1008px and above||13” and above||PCs, Laptops, etc.||1024x640, 1366x768, 1920x1080|
Coding For Browsers Front End
Browsers are considered to be pretty frustrating for front-end developers. If you are reading this and thinking about going into front-end development, you may be thinking, what's the big deal. There are probably around 3 or 4 browsers.
As of this list updated in 2018, there are over 100 browsers. Yes, that's right. Some of the most popular ones are:
- Internet Explorer
- Samsung Internet
- UC Browser
We won't list them all, but as you can tell, trying to code a UI that will work on the most popular browsers can be a nightmare. Moreover, trying to code a UI that would work perfectly on all of them would surely be impossible.
However, this is the job of a front-end developer. For example, a company needs their web application to work on a tablet that uses opera and a phone that uses chrome, or a PC that uses Firefox. This can be a logistical nightmare, and no matter how many apps come out saying that they are all browser compatible and friendly to front-end developers, the truth is they are not always.
Technological Changes In How Front-End Works
We have progressed far today regarding technology and what you can accomplish with it. One may even think that a full-on front-end developer's job consists of that which you can achieve by building your drag and drop website - this can not be further from the truth. Today's front-end developers have progressed just as much as technology has, and they need to implement several skills to be proficient at their job.
A front-end developers job includes but is not limited to:
- Deciding with the UI/UX designer the webpage design and structure
- Developing features that enhance the user's experience
- Balancing functional and aesthetic design
- Make sure that the web application and browser run on all devices
- Make sure to build reusable code for future use and future-proofing
- Optimize the site for speed and scalability
- Understand and implement SEO on page
- Be able to problem solve
- Have great interpersonal skills
What Should You Do As A Front-End Developer Or Become One?
If you are looking to become a front-end developer and the job appeals to you, you should definitely look into it as a career choice. The average front-end developer (skilled, we might add) earns approximately $100 thousand a year in US.
If you are finding it difficult as a front-end developer or just starting, we suggest learning the fundamental languages first and then using them in actual testing environments. There is no better way to practice than actually doing something rather than studying and answering questions out of a book or online courses.
The job of a front-end developer can be fun. They build great applications and software that the user gets to interact with and, when done correctly, bring about a fulfillment like no other. However, many front-end developers nowadays only barely touch the surface of the profession and think that learning a bit of HTML and CSS is what it takes to do the job. In reality, excellent and proficient front-end developers are few and far between and are highly sort after.