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The future of Front End Development

Tue 21 Feb 2012

After attending jQuery UK 2012, the first jQuery conference held in Europe, on Friday 10th February, I was inspired to write something about the current and future state of Front End Development and how it is shaped by all those involved.

This is not a blog post reiterating all the excellent points, techniques and snippets of information shared at the conference, you can see more about the talks themselves at http://lanyrd.com/2012/jquery-uk/. This is my own interpretation of the broad range of techniques, code libraries and approaches that are used today and how these have come about.

jQuery conference pass

Libraries such as jQuery and Dojo came about to help Front End Developers to build rich JavaScript functionality into site builds quickly and easily. Eradicating the inconsistencies across browsers, which in the past was extremely difficult to work with, and I’m sure had a large impact on the number of Flash based sites that were being produced. Now jQuery has overtaken Flash in usage online!

These libraries are open source projects, many available to the development community on github, allowing us all to contribute and extend them. This approach to coding has generated a fast paced progression and enhancement of the tools available to us all. Without the continued involvement of the development community, jQuery would not be the powerful library it is today. This approach has also bred many other open source projects such as, jQuery Mobile, jQuery UI, numerous plug-ins etc.

So if we share our code solutions with others, in the open community, or even within our own professional networks, we should find that our code will soon become better, more efficient and even extended further. Multiple minds will always have the capacity to create better solutions than just the one.

As said by Christian Heilmann at jQuery 2012, “Strive to make yourself redundant, that’s how we make good stuff”, we should not be afraid of this approach. When writing code we should all be considering how the code can be understood, reused and extended by others. The deciding factor in creating the best possible solution is not simply how efficient the code will run, but should encompass all these factors.

That brings us up to the present, so what about the future of Front End Development? With the influx of mobile browsing and native device applications, clients are expecting even richer functional experiences for their projects. This is leading us into much heavier script based applications, which require much more of a modular and structured approach to our coding. This makes the reuse and extensibility of our solutions paramount.

With the introduction of HTML5 and CSS3 technologies and the ever increasing functional support from browsers in this area, the future is looking pretty exciting. The inconsistencies between browsers are gradually being eradicated and many of the things we use code libraries for today may not need to be relied upon so heavily moving forward.

To conclude, we really need to make sure we question our own code, allow others to do the same and really take pride in what is produced by the Front End Development community as a whole.

We can all be a part of it!

Luke Guppy

Luke Guppy

Creative Director

I’m a Creative Director here at Redweb and my job involves all aspects of visual design through to front end build of websites and digital applications. I spend much of my time trying to find innovative code solutions using technologies such as JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3.

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