I always have this absurd optimism every new year. Mainly as a person who intrigued by front-end development technologies.
In 2020, just like every year, there will be many developments in the techs, programming languages, frameworks, tools or JS libraries. In a glance, React still dominating the scenes, PHP is still widely used, the same thing with Phyton or Node. All of it will be developed with the philosophy of rapid development. Those languages have their loyal communities and all of them will preach that their language is the most powerful way to develop web apps.
No need to debate them on that opinion, it will be a complete waste of time. Because all of them are right.
You might witness some old-timer waving their fist from time to time, yelling that we should learn from the mistakes of the past. You could also witness some particularly boisterous youth waving their fists just as high, pronouncing the past an irrelevant context and no longer a useful talking point.
They’re both right, probably. As long as nobody is being nasty, it’s all part of the flow (Chris Coyier).
One thing that doesn't change is the medium.
When we speak about front-end dev, the medium would be the browser. By browser, of course, we also put consideration about the wide range of the device's screen. Browser technology is rather slow in development because we need it to be stable. The core languages for front-end are still those HTML, CSS, and JS.
So, what's new about that?
The most challenging thing for the front-end is the user. Their experience matter! The heavy works to provide good user experiences rely on the front-end developer's shoulder. Every year we need to think about the next thing to tweaks, with the goal of better user experiences in mind. It's not a simple task.
There will be more technologies to help us. But the basic requirements remain. A good front-end developer will keep these promises:
- the design that looks good on any screen
- the design shows good information hierarchy
- keep it DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself), meaning: thinking modular design, with reusable and efficient styles.
- good accessibility
- good performance
Let's repeat this as a mantra: The most challenging thing for the front-end is the user. Those promises stated above should be sufficient for basic user experience. Unfortunately, basic is not good enough. Front-end should aware of trends and user behavior too.
User behavior is hard to predict. There won't be any good decision based on mere assumptions. It should have solid ground backed by good data and research. Heck, even the decision backed by solid research and good data still needs to put on test a.k.a trial & error.
Faster and better interaction should be added to the basic good front-end promises this year. Recent browser technologies also shaping this behavior. Fetching data, manipulate it, displaying it as per user preferences, it is possible. Not all information should be displayed as chronological. Some times a user needs a better context. Older stuff can be good, as long as it's relevant. Again, to get a better insight into these behaviors, we need valid data. The marketing department is an important ally because they are responsible to conduct such researches.
With that in mind, I'm preparing myself for a good 2020. It will be challenging, there will be new technology to be learned, there will be another debate about methodology, philosophy, or even the pragmatical one. But just remember, the goal is always the same: we are trying our best to give best experience for the user.
Happy new year!