Is Front End Development Dying? Decoding The Myths And Facts

Last Updated
February 15, 2024
Is Front End Development Dying? Decoding The Myths And Facts

The realm of technology is very fast-paced and is moving ahead with huge speed. What works today, may become obsolete in no time. Lately, there have been discussions in various communities about the end of the front end. If you are a novice, you may be looking for some more data on this. 

So, the front end is everything that you see on a website, like buttons, links, and animations, to name a few. Everything that one sees on a webpage, like a logo, layout, clickable buttons, and aesthetics is a part of the front end. Front-end developers are in charge of making the website look good on various devices, including laptops, computers, tablets, and smartphones. 

The Evolution Of Front-End Development 

Front-end development has undergone a lot of changes over the years. Many frameworks are arriving at breakneck speed and changing things. Moreover, the World Wide Web is undergoing huge changes as well. 

In the early days, it started with humble HTML pages and then navigated to dynamic and interactive web experiences, which is what you all get to see today. As the demand for multi-device and user-friendly websites comes forth, more and more changes are underway. 

In the early 90s, HTML was the foundation, on which the World Wide Web was built. It mainly provided the developer with a structured way to define the content of a page and also allowed developers to organize the content of the page. However, these pages were static. 

Slowly, as the need for more aesthetically appealing websites came up, CSS or Cascading Style Sheets came into the scene. It mainly focused on the presentation and allowed developers to segregate the structure of the page from the visual elements. This started the era of a more design-centred approach toward front-end development. 

Then moving forward, in the late 90s, JavaScript came into the picture. It came up as the programming language, which could change the web development landscape forever. It allowed the developers to add more dynamism and interactiveness to the website. 

With its assistance, developers could create various elements, update the content periodically, and also reply to user queries. It paved the way for the development of complex websites. JavaScript dominates the web world.  The usage of JavaScript as a programming language among developers is almost 63.61%, followed by HTML/CSS at 52.97%, and Python at 49.28%.

In the early 2000s, came jQuery, which was a JavaScript library, which gave solutions to developers, who were faced with challenges. Cross-browser compatibility was one of the most distinguishing features and made it quite popular among front-end developers. It mainly aimed at providing tools to simplify tasks and streamline the workflows.

With more dynamism becoming a necessity, more than fancy, sophisticated frameworks came into play. Different tools started moving into the domain, each one focussing on solving specific challenges in web development. Various frameworks like Vue.js, React, and Angular were introduced to pave the way for dynamic web applications, with more emphasis on maintenance and improved performance. 

Today, AI and machine learning have both seeped into the web infrastructure. The integration of these new-age tools with front-end development seems to have become a huge reality. Today, developers can use and deploy machine learning models into web apps and development. SaaS companies are also entering the scene in full swing. Meta frameworks, like Next.js and Remix, are also rising in popularity with the advancement of technology. 

What Are The Threats Toward Front-End Development?

So, now that you know about the evolution of the front end over the last few decades, you would know that it is certainly undergoing some changes. The increase in AI or artificial intelligence tools and no-code or low-code software solutions is definitely giving front-end development, stiff competition.

The above tools and platforms are making it easier for non-developers, or those who do not have any idea about coding to develop websites and applications. This can potentially reduce the demand for front-end developers in a few cases. 

However, there are many other things that you need to take into consideration, before making a final decision. You must note here, that such tools and platforms can help you to create basic websites and applications. They cannot replace the skills and expertise of a trained front-end developer. 

The developers who handle the front end of a website or application have a good understanding of technologies and languages, which are a requirement to create custom solutions tailored to meet the specific demands of a project. In many cases, if you use no-code platforms along with code-based ones, the work that gets delivered is of the most superior quality. This allows the front-end developers to focus more on complex and custom projects. 

Next comes another potential threat to front-end development, which is the increasing popularity of content management systems. WordPress and e-commerce platforms like Shopify are surely a threat. These platforms make it easy for non-developers to create and manage their own websites. This may potentially damage the requirement for front-end developers in the market. 

However, you need to keep one thing in mind, and that is, that these no-code platforms cannot replace the skills and experience of a front-end developer. They may make it easy to create basic websites, but such websites will never have the same level of flexibility and customization. In many cases, clients will require the services of front-end developers to support them in their daily maintenance and support. 

Is The Future Exciting For Front End Developers?

So, the answer to your first question, ‘Is front end development dying?’ is surely a big ‘No’. It continues to occupy an important position in web development and the software sphere. 

As technology advances, the expectations of users also change, so the front end has to adapt to the changing atmosphere. The need for skilled front end developers also goes up. Having frontend development skill makes you full stack developer that definitely increase the chance of getting hired as developer.

These no-code and low-code platforms can definitely make things easy for novices, but if you need to incorporate a higher number of features or more flexibility, you have to fall back on systems like front end.  You will have to hire developer who is experienced in frontend development to achieve the custom design requirement which can not be achieved otherwise.

Moreover, the latest technologies like progressive web apps, single-page applications, and responsive design techniques continue to require front-end development features. So, you can say that the front end is evolving, and not dying. 

  • Progressive Web Apps – These are web apps which behave as a web page and also a mobile app. Moreover, these work on all kinds of devices. It is designed in a single code base. PWA mainly utilizes a website’s simple coding and gives it an app-like feel, look, and functionality. You will likely get solutions to several problems, like network issues, connectivity, storage capacity, and lack of connectivity. You can utilize various features like push notifications and the ability to operate offline, with these. 
  • Single-Page Applications – A single page app is a web app implementation that can load on a single document. Thereafter, it updates the body content of that single document, with the help of JavaScript APIs. This helps users to use websites without loading new pages from the server. This can lead to a more dynamic experience. However, single page applications may come with their own challenges. Micro front ends apply the basic principles of microservices to the front end. Unlike a normal single page application, front end microservices promote agility, and scalability. This allows the project team to deploy in an autonomous manner, and also enables continuous delivery for web front ends. 
  • Responsive Design Techniques – In today’s age, having a responsive design is the need of the hour. The reason is quite plain and simple. You can open the app on any device, if the same is responsive. One has to have knowledge of responsive web design on the front end, which mainly creates a seamless experience across different devices. So, the requirement is from both sides, to be precise. 

Conclusion 

Thus, you can very well understand the threats to front-end development. However, it still remains an essential part of web development, and thus the demand for front-end developers is not going down anytime soon. Front-end developers can adapt to the changing landscape, and stay up-to-date with the latest technologies in the market. If the best practices are followed, the front end will thrive more.