Front-end is🤘and JavaScript is 👑

Fredrik Jensen
Oct 6, 2016 · 3 min read

Front-end technology is about to rule the world with JavaScript at its throne, and we are acting like farmers quarrelling about how complicated our machines have become.

Modern front-end is under critique. But we seem to forget what we get in return. We — the working citizens of the web, web designers, ex-Wordpress developers and code fiddlers, are about to rule the digital world. Empowered to build the most amazing things. And who would expect it was with the help of our old friend JavaScript? The 👶 language which did funny DOM manipulations. Who knew it had such superpowers?

I have read my share of articles like Modern front-end is over-engineered, Don’t hit a nail with a sledgehammer and Why the f*** is Webpack so complicated. 😾 But I’m done. The development of front-end tools and libraries these days is nothing less than extraordinary. The future of the web is built by a community of enthusiasts and idealists, making great tools for all of us to use — for free. A lot of them backed by some of the largest companies in the world, doing the heavy lifting together, investing in open-source projects and tooling. What other industry is doing that?

Doing better is hard by nature

So here we are. Building applications which earlier had to depend entirely on C#, Java or .NET. Rendering on a slow server or worse, gray and depressing desktop applications 🔫 . And if some UX-designers were hired, they were lucky if they could change the color of the text. Those days are gone, today we can build what our ❤️ (and budget) desires. But it comes with a price.

And who said it should be easy? Making an application blazing fast, fun to use and maintainable is not a trivial job. Actually it’s quite an art. But luckily, new great tools are coming every week. All aiming to solve the problem and empower us to build these amazing applications 🎉.

Embrace learning

To embrace modern front-end technology, we need to accept that learning is a part of our job. I am not saying you need to learn everything you’re read on Hacker News, but if you’re interested an open-minded, it’s a great start.

Between the lines in a lot of the modern front-end critique i sense a resistance . A resistance to learn and willingness to understand. This attitude will hold you back and leave you behind. The front-end 🚀 is on a fast track, at it will not wait for the doubters. To jump on it can be frightening, but you will not doubt it. There is amazing thing going on and you can’t afford to let fear hold you back.

Having said this, we also need to accept that we are not expert on everything. Optimization, deployment routines, security and application architecture does not need to be every front-end developers expertise. As we are moving forward, we are going into more specialized directions. That’s why the term full-stack, lost its meaning years ago.

Why it’s necessary

Expectations from our users increases from using digital first services like Über and AirBnb. Just being able “to do it” are not enough, we need to build digital services users love. To build this we need knowledge. And a lot of tooling if you don’t want to build everything from scratch. Frameworks, libraries, modules, bundler, helpers, package managers. Remember, every tool is made to solve a particular problem. Just be sure which problem, and that you actually need to solve it 😉

If you are working on a website of some size, I am quite sure modern front-end tools can make your site and life better if you let them. Getting things more robust, easier to maintain and, last but not least, being able to make richer and more beautiful digital experiences.

The future of JavaScript

So, we are just getting started. JavaScript has just won the language war and 🌎 domination is about to come. The simplicity and almost universal standard of JavaScript makes it incredible powerful. Its ability to render fast both in the client and the server is remarkable. JavaScript has already found its way into native applications, and as the world around us is getting connected, JavaScript will be absolutely everywhere.

With these powers our hands, we can build amazing things. Drones rescuing people, the next generation payment solutions, artificial bots and god knows what. One thing it is sure, it is quite an amazing time to be a front-end developer! 🦄

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Fredrik Jensen

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Independent Front End Lead •

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