While the world came to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, digitalization was soaring. Businesses and their audiences were going online and the Internet touched more lives than it ever had.
And in this process of digitizing and going online, the first step for businesses was to have a website.
If you too are looking for website development services, you might be looking to hire front-end developers, backend developers, and web designers, right?
But before you keep someone on payroll or sign papers with third-party firms, know the basics. In this guide we would be discussing in detail the fundamentals of front-end development, covering the key concepts and technologies.
What is front-end development?
Picture this. You enter a restaurant.
What do you see?
The seating, the menu, the live band performing, the waiters and servers, and some hosts. That’s akin to the front-end of a website.
But there’s more to the restaurant than meets the eye.
There is the kitchen with a team of chefs, the cleaning staff with their equipment, and the sales, marketing, and accounts departments. Similarly, a website also has a backend that stays out of the user’s sight but is important for the seamless functioning of the front-end.
Front-end development deals with the former type of elements, which the user directly sees and interacts with.
Key front-end technologies
When most people think of technology, they imagine something that enables smooth performance. Art and aesthetics often don’t get associated with technology. But in the digital world, front-end technologies are used to create visually-appealing user interfaces.
And there are hundreds of front-end technologies that a developer/designer can use for your web development project. Here we have mentioned the most popular and widely used among those:
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is a foundational technology for front-end development. HTML structures the elements and tells web browsers how text, images, and other media and elements should be displayed. 94.1% of all websites on the Internet use HTML.
If HTML structures the elements, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are in charge of the visual aspects. Color, font, and layout fall under its jurisdiction.
Basically, CSS is responsible for the styling and presentation of the code that’s written in HTML.
Angular is a technology used to build web applications. As a front-end framework, it helps design, develop, and deploy single-page applications in the fastest possible way. It is powered by Google. HTML syntax and language can be extended in the use of Angular. And it being an open-source framework further contributes to its popularity for building modern, dynamic web apps.
Launched in 2006, JQuery is one of the first front-end technologies. It is a fast, small, and feature-rich JS library that simplifies coding by minimizing the need to write extensive codes. Also, it is open-source, and thus, free for use.
Bootstrap is a CCS framework that acts as a toolkit for responsive front-end development. It comes with design templates and is mobile-first, which means it easily lets developers cater to mobile and web audiences.
Node Package Manager
Key front-end development concepts
Front-end development is a broad topic. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of concepts that relate to this visual side of web development.
Now it is impossible to summarize all of them or even use all of them in all front-end development projects. But here is a quick rundown of the top concepts of front-end development.
These concepts should act as a mental checklist for you and your developer while working on any project.
Front-end is that part of your website/web app that the user will directly connect with. So it is obvious that the front-end experience should be user-friendly.
While approaching front-end development, maximizing user experience should be the goal. Don’t give the go-ahead to any front-end development project if you aren’t confidently saying yes to the following:
- Your grandparents would be comfortable with the design
- Your grandchildren will be comfortable with the design
- The design couldn’t have been standardized further
- You are giving your users the simplest ways to interact with your offering (whether it is accessing information, submitting details, or buying a product.)
When you are developing a website/web app, you don’t know what device will be used to access it. Other than desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, smaller devices (smart watched) and larger screens (projectors in boardrooms) may also be used.
The front-end elements should render perfectly on any device type and screen size. This is possible if you have a responsive design.
There are many different browsers available for users to choose from. Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, are just some of them. Now, your website/web app should load similarly on all of them.
However, all these browsers have some native elements specific to them. And not all of them support all the elements.
Based on your target audience, you need to select the browsers that you want your solution to support. And then front-end developers need to minimize discrepancies across those browsers by using the right elements.
No matter how beautiful your site looks, if it lags in performance users won’t wait around forever for it to load.
Front-end developers need to optimize the code for quick load speed and great performance. Following best practices and knowing and fixing the pitfalls of the frameworks, technologies, and libraries is important.
Your diverse set of users should be able to interact with the front-end elements, right? Ensuring widespread accessibility thus becomes a key concept to take care of.
Here’s a checklist to follow:
- Ensure screen readers are able to do justice to the content on your site.
- Optimize your site/app for the visually impaired.
- Check if users can still access your site without a mouse/keyboard.
Security in front-end design and development needs to be considered from two aspects. One, the user input information should be actually safe. And two, the process shouldn’t seem like a deterrent for the users. Any exploits and loopholes should be identified and fixed in the development stage itself.
Front-end development is more than just designing one page. You could be looking at hundreds of pages and screens in just one project. And consistency in the look and feel of all these pages is important.
It is always wise to define style and appearances in the initial stages so that consistency can be maintained while scaling the application/site.
Now, not every project might need to factor in the concept of internationalization. But if your site is going to cater to a global audience, you need to take care of certain things. For example:
- How will translating the site contents to another language affect the layout?
- Is there something that would lose/change meaning upon translation?
- Will some elements be unfit for display in certain locations or to a certain set of people?
Hiring front-end developers
That brings us to the end of the basics of front-end design concepts and technologies.
Knowledge and experience of working with the aforementioned front-end developer technologies, keeping in mind the concepts are the front-end developer skills that you should be looking for in prospective hires.
But that’s going to be too hard, right? You’ll have to take technical interviews and also conduct tests to check the abilities of the candidates.
Not to mention the regular background checks and aptitude and attitude tests.
Want to skip through all of that and get experts on board in as little as 48 hours to quickly start your front-end development project?
Consider onboarding experts from a talent connect platform that offers:
- A talent pool including the top 3% of Indian talent.
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- Ability to add remote talent to your team without overheads.
- Quick turnaround time and a guarantee of finding employees who fit your organization’s culture.
So don’t delay digital developments anymore. Hire experts today.