Front or back? What’s the choice?
The frontend and backend of a web application are comparable to the stage and the dressing room. Back-end programmers produce the “inside” service that operates without user interaction, but front-end developers develop interfaces while researching and taking into account user experience (UX). And at SECLGroup.com the specialists create all of it. Let’s take a closer look at what experts on both sides of the “web scene” are doing.
What is front-end development?
Before proceeding to consider the question of who is the developer, let’s remember where this term came from. As Wikipedia says, the word frontend means the client side of the user interface in relation to the software and hardware part of the service. Speaking of the frontend, one cannot help but recall the backend, which is this very software and hardware part of the service. Both terms are used when referring to software architecture options.
Due to the existence of the separation of responsibilities principle between internal implementation and outward representation, they also appeared in software engineering. For instance, a back-end developer does not always understand the nuances of the front-end implementation, and a front-end developer does not always understand the server implementation.
In simple terms, frontend development is all about programming the client side of web applications. Such a specialist does what the end user sees in his browser. For example, this is a beautiful site: galleries, buttons, sorting, search, feedback forms, and other interface elements.
To be engaged in front-end development, you need to master a wide range of technologies. That is why a front-end developer is such a specialist who is highly valued in the labor market and has no difficulty finding a job, which, by the way, is quite highly paid. As a rule, the profession of a front-end developer is suitable for creative people who love programming and design at the same time.
Front-end development on practical examples
In the course of his practical activities, a front-end developer can receive layouts of a future site or service or other tasks from a web designer, on the basis of which he creates the client part, performing:
- site design layout, creation of templates for its future pages using HTML and CSS;
- setting up the operation of sliders, buttons, online forms, and other planned functionality (a frontend development specialist either uses ready-made scripts from libraries or creates his own);
- checking the work of the created functionality;
- optimization of scripts to speed up page loading, etc.
For example, when you enter text in Google Docs, you immediately get feedback from the server: the program highlights syntax errors and suggests corrections. There is no need to reload the page. The frontend and backend communicate through AJAX and HTML code that is processed on the server.
What should a front-end developer know and be able to do?
If we talk about mastering this profession from scratch, then you will need to study the following technologies:
- HTML and CSS. As you know, HTML is a markup language for documents on websites. And CSS is cascading style sheets that control the appearance of different elements on web pages (for example, the size and type of fonts). And you need to master these tools first of all.
- Methodology of the layout. The same BEM will do. This is the “Block-Element-Modifier” methodology, which helps to create web applications according to certain principles. The so-called component approach in layout, which simplifies the maintenance of the code structure as the project grows, allows you to reuse the code and make point changes to it at minimal cost, adding functional elements or updating the design.
- Frameworks. Useful, in particular, Bootstrap. In general, a framework is a set of ready-made solutions and based on them, you can create websites much faster than if you did everything from scratch.
- Cross-browser layout. Of course, you need to be able to create web pages in such a way that they look the same in all browsers, but it’s obvious, isn’t it?
- Responsive design. We are talking about a design that can adapt to the size of the user’s screen. As a result, the site will look optimal on a personal computer, a tablet, and a smartphone.
- Server programming language. It is recommended to know at least a basic level, for example, one of the most popular languages in the web environment. As you may have guessed, we are talking about PHP.
- Git. Well, without knowledge of the version control system, there is no way today, you understand.
As you can see, the training program for a frontend developer is very extensive and includes a wide range of skills and abilities.
The responsibilities of front-end and back-end developers are usually separated, but sometimes a programmer solves problems both on the server side and on the client side. Such specialists are called full-stack developers.
Programmers who feel confident in both the front-end and back-end are not uncommon in the market. Most often, these are Senior level developers who have gone through a difficult path in one of the areas – front-end or back-end – and have experience in another.