Front-end development and Javascript


Since the introduction of Javascript frameworks like Backbone, Angular and React, front-end development has shifted a lot in recent years. Should we still be called front-end developers?

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At the beginning of 2016 year Brad Frost posted an article about front-end design, through the year the gap between design and development has increased even more thanks to frameworks like React and Angular growing in popularity.  If you look at Sacha Greif’s cool survey the State Of JavaScript, you can see that among 9000+ responses React is the most popular Front-end Framework right now with 2800 developers using React and 1682 developers wanting to learn it (

When I started as a front-end developer the main thing we front-end developers did was translating the designs to HTML, CSS and some Javascript. We made everything ‘pixel-perfect’ and then made sure everything worked in all major browsers, including Internet Explorer 6-9. I’ve always used Javascript only when it was absolutely necessary, this mainly happened when an element had a width or height that had to be calculated, or when an element needed to be toggled. Pretty simple. You could say that all the Javascript we wrote was just for improving the design.

I have some gripes with the current state of development, especially the huge amount of different frameworks. The ridiculous usage of package managers to install package managers, to install another package manager is insane. In our quest to improve re-usability and modularity we’ve created some horrible systems, with lists of dependencies. Most developers probably don’t even know how these systems work, but they need to use it in their day-to-day work.


In my opinion, Front-end developers are people working on translating designs and styling webpages (or styling web-apps for that matter) and not build complex web-apps. We are slowly fading away from (good) design. I understand CSS is pretty simple to learn and to use, so developers don’t spend that much time learning it, but a front-end developer who REALLY knows CSS is hard to find. Do you know what pointer-events does, what backface-visibility does? How you improve animation performance? I do.