A Quick Guide to Understanding Front-End Development

Front-end is the first point of user engagement with your website or app. “Never judge a book by its cover” may apply to books but never to websites and applications. Per studies, it takes users about 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about a website. Similarly, around 94% of users would form an opinion about a website—or app—from its design and visual appeal.

But the problem? Many websites either lack CTAs, use bad colors, have excessive popups, appear cluttered, or lack navigation aids. The fix? Hiring skilled front-end developers who would do the job the right way.

And to hire the best front-end developers, you need to know what you are looking for. That’s what this article is about.

Inside, we will talk about:

  • What is front-end development, and what does it include?
  • Popular front-end frameworks and libraries
  • Front-end development trends to follow in 2024
  • How to hire front-end developers?

And more.

What is Front-end Development and What Does it Include?

At its core, front-end (FE) development is the practice of converting data into a visually appealing and interactive user interface. It includes basically everything that users directly experience and interact with on websites, web applications, and mobile apps.

The front-end developer’s role is much like an interpreter—they translate design concepts and requirements into code that runs in a web browser or mobile environment. While the visual aspect is a significant part of their job, front-end development goes beyond just aesthetics, especially in today’s age where the lines between front-end and back-end usually get blurred.

Developers in this domain are responsible for:

User Experience (UX)—creating intuitive navigation, smooth transitions, and responsive layouts that provide an optimal experience across different devices and screen sizes.

Performance Optimization—implementing techniques to ensure fast load times, efficient rendering, and seamless interactivity, even on low-end devices or poor network conditions.

Cross-Browser Compatibility—writing code that works consistently across different web browsers, accounting for variations in how they interpret and render web technologies.

Accessibility—adhering to web accessibility standards and best practices to ensure that digital products are usable by individuals with disabilities or impairments. Accessibility has gained more momentum in 2023—WebAIM’s 2023 accessibility report conducted on 1 million web pages demonstrates that more and more developers and organizations are taking into account the importance of accessibility.

Integration—collaborating with back-end developers to integrate the user interface with server-side logic, APIs, and databases to create a cohesive and functional application.

This is not a complete list of their responsibilities—much depends upon the organization’s goals and the developer’s toolkit.

Popular Front-end Frameworks and Libraries

The front-end ecosystem is constantly evolving, with new tools and technologies emerging regularly. “New day, new framework,” as they say. However, several frameworks and libraries have established themselves as industry standards, some of which are listed below.

Most Used JavaScript Frameworks

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React: Developed and maintained by Facebook (now Meta), React is easily one of the most widely adopted front-end frameworks. While technically a library, React is so widely used and has grown into a complex ecosystem that it blurs the lines between library and framework. However, at its core, React is a library for building user interfaces. It introduced the concept of a virtual Document Object Model (DOM) and a component-based architecture.

Next.js: Built on top of React, Next.js is a framework designed for building supercharged, user-facing, and SEO-friendly websites and web applications. It offers features like server-side rendering, static site generation, TypeScript support, smart bundling, and route prefetching.

Angular: Angular is a comprehensive development platform that was developed by Google in 2016. As a framework built on TypeScript, it provides a complete solution for building web applications. It follows an opinionated approach, though with a steep learning curve but robust tooling and strong TypeScript integration.

Vue.js: Known for its simplicity and ease of integration, Vue.js is a progressive framework that can be adopted incrementally. It is used for building interfaces and has gained significant traction, particularly among developers transitioning from other frameworks.

Front-end Libraries

Bootstrap: Easily one of the most popular front-end component libraries, Bootstrap provides a comprehensive set of extensible and feature-packed front-end toolkits, including UI components, utilities, and layout tools. Bootstrap is powerful and used for building fast and responsive sites.

Redux: A predictable state container for JavaScript apps, Redux provides a centralized store for managing application state. Redux is flexible, can handle complex data flows, and is considered a powerful tool for debugging.

MobX: MobX is an alternative to Redux. It is a straightforward, battle-tested library for state management that uses transparent functional reactive programming.

Material-UI: A popular React UI library that implements Google’s Material Design principles. Material-UI provides a set of pre-built and customizable components that are ‘beautiful by default.’

Ant Design: An enterprise-level UI design language and React UI library, Ant Design offers a comprehensive set of high-quality React components, as well as design resources and coding tools.

Lodash: A modular utility library that provides a wide range of helper functions for common programming tasks, such as working with arrays, objects, strings, and functions. Lodash is also great for manipulating & testing values and creating composite functions.

Moment.js: A robust date and time manipulation library that simplifies working with dates and times in JavaScript. It provides a consistent and intuitive API for parsing, validating, manipulating, and formatting dates and times.

Axios: Axios is a promise-based HTTP client that provides a simple and consistent interface for making HTTP requests from the browser or Node.js. It can run in the browser and nodejs with the same codebase. On the server side, it uses the native node.js http module, while on the client (browser), it uses XMLHttpRequests.

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While this list is not exhaustive, these frameworks, libraries, and toolkits represent some of the most widely adopted and influential tools in the front-end development ecosystem.

Front-end Development Trends to Follow in 2024

The world of development is in constant flux—literally. As we move ahead, more and more technologies emerge, and as a good developer or organization, staying up to date with all things the latest matters.

Here’s a snapshot of what is happening and what you can expect in 2024.

Low-Code/No-Code Development

The adoption of low-code/no-code platforms for rapid application development is on the rise. These platforms offer visual, drag-and-drop tools that enable developers to create applications without relying heavily on traditional coding. Key benefits include reduced errors, increased automation, greater accessibility, and shorter turnaround times.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Chatbots

AI algorithms are enhancing personalization and accessibility in user interfaces. Chatbots and virtual assistants powered by natural language processing are becoming more prevalent. Tools like TensorFlow.js, Dialogflow, GitHub’s Copilot, and Algorithmia are enabling the integration of AI capabilities into front-end applications.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are bridging the gap between traditional websites and native mobile apps by providing app-like experiences within web browsers. Offline functionality, push notifications, app caching, and faster load times are some of the key features driving the adoption of PWAs.

Single Page Applications (SPAs)

Single Page Applications (SPAs) are gaining popularity for delivering dynamic user experiences where content loads on a single page. This approach enables features like live chat, real-time updates, and interactive maps while offering benefits such as fewer server calls, faster load times, and responsive user interfaces.

TypeScript Adoption

TypeScript is witnessing increasing popularity as a superset of JavaScript for writing cleaner, more maintainable code. As a strongly typed language with built-in type-checking and object-oriented features, TypeScript is gaining traction among developers looking to improve code quality and maintainability. Resources like the TypeScript handbook, courses, and tutorials are facilitating its adoption.

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React Dominance

React continues to dominate as the most popular front-end library/framework, backed by a large community and ecosystem of tools and resources. The emergence of Next.js as a rising star in the React ecosystem is one of the reasons React will be relevant in the foreseeable future.

JAMstack and Static Site Generators

The JAMstack (JavaScript, APIs, and Markup) architecture is gaining traction, enabling the development of secure, scalable, and performant websites and applications. Static Site Generators like Gatsby, Next.js, and Nuxt are becoming more prevalent for pre-rendering and performance optimization. New players like Remix, SvelteKit, and Astro are also emerging in this space.

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Micro Front-ends

The micro front-end architectural approach, which involves composing independent, deliverable front-end applications, is gaining momentum. Thanks to Module Federation, it is easy to work with and maintain micro front-ends. Companies like Netflix, PayPal, IKEA, and Spotify have adopted this approach for isolated development and large-scale applications.

DevEngine: Your Trusted Partner for Hiring Top Front-End Talent from LATAM

As a leading IT talent provider specializing in the Latin American region, we offer a streamlined solution to help you access the best front-end talent from LATAM.

Our extensive network spans across multiple countries in Latin America—with us, you can tap into a diverse pool of skilled developers proficient in the latest front-end technologies, frameworks, and libraries. From React and Angular to Vue.js and Next.js, we have a team of thoroughly vetted professionals ready to join your organization and contribute to your success.

What sets DevEngine apart is our rigorous vetting process, which means that the candidates we present to you not only possess the technical expertise you require but also align with your company’s culture and values. We conduct comprehensive assessments, including coding challenges and technical interviews, to evaluate their skills and ensure a seamless integration into your team.

Get in touch and let’s you build you a team you need!