Karl Gorman
16
March
2022
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Front-End Development Trends to Watch in 2022

Developers are constantly striving to enhance the user experience, website and app load speed, performance and reduce the time-to-market of the products. One area that has seen tremendous change is front-end development. The field is ever-evolving with a constant speed.

Things moving at lightning-fast speed can make it challenging to understand the intricacies and observe the emerging patterns or trends. The same is the case with front-end development. Thus, to slow things down and make them easy to understand, we have discussed eight front-end development trends to watch in 2022.

The Popularity of the Frameworks

Earlier, to become a front-end developer, one needed to learn only specific frameworks. However, that is not the case now. New frameworks are entering the landscape and even dominating it. Some popular frameworks used by front-end developers are React, Svelte, Angular, and Vue.

Let’s have a look at each in detail.

React: React continues to be the preferred choice for front-end development. It simplifies the process of website UI development and let’s create an interactive UI. The framework has its own virtual DOM that ensures continuous, reliable app performance even at scale.

The learning curve for React can be slightly challenging. But there are tons of tutorials available online that can make learning easy.

Svelte

Svelte is rapidly being adopted by front-end developers lately. Svelte is similar to other frameworks like React. But, certain differences make Svelte stand out as a popular choice among developers.

For example, Svelte doesn’t need to be incorporated into the browser fully. Similarly, applications are compiled with their DOM node pre-assigned with Svelte, unlike other frameworks that use virtual DOM to render changes. Moreover, it is compatible with native HTML code. All these factors make svelte ideal for front-end development.

Vercel, the parent company of Next.js framework too, has shown confidence in Svelte, and they aim to make web development fast and easy.

Angular

The popularity of angular among front-end developers is decreasing by the day. However, it remains one of the most widely used frameworks for front-end development.

Vue

Vue is a popular JavaScript framework used for modern web development. The Vue 3 release, loaded with features, aims to make it the go-to option for front-end developers. One of the reasons for the increasing popularity of Vue is the flexibility it provides. The framework allows developers to decide on the build rather than follow a strict routine.

Micro Front End Architecture

Complex applications are difficult to maintain, resulting in high development costs. Micro front-end architecture aims to solve this problem. The approach breaks a complex, full-scale application into manageable micro-apps. This makes it possible for developers scattered across different locations and have different skill sets to work on the same project.

Micro front-end architecture improves collaboration and combines multiple technologies while retaining the same project goals. The benefits of micro front end architecture include:

  • Codebase management – The codebase is easier to manage as it is smaller in size with micro front-end architecture.
  • Faster development – Since multiple developers with varied skill sets can work on the project, it results in the faster development of the apps.
  • Increased stability – The applications are more stable as developers need to pay attention only to specific components during a failure or upgrade.

Micro front-end architecture also has certain drawbacks. For example, it involves complex testing. But despite the challenges, front-end developers are increasingly adopting micro front-end architecture for application development purposes.

Progressive Web Applications

Progressive web applications (PWAs) are applications that are developed for the web, but they behave like native applications. It is a recent development in building custom applications.

PWAs share features that are similar to native apps. For example, progressive web applications have support for push notifications that are generally seen on mobile apps. They are developed using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS web development techniques. They are becoming very popular in custom web application development. A PWA can be built using components like web app manifest, service workers, application shell, and HTTPS. The advantages of PWAs include:

  • No installation needed – The apps don’t need to be installed on the user’s device. They can be accessed via an URL.
  • Offline availability – The apps can be used without an internet connection.
  • Native app features – PWAs have native app features like camera access, push notifications, and add to the home screen.
  • Reliability – Since they are basically lightweight versions of native apps, they provide more reliability over traditional apps.
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JAMstack

JAMstack stands for Java, API, Markup stack. Stack refers to the combination of tools used for the development process. It is a unique approach for developing static web pages. An API is used for the process of content generation instead of a back-end solution. This makes the development of web applications faster, more secure, and easier to scale.

The basic principle behind JAMstack is decoupling and pre-rendering. Developers build the front end entirely during the build process. Then, the pre-built static pages are optimized and rendered through a Content Delivery Network. The advantages of using JAMstack are as follows:

  • Reduced loading time – The loading time of the web pages is reduced significantly as they are pre-generated during the build time.
  • Easy code management – Developers can easily manage their code with JAMstack.
  • Improved security – JAMstack provides improved security as there is no need for a server to render the applications.
  • Portability – Websites developed with JAMstack are highly portable and can be hosted on multiple platforms easily.

CSS in JS

CSS in JS is an approach that helps developers solve complex problems with CSS. It is a JavaScript solution that allows to write styles as part of components. CSS in JS proves highly beneficial in custom software development. It makes styling more flexible, as well as organized.

Some CSS in JS features are:

  • There is no need to include CSS files on the page. This reduces the number of requests that are required for page rendering purposes.
  • The CSS in JS approach is more organized than traditional approaches.
  • There is no need to reload the entire webpage, and only the CSS component can be transformed.
  • It helps avoid non-deterministic source order specificity for Single Page Applications (SPA).
  • It helps with removing dead code that can help improve site performance.
  • The dependencies become granular, explicit, and traceable with CSS in JS approach.

The approach has certain tradeoffs too. But, they don’t apply to all CSS in JS methods. Thus, in the future, we can expect the CSS in JS approach to become mainstream in front-end development.

Single Page Applications

As the name suggests, Single Page Applications (SPA) are web apps that work on loading a single web page. The website dynamically rewrites new data from the server on the current web page. The resources, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, need to be loaded only at the initial request. This forgoes the need to refresh the entire webpage or load a new page.

This reduces the loading and waiting times drastically and enhances the user experience. There is only a single GET request throughout the Single Page Applications lifecycle. Some major benefits of using SPA are:

  • Faster loading times – Since the applications need to send and receive only data from the server, there is zero load time involved.
  • Enhanced user experience – Naturally, since there are no waiting times involved, the user experience is enhanced significantly.
  • Supports new and better features – Single Page Applications make it easier to incorporate new, advanced, and rich features into the website.

Headless Architecture

Headless Architecture, in a nutshell, is a client-side application that isn’t connected with the server-side. To put it more simply, the head (front end of the application) is detached from the body(back end of the application). This separation allows developers to create dynamic applications that can be used easily across various devices. For example, applications developed using headless architecture can perform the same way on a mobile and a desktop without the need for the developers to make any changes to the back-end.

Headless architecture is increasingly being used for custom applications because of the benefits it offers. Some of them are:

  • Need for a single code – The same code can work across multiple channels or platforms easily. This helps save the developer’s time, resources, and efforts.
  • Code reusability – The same code can be reused on different platforms.
  • Enhanced user experience – Since headless architecture supports dynamic content, it allows the creation of websites that can enrich the user experience.
  • Scalability: Developers can easily scale the website without affecting the performance with headless architecture as the front-end and back-end are separated from each other.

Component-based Approach

The component-based approach focuses on the development of reusable components. These components can be reused across various pages as they can communicate with each other through the interface between them. Moreover, printing developers can modify, test, or upgrade the components without affecting them.

The component-based approach makes the process of building custom applications more efficient and effective. The advantages of the component-based approach are as follows:

  • Reusability – The components can be reused easily, and there is no need to keep developing new components from scratch.
  • Reduced maintenance costs – The maintenance cost of code upgrade is reduced significantly with this approach as the code is stored at a centralized location, with everyone having access to it.
  • Effective and efficient – Developers need to define the behavior of the components only once, which makes the application more effective and efficient.

Conclusion

One thing we can infer from the trends that we have seen is that front-end developers are looking to simplify the development process. For example, Svelte is a relatively new tool, but it is competing and performing well against established frameworks like React, as it simplifies the development process.

We have just stepped into 2022. We have almost the entire year left to see how these trends progress and whether new trends emerge, replacing some of the ones mentioned here.

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