5 questions about front-end development answered

by Gosse — 3 minutes

Front-enders are like designers. We already have full-stack developers, we don’t need front-end developers. Front-end developers always use the latest tech stack, we don’t need that in our organisation. These are just a few claims we hear often, but which we don’t necessarily agree with. Front-end development is a specialty about which there is a lot of confusion. That’s why in this blog I ask Randy some questions about front-end development. Here we go.

‘Do front-end developers do back-end as well?’

‘Knowledge of back-end development is definitely needed to be a good front-end developer. Understanding back-end code is necessary in order to be able to work together with back-end developers well. That will result in a better product. You can help each other with code reviews and establish a common understanding. You’ll be able to better communicate what you need from each other.’

‘What’s the difference between front-end and full-stack?’

Full-stack developers do both front-end and back-end. Ten years ago, front-enddevelopment was just a part that full-stack developers also did, because complexity of applications was low. Nowadays, end users demand more from a software’s front-end. Front-end now really is a specialty. A full-stack developer won’t be able to master this 100 percent. Full-stack developers can be handy on a team when there is little complexity within the feature that’s being built. But it’s definitely good to show an interest in both back-end and front-end.’

‘Do front-end developers do UI/UX?’

‘Front-enders can definitely specialise within the world of front-end development. Besides development, many front-end developers have a passion for UX. On the other hand, there are many front-end developers who focus on the technical side and what happens under the hood of JavaScript frameworks. But you always have to deal with UX. After all, you’re building a user interface. Due to the complexity of modern apps, there is a lot of code between back-end and front-end, which is why you can really focus on the technical part. But in a professional setting, there are often designers around, who decide what an app should look like. In that case, front-end developers cover the implementation part. Your knowledge of front-end development can build on that of a designer. The combination with UX and back-end professionals make it a great combination.’

‘Should front-end developers always work with the latest technologies?’

‘It depends. There is not necessarily a ‘best’ tech stack. It depends on what you’re trying to build, so there’s no way of saying ‘this is the best tech stack’. The challenge is to get a good view of what’s out there and choose the right solution. But it’s important to choose something that’s been proven in the field, provides enough documentation and can be used by most developers within the organisation.’

‘What characteristics should a good front-end developer have?’

‘A combination of soft skills and technical skills. Front-end developers build bridges between technical issues and the end user. They help the business interpret the end user and translate those needs to software. It helps to be analytical, to be able to solve complex problems and be proficient in design. Of course, keeping your knowledge up to date is essential. Solutions change fast and often, so it’s important to stay up to date.’