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So, What is a front-end developer

Micha Goldfine - Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What is a front-end developer sketchFor many in the web industry the title”Front-End Developer” is well known but for many recruiters, agencies, HR professionals and general public the title is unknown or they simply do no understand what it means.

In short, a front-end developer is a person who is responsible for the visual elements on a website such as layouts, elements, content, effects, photo libraries etc.

A front-end developer codes in HTML and CSS mostly and can add javascript elements such as tabs, accordions and slideshows. Some front-end developers also have programming knowledge such as PHP and ASP.NET.

In today’s rapidly growing web tools and devices a good front-end developer is necessary to ensure cross browser and fast rendering capabilities and search engine optimization.

ALL SPEED AHEAD (TO THE FRONT)

A front-end developer is quite a new title or profession altogether. I am not sure when exactly front-end developers where needed but if during 2006 I was recruited as a web designer to do a lot of front-end coding I guess it’s about 2006-07 when companies started to understand that they need professional front-end developers to build what there web designers have created or envisage.

In many ways front-end developers where needed once more browsers and devices where introduced to the market and CSS had become a necessary and crucial coding method.

XHTML AND CSS2

The introduction of new standard compliant browsers such as IE7, IE8, Firefox, Safari and Chrome created a need for web designers to code the front-end HTML in a more unified way. New DTD (Document Type Definition) where needed to make sure browsers will render pages in a more or less unified way across all standard compliant browsers. Doc-types such as “Transitional” and “Strict” meant that the HTML and CSS code will render web pages properly as long as web designers and front-end developers used proper syntax.

The use of xHTML (HyperText Markup Language) was introduced back in the late 90′s by the W3C. The usage of xHTML and CSS2 became common during the early and mid 2000.

XHTML and CSS2 became the main tool kit for web designers and the more websites have become complex not only in there layout and features but also in the way they would render across multiple browsers, devices and operating systems the more web designers have become developers or front-end developers.

WEB DESIGNERS AND FRONT-END DEVELOPERS

Because websites needed a more strict HTML code and the use of tables for layout had become redundant, many web designers including me started delving into the world of coding mostly HTML and CSS. Advanced designers also started using javascript libraries such as jQuery to add effects, slideshows and other interactive elements to web pages.

APPLE AND HTML5

HTML5 should have been introduced somewhere around 2020 as a new standard markup language. Apple was very keen to push for this new standard and decided to support HTML5 completely in there new devices and browser. I won’t get into the cons and pros of this decision but one thing is for sure, HTML5 is here and is becoming more popular by the day.

Now that we have HTML5 on the plate, together with backward compatibility issues and javascript libraries the need for a solely front-end developer is a most. Some web designers and back-end developers can do the job of a front-end developer but most will find that this role is becoming more and more complex and time consuming. For many in the web industry the title”Front-End Developer” is well known but for many recruiters, agencies, HR professionals and general public the title is unknown or they simply do no understand what it means.

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