Is Frontend the new Backend?
see The Story of Mel in which Real Programmers only deal with machine code and FORTRAN is for wimps.)
Frontend development was much simpler in web development’s infancy. Web pages were mostly static, coded with HTML and little else, and all the hard work of managing data sets, that required smart architecture and fancy algorithms, was done in the backend, on the server’s side.
Consequently, backend developers needed to have a vast array of technical skills including the knowledge of at least one backend programming language, database management and hosting environments. In contrast, frontend development consisted of writing and saving code as a file
and testing to see how it behaved in a browser.
much harder to write invalid code. Basically if it compiles, it works.
Nowadays frontend developers have to know a lot of stuff besides the usual
With so many new frontend solutions focused on lowering the number of requests backend receives, transferring the workload to the browser, the job of frontend developers is only getting harder. They need to know a lot of things that were previously reserved for backend while the
same can’t be said in reverse. Furthermore standards change; new frameworks and libraries are coming out every day. Only a
decade ago you could have stayed on top of all these emerging tools in frontend development, but today it’s practically impossible and developers tend to specialize, especially when it comes to SPA frameworks.
For many developers the problem is not how to code something but which tools to use, and it’s impossible to reach expert level in every new technology.
Testing has become a major task for every serious frontend developer. Catching and fixing the errors before the code goes to production is sometimes a bigger job than writing the software. There are also a substantial number of edge cases to keep track of, and bugs that only appear
for certain combinations of OS/Browser/Device.
With so much stuff to keep track of, is it any wonder many frontend developers are reaching burnout?
“When your field is changing so quickly that best practices are obsolete within two years, you have to run just to keep up.”
Is the backend still more complex than the frontend? It depends on how you define complexity. But it’s not changing as fast as the frontend. The market shift contributed, more people have access to the Internet than ever before, businesses require online presence in order to function; all of this is driving the need for more sophisticated GUI solutions. And frontend developers have to learn a new framework every time they change jobs.