There are a lot of different tools and technologies related to frontend development on the market.
When we try to pick some new tools for our new project or when we start to learn frontend, obviously we want to use the newest and the most powerful frontend technologies to create stunning and super-fast user interfaces.
What are frontend and backend technologies?
To begin with — remember that there is a strict division between frontend and backend. Backend technologies are related to the server side of the applications. In turn, frontend relates to the browser and user interfaces/interactions. Let’s dig into the technologies used on the frontend side.
Top frontend technologies
Firstly, let’s ask what exactly “top” means? For some of us it means “the newest.”
Can’t argue with that but, at the same time, you have to keep in mind that it can also refer to the popularity of a particular technology. Considering that, we should also count CSS and HTML as top technologies, right? The point is that they are not that young and new anymore but still — super important, and you need to use them on a daily basis.
In this blog post, I have prepared a combination of popular, new, and “fundamental” technologies so that you can build an image of the situation in the market.
1. HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
Let’s start with the fundamentals. HTML is the core of frontend development and this situation is not going to change anytime soon. Thanks to this technology, you are able to create the “skeleton” or — using other words — the “markup” for your website. HTML elements provide you with options to add buttons, forms, containers, and much more.
2. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
Another “core” frontend technology. CSS helps you to create some additional styling rules to the previously created HTML structure. Besides that, proper CSS rules make your web application responsive (so it looks good on every screen size and device) and more interactive with some eye-catching animations.
It was created by Facebook. Initially, it was supposed to be their internal tool helping the frontend developers to build fast and easily-scalable interfaces, but the company decided to publish it as an open-source project. At the moment, React is one of the most popular JS tools with a huge community of programmers.
Some developers say that it’s a bit harder to learn Angular than React but it’s definitely worth it as there is a high demand on the market for experts in this technology:
Angular developer demand shows predicted growth of approximately 31% between 2016 and 2026.
It competes with Angular and React to rule the market. As proof of Vue’s popularity, it’s worth mentioning that it has millions of weekly downloads on npm:Source: npm
Next is a tool that helps you build super-fast websites with the help of React. It allows you to use static site generation and server-side rendering so you are able to pick the correct approach depending on your needs. Performance of web pages based on the Next framework is outstanding due to multiple optimization techniques it uses, like pre-rendering. Additionally, it’s also SEO-friendly which is a big advantage these days.
It allows you to write regular JS with some additional syntax for type definitions. This technology is becoming a standard in modern frontend development due to the fact that it allows developers to save some time that they waste when debugging type-based issues, and it makes the final software more stable. TypeScript throws an error anytime we make a mistake related to variable types so we can make proper adjustments before we receive bug reports from customers.
It is a framework that combines the best parts from React, GraphQL, and webpack together. Thanks to Gatsby, you are able to build fast and responsive user interfaces with a really pleasant “developer experience.” Additionally, it provides some out-of-the-box features like image optimization and code-splitting. Gatsby’s data layer is based on GraphQL.
10. React Native
React Native is a React-based framework that allows you to create mobile applications for iOS and Android. Thanks to React Native, developers are now able to create mobile applications that look and feel “native.”
Flutter is an open-source framework created by Google. Thanks to it, you are able to create native mobile applications for both Android and iOS with one codebase and one programming language.
Monorepo is an architectural concept base on which you create a single repository that stores the code for multiple projects. It creates a single source of truth and makes it easier to share components and assets between the projects.
13. Micro Frontends
Micro frontends is an architectural concept that implements the idea of microservices into the frontend world. With this approach, you are able to divide the application based on its features and each of them can be managed by a completely different team on a different code repository.
Three.js is a JS library used to create 3D web graphics and animations. It’s getting more and more popular every year. At the moment of writing this, it has gathered almost 80,000 stars on GitHub.
Tailwind is a CSS framework that allows you to create styles directly in your HTML markup by adding proper classes to particular elements. This approach makes it super easy and fast to create styles and change them whenever it’s needed.
Remix is a React framework that allows you to use server-side rendering. It fetches data on the backend and serves the HTML directly to the user. Besides that, it comes with some additional built-in features like nested pages, error boundaries, and loading state handlers.
17. Headless CMS
CMS (content management system) solutions are getting more and more popular nowadays. They're basically content repositories that are accessible with RESTful APIs or GraphQL queries. Useful, especially for static sites and blogs. There are many headless CMS solutions on the market. Some of them are GraphCMS, Contentful, Contentstack, and Prepr.
GraphQL is a query language for APIs. It gives you exactly what you need from the server without any unnecessary data. Thanks to its performance and amazing developer tools that come with it, GraphQL became a trending technology in the modern web development world.
20. Design system
Design system is a set of standards created to manage design with predefined and reusable components. For example — let’s imagine that you decided to use Material-UI (MUI) as a design system for your product — if you need to implement a new component, there is a high chance that you will find it in the MUI documentation.
Some of the popular design system examples are Chakra.UI, Ant Design, and MUI.
Factors to consider when choosing the right frontend technology for your application
There is no easy answer when it comes to choosing the right frontend technology. There are, however, some things that you can think about before making the final decision. The list below shows some of the factors that you can consider to clarify some doubts:
- The size of the project.
- The team’s experience in particular technologies.
- Popularity of the tool/framework (with great popularity usually comes great community, which might be helpful).
- Does the design consist of multiple pages with similar components? Maybe it’s worth using the design system?
- Are there a lot of elements with dynamic values like in some kind of dashboard? React (or another JS framework) might be useful.
- Does the project need SSG or SSR? Next.js supports both.
- How many teams are/will be working on the project? Micro frontends can solve some of the issues in big teams.
- Does the particular technology provide what your project needs?
There is always that little desire in our heads to use the newest and trending technologies. The truth is that in most cases, they become trending for a reason and bring some new/more efficient problem-solving solutions to the table. At the same time — you need to remember that it’s not always the best solution to implement whatever is the most popular at the moment.
Observe the market, experiment, and try new things but remember that you always have to make a decision based on the needs and problems that you have to solve in your project. Think about the requirements and then analyze available technologies and how they can help you.