The constant pressure for trends adoption is present pretty much all over IT. Even when things are going well, the mere necessity of keeping up can cause companies a great deal of stress. The same is true for the latest trends in front-end development as well.
Yet, what most don’t understand is that IT trends are usually not a fleeting phenomenon. They can take years to develop, and then when enough people have adopted them and realized they are the real deal, they are officially called “trends” and get widespread recognition.
We’re here to present you with a few modern front-end practices that you will find useful if you have chosen to stay up-to-date with the latest industry standards to remain relevant and on top of your competition.
If you are part of a front-end development agency, chances are you are already familiar with some of these. We, however, dedicate our article to our lovely readers across different industries wanting to find new directions for your digital products and services.
For more trends and insights, for example, on ways in which AI is impacting front-end development, head over to the rest of our Merge blog. We have accumulated lots of helpful information and advice for all things design, development, and other IT topics.
Modern front-end development frameworks
Perfect for single-page applications, this framework became popular because a) the websites made with it come pre-rendered and it reduces the load time, b) it uses Content Delivery Network to improve performance, and c) Jamstack websites can be hosted wherever you want.
React is not the newest kid on the block. Far from it. Yet it is still one of the go-to frameworks for front-end development and is seemingly not going anywhere anytime soon.
Created by one of the most famous companies in the world, Facebook (or Meta), React is a prime example of component-based styles, with component-driven development being one of the best front-end practices today, delivering on reusability and scalability.
React’s other benefits include using a virtual Document Object Model for faster rendering and great cross-platform support.
Angular is another creation of big and famous companies, this time - Google. It started back in 2016, and being still very fresh, Angular had promising features and a few performance issues that have since been resolved.
Similarly to React, it supports the development of simplistic one-page applications using a component-based architecture and a tree-view document structure.
What is also great about using Angular is that it helps create more lightweight applications without cutting down on quality. Plus, it compresses bundles for optimization and faster loading.
The youngest out of three and one of the simplest you can use, Vue.js inherited all the best characteristics of React and primarily Angular. It is highly adaptable, doesn’t have a steep learning curve, and offers numerous customization options.
For single-page applications, Vue has a feature called dual integration mode, with is usually referred to as two-way binding.
This feature allows developers to connect application components in a way that lets them instantly share data and simultaneously update said elements.
Progressive web applications
PWAs have frequently been popping up on the latest trends lists for quite some time now. A progressive web app is an application that uses features like service workers, APIs, and conventional progressive enhancement techniques to make its experience and performance match the native application.
The native-like user interface of PWSs gives numerous businesses without native smartphone apps the ability to satisfy customers that have either poor network connectivity or other compatibility issues related to portable devices.
Progressive web apps are an opportunity to create modern, secure, and functional applications that are not dependent on continuous Internet or mobile network connection.
Static web pages
It’s true that fashion circulates every couple of decades. Static web pages are what web development was starting from, and now it has come back as one of the trends because both developers and stakeholders realized their benefits.
In general, static websites don’t require a database to store their data, which makes them faster, noticeably cheaper, and more secure than dynamic ones. Static web pages are also much quicker to create. You don’t even need a backend developer for that.
This trend has also appeared partially thanks to the increasing popularity of static site generators. They feature no frameworks, plugins, or libraries and don’t require server-side processing, making the performance impressively fast.
Micro front-end architecture
When choosing a backend architecture for your next application, there are two most common options today - monolithic and microservices. For the front-end, microservices have turned into micro front-end architecture. And as you might’ve guessed, they are currently the trend.
One reason is scalability. Microservices came about as a result of dividing monolithic frameworks into smaller and more manageable parts that are quite independent. Micro front-end architecture does the same with the front-end.
Consequently, this approach became popular with cross-functional teams working on the same project, allowing them to effectively collaborate on their separate project components, each using their own parts of a single codebase.
Animations to capture users’ attention
Motion animations are great at conveying the story behind each interaction a user makes, making them smooth and effective at capturing the attention straight away. Adding such animations can make your web solutions much more memorable.
The only tricky part is to not overdo them because too much motion on the page will for sure distract visitors from what you have to offer.
Single-page sites and apps
Another trend that takes us back to the website’s roots and the beauty of minimalism is single-page sites and applications. They’re not only cheaper to develop but also quite fast because they don’t need to transition between different pages using a complete page reload.
For users, single-page applications and websites are also noticeably easier to use since people can find and load anything they want much quicker. Navigation is less complicated, and users have less scattered content to go through - everything is on the same page.
And last but not least, single-pagers are also much more mobile-friendly than traditional websites.
CMS options are expanding
A Content Management System is the type of software that lets developers create and manage website content without code. It used to only be a traditional CMS, where those responsible for content would create, publish, and change it using a front-end editor tightly connected to the back-end, resulting in limited control over the content.
With CMS options expanding, we now have a headless Content Management System that has managed to separate its front-end and back-end portions. The headless architecture is basically just business logic + APIs that developers can use for any front-end channel.
The channel can be anything with a screen, so overall, headless CMS offers high flexibility by providing a single backend for any of your needs.
And the last trend on our list shouldn’t be a trend at all but an essential requirement for developing any web application or solution. Accessibility is making sure people with all kinds of special needs or impairments can use websites and applications pretty much the same way everyone else can.
However, only a small percentage of websites actually accommodate various types of disabilities. But things have begun to change, and now including accessibility features or simply adjusting UI elements for the comfort use of as many people as possible is the new norm.
Accessibility is now supported by law - the EU Web Accessibility Directive and the European Accessibility Act for companies over at the European continent, and for the USA counterparts, it is Section 508 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The future of front-end development
One way or another, all the trends emerging today and all those that will appear in the future will be focused on either achieving maximum efficiency, enhancing user experience, adding more accessibility and scalability, or all these things at the same time.
Some other trends we’d like to mention today are the increased usage of chatbots and other applications of AI in frontend, the growing popularity of GraphQL as a better way to retrieve data in a single API query call, and other modern tendencies like simplicity or cloud computing.
Speaking of simplicity, more and more tools, technologies, and methodologies of today revolve around making the development of websites and applications simpler, more accessible, and much quicker, with loads of different frameworks catering to every front-end need.
Overall, the future of front-end development looks particularly promising and will surely evolve rapidly, just like any industry today.