Author: Jason Mallott, Front-End Developer
Lately, I’ve noticed a glaring need for standardization in the world of front-end development. With the changes in technology and the overwhelming number of frameworks and libraries out there, front-end development has become quite chaotic.
Long gone are the days when we could grab a PSD, a simple IDE and a browser, and build cutting-edge websites. It seems that even single-page websites can have so much technology and complexity that it can take weeks to develop. Sadly, though, we often are not given the time needed to build such complex sites.
To save time, effort and what little hair we have left, enter the plugins, frameworks and libraries. Libraries such as JQuery, frameworks such as Bootstrap and plugins such as Slick Slider have become essential tools to front-end development.
Going out and finding a plugin slider that is responsive, dynamic and allows for custom styling saves a ton of time in the development process, but which do you choose? There are hundreds, if not thousands, of sliders out on the Web today. The same can be said about frameworks and libraries. And no two plugins are the same.
With all these choices available, you really have to be familiar with what you are working with. Will the framework you are using work in the environment you are developing in? Will the plugin you pick work in Internet Explorer 9, and is it still being maintained? Is there enough documentation out there to troubleshoot/implement fixes? But the most important question is this: Will the other developers on your team be able to look at your code and decipher it quickly and efficiently to continue development when updates are needed?
Standardization can alleviate a good chunk of these problems. By having your development team working with the same preprocessor, in the same environment, using the same frameworks, you can build a development team that allows for interchangeable developers on projects. Far too often it takes hours to get a running local environment up to change an image that should take 10 minutes to swap out.
Most times, the project itself dictates the environment, but in most cases we as developers can decide on the frameworks, libraries and plugins we will use. This is where we can start standardizing to minimize the time it takes to get new hires and fellow developers up to speed on a project. When left to our own devices, we will always use what is familiar. Don’t go out and pick some random framework because it is new or flashy. Decide as a team to investigate and use new technologies, so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to developing a project.
Standardization will allow for more consistent results, better code and more comprehensive training for new hires. Not to mention a more united front-end development team.