This is not a front-end development tutorial and you will not learn any new coding techniques by reading this.
It is just a simple reminder why we should embrace the current state of front-end development instead of complaining about its complexity.
TL;DR Be happy for what you’ve got, you could be also out of a job like the millions of Flash developers around the globe.
15 years ago I was an aspiring designer or developer.
I had no idea what I want to do, I just knew that I like to create things for the world wide web.
After a year of working on a few freelance jobs I slowly realised that coding is my thing.
I was excited about being able to turn designs into a working website and make it work in every browser.
By implementing a few Content Management Systems, I have learned how to give the clients the power to change the content on their own.
It enabled me to add some interactivity to my projects and I felt like I can do anything on the web.
I loved that time and was keen to learn more.
Here is a short break down of the good and bad from the past.
- things used to be much more simpler
- I didn’t have to make many decisions
- the user expectations was quite low
- reloading a page on click was completely acceptable
- website interactivity was pretty limited
- and animations (non Flash) on the web were pretty much impossible to create
These were the good old times but we were still frustrated because of many things.
- CSS layouts with float and clearfix felt like a hack
- rounded corners needed crazy overbloated HTML markup
- SVGs or transparent images were not supported everywhere
- dealing with evil browser workarounds (looking at you IE6) was on my daily routine
- DOM manipulation was very heavy for the browsers
- and complex interactivity would freeze or crash some browsers
The simplicity was great but a poor browser implementation and inconsistencies made it challenging, yet rewarding job.
I was very excited to see how the new technologies move the web forward.
I was dreaming about all the bad things to be implemented properly.
I was dreaming about fast, responsive UI with a lot of data being handled by the browsers without crashing all the time.
And now? Now we have it. We have it all and much more.
Actually we have so many options today on how to create something awesome that a lot of developers constantly complain about it!
The tools, libraries and frameworks available now allow us to:
- create CSS layouts without any hacks
- use rounded corners, transparency and SVGs
- choose from thousands of free web fonts
- build complex interactivity without any issues
- create animations running buttery smooth at 60fps
- build data heavy web apps working in all modern browsers
- request loads of data from external APIs and getting it almost instantly
Today we can build all this and we should embrace how far the web has moved in the recent years.
The web will get better if there is more excited front-end developers out there.
To help you get over the complexity try some of the following:
- remove all distractions and learn from a simple demos
- learn one thing at a time (yes, it is still possible)
- embrace the change and learn something new everyday
- only learn what you need and nothing you don’t
- share this reminder with a grumpy developer (he will be better for it)
The more excited we as a front-end developers are about learning new things, the more and quicker we learn and the better apps we create.
In other words be happy for what you’ve got, you could be also out of a job like the millions of Flash developers around the globe.
I can’t wait to build more responsive and faster UI with the latest CSS specifications, instead of spending time coding workarounds for old browser imperfections.
I am excited to learn the new library or framework, because what it enables me to create is something that I was only dreaming about 10 or 15 years ago.
And what about you? How do you feel about the hundreds of blog posts being published on the topic of depressed tired and grumpy developers?
Or are you in the happy camp, keen to learn new things?
Let me know in the comments below.
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