What is frontend development? Learn the basics

Miquido | 8 Feb | 6 min read

To put it simply, frontend can be understood as client-side development, and it refers to the part of the application that is visible to users, i.e what they can actually see and interact with.

The role of a frontend developer isn’t limited only to implementing visual components, but also includes designing and taking care of interactive features such as navigation, buttons and anything else that affects the usability of the application. As such, the main goal for frontend development is to ensure the best possible user experience (UX), by creating a functional user interface (UI) and navigation over the web app.

What is the difference between frontend and backend development? 

Backend development is often called the server-side of web application development and unlike frontend, backend is the part that the user doesn’t see. At the same time, it is indispensable for the app to work properly, as it is responsible for its business logic – it organises data, processes information and integrates with external services. Backend developers enable the application to communicate with databases and servers, as well as ensure security and the overall smooth performance of an application. 

Web and mobile frontend development 

You may have heard about languages such as JavaScript or Python, but frameworks tend to be a lesser-known topic, at least among those who are less tech-savvy. So what exactly is the difference between a programming language and a framework? 

Programming languages and frameworks: an overview

Developers can choose a programming language or develop with multiple languages that suit the particular project best. Over the years, programmers created numerous frameworks, which are sort of tools that consist of various elements that can be used by others during application development. 

The number of frameworks is vast, and they all differ in one way or another – some provide programmers with enough features to create a simple web application, while others can be considered good tools only for building some types of apps. The choice is usually up to the developers that will build an app for you, but the decision should be based on business your needs and expectations in order to choose the best technology for your project.

Programming languages used for frontend development

The three main frontend languages are: 

  • HTML – this is a markup language which enables developers to create elements of the user interface on the screen.
  • CSS – this is needed to define the style of an application. It describes fonts style, spaces between paragraphs, colours, etc. 
  • JavaScript – a programming language that can also be used to visualise things on the screen, but it is mainly responsible for a more important task: JavaScript’s code enables applications to send and receive data from the backend.

JavaScript is often perceived as the frontend language. Why is that? Well, the short answer is because thanks to JS, you can access additional functionality that goes beyond CSS and HTML. As a result, frontend languages allow us to create the visual side of your application, which is indispensable for users. JavaScript is widely used, and it supports the interactivity of the elements of web and mobile apps.

Frontend solutions for applications – the pros of using popular frameworks 

There are multiple benefits of using the most popular frontend frameworks for mobile or web application development, so let’s go through them one by one:

React JS 

You can bet on React when you’re building complex, dynamic applications. React ensures the app’s seamless performance and it can be easily used for both mobile and web application development. You can also feel safe when developing an app in React JS, as it has support of a vast community.

Angular 

This is one of the best choices if you’re planning to develop an app that’s small or medium in complexity. Angular offers high performance, component-based architecture suggesting a higher quality of code, as well as better tooling and higher scalability among other benefits. Yet, at the same time, it is also quite verbose and complex, requiring a steep learning curve. 

Vue 

Vue is one of the fastest of all available frontend frameworks, so it easily delivers precise UX in user interfaces and single-page applications. The goal of Vue’s creator was to combine the advantages of React and Angular, so this framework can be considered – in some way – to be “the best of both worlds”.

How to choose the right frontend technology

There’s an endless amount of articles about frontend development that can aid you in picking the right technology, but in the end, it all comes down to the specifics of your project and the goals you’re trying to achieve. 

If you’re having trouble deciding on the best tech stack for building your application – contact us! Our experienced team will advise you on the best frontend solution for your particular business needs. Browse through our portfolio, rich in successfully delivered frontend projects, such as HelloFresh, Herbalife, Picniic and many more.