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Why You Need a Front End Developer

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Especially in small companies, you're often expected to be the end-to-end developer and handle everything from the database to the user interface. This was easy enough in the old days when the UI was little more than a table-based-layout with some sliced graphics. But now with the latest technologies, the front end is becoming just as complex as the back end. In order to get the job done you need to rely more and more upon an ever growing, endless mountain of JavaScript libraries, plugins and boilerplates. Or maybe... you just need a front end developer.

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Why You Need a Front End Developer

  1. 1. WHY YOU NEED A FRONT END DEVELOPERMike Wilcox - May 2011Tweets: @clubajaxBlogs: clubajax.org
  2. 2. Mike W ilcox
  3. 3. Mike W ilcox
  4. 4. Mike W ilcox AJAX CSS3 AIR AS3 HTML5 PHP MySQL DojoFlash Video
  5. 5. Mike W ilcox Co m mitter! AJAX CSS3 AIR AS3 HTML5 PHP MySQL DojoFlash Video
  6. 6. Mike W ilcox Co m mitter! AJAX CSS3 AIR AS3 HTML5 PHP MySQL DojoFlash Video Works there as Director of Technology.
  7. 7. Mike W ilcox Co m mitter! Natch! AJAX CSS3 AIR AS3 HTML5 PHP MySQL DojoFlash Video Works there as Director of Technology.
  8. 8. What is a Front End Developer?
  9. 9. What is a Front End Developer? FED
  10. 10. What is a Front End Developer? Markup Developer Client-Side Developer FED Frontender Web Designer Coder Htmler
  11. 11. What is a Front End Developer? Markup Developer Client-Side Developer FED Frontender Web Designer Coder Htmler A Relatively new term:
  12. 12. Front End Duties
  13. 13. Front End DutiesBrowser Compatibility Heuristics Programming DesignData Hierarchy Emerging TechnologiesMashups Accessibility APIs VSEO Proof Reader UI Design Copy WriterGraphical Design MultimediaSOA SEO Usability Performance Mobile Compatibility Web Standards Web 2.0 UX ProgrammingOptimization
  14. 14. Back End Duties
  15. 15. Back End Duties Optimizatio Backups Web Services n Replication DNS Load Balancing DB Design Business IndexinUnit g Testing Security Logic Version Control Data Transfers Automate Tasks QA Process Files Server Admin
  16. 16. End to End Developer Duties
  17. 17. End to End Developer Duties Optimizatio Backups Web Services n Replication DNS Load Balancing DB Design Business IndexinUnit g Testing Security Logic Version Control Data Transfers Automate Tasks QA Process Files Server Admin
  18. 18. End to End Developer Duties Optimizatio BackupsBrowser Compatibility WebData Hierarchy Services n Replication Heuristics Programming Design DNS Load Balancing Emerging TechnologiesMashups DB Design Accessibility IndexinUnit Testing UIBusiness Proof Reader Design APIs VSEO g Copy WriterGraphical Design Multimedia Security Logic Version Control Usability Performance SEO SOA Automate Tasks UX Data Transfers Mobile Compatibility QA Process Files Web Standards Web 2.0 Server Admin Programming Optimization
  19. 19. Discrete Developer Tasks
  20. 20. Discrete Developer TasksUI Design Front End Developer Information architecture Implementation of wireframes Mock-ups/Wireframes Technical style guide (ex: CSS) Creative style guides Communication to middle tier User sign-off Fill technical gaps found during Logos/Icons implementation with users Image licensing Middle Tier Developer Back End Developer Translation of front end to DB Translation of middle tier objects to structures DB objects (think View like business Workflow objects vs raw tables) User level object security CRUD operations against the DB Business logic validation Implementation of data integrity business rules Passing data to the back end tier DB minded security (SQL Injection “Front end” automation tasks attacks, etc)
  21. 21. The Problem
  22. 22. The Problem It’s human nature to get something “good enough to work”
  23. 23. The Problem It’s human nature to get something “good enough to work” Server guy should be hired first after the founders.
  24. 24. The Problem It’s human nature to get something “good enough to work” Server guy should be hired first after the founders. Then get a FED - not a second server guy.
  25. 25. The Problem It’s human nature to get something “good enough to work” Server guy should be hired first after the founders. Then get a FED - not a second server guy. Navy Seals / Cavalry
  26. 26. The Problem It’s human nature to get something “good enough to work” Server guy should be hired first after the founders. Then get a FED - not a second server guy. Navy Seals / Cavalry JavaScript is not easy
  27. 27. The Problem It’s human nature to get something “good enough to work” Server guy should be hired first after the founders. Then get a FED - not a second server guy. Navy Seals / Cavalry JavaScript is not easy CSS is not easy
  28. 28. The Problem It’s human nature to get something “good enough to work” Server guy should be hired first after the founders. Then get a FED - not a second server guy. Navy Seals / Cavalry JavaScript is not easy CSS is not easy HTML is not easy
  29. 29. The Problem It’s human nature to get something “good enough to work” Server guy should be hired first after the founders. Then get a FED - not a second server guy. Navy Seals / Cavalry JavaScript is not easy CSS is not easy HTML is not easy Okay, HTML is pretty easy, but there are some tricky things to know.
  30. 30. Success Story
  31. 31. THE ENVIRONMENT
  32. 32. Browsers
  33. 33. Browsers The world’s most hostile development environment
  34. 34. Browsers The world’s most hostile development environmenthttp://gs.statcounter.com/#browser_version-US-monthly-201005-201105
  35. 35. Browsers The world’s most hostile development environmenthttp://gs.statcounter.com/#browser_version-US-monthly-201005-201105 R.I.P IE6.0!!
  36. 36. Mobile
  37. 37. Mobile
  38. 38. Mobile The Easy Part:
  39. 39. Mobile The Easy Part: Its all about WebKit!
  40. 40. Mobile The Easy Part: Its all about WebKit! And Windows CE
  41. 41. Mobile The Easy Part: Its all about WebKit! And Windows CE - ha ha! Just kidding!
  42. 42. Mobile The Easy Part: Its all about WebKit! And Windows CE - ha ha! Just kidding! The Hard Part:
  43. 43. Mobile The Easy Part: Its all about WebKit! And Windows CE - ha ha! Just kidding! The Hard Part: Multi Touch Input
  44. 44. Mobile The Easy Part: Its all about WebKit! And Windows CE - ha ha! Just kidding! The Hard Part: Multi Touch Input Changes the rules for:
  45. 45. Mobile The Easy Part: Its all about WebKit! And Windows CE - ha ha! Just kidding! The Hard Part: Multi Touch Input Changes the rules for: Layout
  46. 46. Mobile The Easy Part: Its all about WebKit! And Windows CE - ha ha! Just kidding! The Hard Part: Multi Touch Input Changes the rules for: Layout Caching
  47. 47. Mobile The Easy Part: Its all about WebKit! And Windows CE - ha ha! Just kidding! The Hard Part: Multi Touch Input Changes the rules for: Layout Caching Bandwidth
  48. 48. Mobile The Easy Part: Its all about WebKit! And Windows CE - ha ha! Just kidding! The Hard Part: Multi Touch Input Changes the rules for: Layout Caching Bandwidth CPU
  49. 49. Mobile The Easy Part: Its all about WebKit! And Windows CE - ha ha! Just kidding! The Hard Part: Multi Touch Input Changes the rules for: Layout Caching Bandwidth CPU Memory
  50. 50. Flash
  51. 51. Flash
  52. 52. Flash or Flex?
  53. 53. Flash or Flex? HTML5?
  54. 54. Flash or Flex? HTML5? JavaFX?
  55. 55. Flash or Flex? HTML5? JavaFX?Silverlight?
  56. 56. Flash or Flex? HTML5? JavaFX?Silverlight? HA HA !
  57. 57. Flash or Flex? HTML5? JavaFX?Silverlight? HA HA ! Obviously JavaFX and Silverlight dictate their own uses.
  58. 58. Flash or Flex? HTML5? JavaFX?Silverlight? HA HA ! Obviously JavaFX and Silverlight dictate their own uses. Is Flash one size fits all? Is HTML5?
  59. 59. Flash or Flex? HTML5? JavaFX?Silverlight? HA HA ! Obviously JavaFX and Silverlight dictate their own uses. Is Flash one size fits all? Is HTML5? Flash != Flex and does not assume AS3 prowess
  60. 60. Flash or Flex? HTML5? JavaFX?Silverlight? HA HA ! Obviously JavaFX and Silverlight dictate their own uses. Is Flash one size fits all? Is HTML5? Flash != Flex and does not assume AS3 prowess HTML5 still lacks drawing tools for Canvas
  61. 61. DISCIPLINES
  62. 62. User Interface
  63. 63. User Interface
  64. 64. User Interface Usability
  65. 65. User Interface Usability Usability Tests have been replaced by repeatable patterns and best practices.
  66. 66. User Interface Usability Usability Tests have been replaced by repeatable patterns and best practices. UX (*not* usability)
  67. 67. User Interface Usability Usability Tests have been replaced by repeatable patterns and best practices. UX (*not* usability) Heuristics
  68. 68. User Interface Usability Usability Tests have been replaced by repeatable patterns and best practices. UX (*not* usability) Heuristics The user should determine the UI, not the data.
  69. 69. User Interface Usability Usability Tests have been replaced by repeatable patterns and best practices. UX (*not* usability) Heuristics The user should determine the UI, not the data. The interface may be difficult to use
  70. 70. User Interface Usability Usability Tests have been replaced by repeatable patterns and best practices. UX (*not* usability) Heuristics The user should determine the UI, not the data. The interface may be difficult to use The UI may be impossible to use
  71. 71. Accessibility
  72. 72. Accessibility
  73. 73. Accessibility HTML takes care of 80% of this automatically
  74. 74. Accessibility HTML takes care of 80% of this automatically WAI-ARIA for Ajax
  75. 75. Accessibility HTML takes care of 80% of this automatically WAI-ARIA for Ajax Web Accessibility Initiative for Accessible Rich Internet Applications http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WAI-ARIA
  76. 76. Accessibility HTML takes care of 80% of this automatically WAI-ARIA for Ajax Web Accessibility Initiative for Accessible Rich Internet Applications http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WAI-ARIA Flash a11y takes extra effort
  77. 77. Accessibility HTML takes care of 80% of this automatically WAI-ARIA for Ajax Web Accessibility Initiative for Accessible Rich Internet Applications http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WAI-ARIA Flash a11y takes extra effort Simple tests: Text Zoom & Contrast
  78. 78. Accessibility HTML takes care of 80% of this automatically WAI-ARIA for Ajax Web Accessibility Initiative for Accessible Rich Internet Applications http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WAI-ARIA Flash a11y takes extra effort Simple tests: Text Zoom & Contrast Better test: an actual screen reader
  79. 79. Front End QA
  80. 80. Front End QA
  81. 81. Front End QA Testing Ajax-heavy front ends is a relatively new task
  82. 82. Front End QA Testing Ajax-heavy front ends is a relatively new task Automation is difficult at best
  83. 83. Front End QA Testing Ajax-heavy front ends is a relatively new task Automation is difficult at best Tests need to happen in all browsers, and all supported versions
  84. 84. Front End QA Testing Ajax-heavy front ends is a relatively new task Automation is difficult at best Tests need to happen in all browsers, and all supported versions Some software solutions include:
  85. 85. Front End QA Testing Ajax-heavy front ends is a relatively new task Automation is difficult at best Tests need to happen in all browsers, and all supported versions Some software solutions include: Selenium
  86. 86. Front End QA Testing Ajax-heavy front ends is a relatively new task Automation is difficult at best Tests need to happen in all browsers, and all supported versions Some software solutions include: Selenium Dojo D.O.H.
  87. 87. Front End QA Testing Ajax-heavy front ends is a relatively new task Automation is difficult at best Tests need to happen in all browsers, and all supported versions Some software solutions include: Selenium Dojo D.O.H. Dojo Robot
  88. 88. Multimedia
  89. 89. Multimedia
  90. 90. Multimedia Video (sometimes just audio)
  91. 91. Multimedia Video (sometimes just audio) Encoding
  92. 92. Multimedia Video (sometimes just audio) Encoding Flash and HTML5 Players
  93. 93. Multimedia Video (sometimes just audio) Encoding Flash and HTML5 Players VSEO
  94. 94. Multimedia Video (sometimes just audio) Encoding Flash and HTML5 Players VSEO Push SEO
  95. 95. Design
  96. 96. Design http://blog.mycolorscreen.com/post/4576460465/why-gorgeous- user-interface-design-is-important
  97. 97. Design A poorly designed site may literally repel viewers http://blog.mycolorscreen.com/post/4576460465/why-gorgeous- user-interface-design-is-important
  98. 98. Design A poorly designed site may literally repel viewers A polished website exudes professionalism http://blog.mycolorscreen.com/post/4576460465/why-gorgeous- user-interface-design-is-important
  99. 99. Design A poorly designed site may literally repel viewers A polished website exudes professionalism Professionalism == $$$ http://blog.mycolorscreen.com/post/4576460465/why-gorgeous- user-interface-design-is-important
  100. 100. Design A poorly designed site may literally repel viewers A polished website exudes professionalism Professionalism == $$$ Mock-ups / Wireframes http://blog.mycolorscreen.com/post/4576460465/why-gorgeous- user-interface-design-is-important
  101. 101. Design A poorly designed site may literally repel viewers A polished website exudes professionalism Professionalism == $$$ Mock-ups / Wireframes Style guides / Pantone colors http://blog.mycolorscreen.com/post/4576460465/why-gorgeous- user-interface-design-is-important
  102. 102. Design A poorly designed site may literally repel viewers A polished website exudes professionalism Professionalism == $$$ Mock-ups / Wireframes Style guides / Pantone colors Image licensing http://blog.mycolorscreen.com/post/4576460465/why-gorgeous- user-interface-design-is-important
  103. 103. Design A poorly designed site may literally repel viewers A polished website exudes professionalism Professionalism == $$$ Mock-ups / Wireframes Style guides / Pantone colors Image licensing UI Design should not be an after-thought http://blog.mycolorscreen.com/post/4576460465/why-gorgeous- user-interface-design-is-important
  104. 104. Design A poorly designed site may literally repel viewers A polished website exudes professionalism Professionalism == $$$ Mock-ups / Wireframes Style guides / Pantone colors Image licensing UI Design should not be an after-thought Users decide UI, not the data! http://blog.mycolorscreen.com/post/4576460465/why-gorgeous- user-interface-design-is-important
  105. 105. Optimization and Performance
  106. 106. Optimization and Performance Small code is good code.
  107. 107. Optimization and Performance Small code is good code. The fewer lines in your source, the fewer bugs you’ll have, plus it will download and execute faster.
  108. 108. Optimization and Performance Small code is good code. The fewer lines in your source, the fewer bugs you’ll have, plus it will download and execute faster. Likewise, fewer files is good.
  109. 109. Optimization and Performance Small code is good code. The fewer lines in your source, the fewer bugs you’ll have, plus it will download and execute faster. Likewise, fewer files is good.
  110. 110. FRONT END DEVELOPMENT + BACK END DEVELOPMENT
  111. 111. Single-page Web Apps
  112. 112. Single-page Web Apps ?? ?? ? ?
  113. 113. Single-page Web Apps Questions Server Devs often ask ?? ?? ? ?
  114. 114. Single-page Web Apps Questions Server Devs often ask What about my sessions? ?? ?? ? ?
  115. 115. Single-page Web Apps Questions Server Devs often ask What about my sessions? What about my MVC? ?? ?? ? ?
  116. 116. Single-page Web Apps Questions Server Devs often ask What about my sessions? What about my MVC? But the business logic needs to be on the back end! ?? ?? ? ?
  117. 117. Single-page Web Apps Questions Server Devs often ask What about my sessions? What about my MVC? But the business logic needs to be on the back end! Can I return a 500 for all server errors? ?? ?? ? ?
  118. 118. Web App Web Services
  119. 119. Web App Web Services Use REST or RPC (no XML!)
  120. 120. Web App Web Services Use REST or RPC (no XML!) Design the app to use an API from the start
  121. 121. Web App Web Services Use REST or RPC (no XML!) Design the app to use an API from the start This allows complete separation of concerns
  122. 122. Web App Web Services Use REST or RPC (no XML!) Design the app to use an API from the start This allows complete separation of concerns Ideally, this API can then be made public with minimal fuss
  123. 123. Web App Web Services Use REST or RPC (no XML!) Design the app to use an API from the start This allows complete separation of concerns Ideally, this API can then be made public with minimal fuss Isn’t this the goal? Usually?
  124. 124. Web App Web Services Use REST or RPC (no XML!) Design the app to use an API from the start This allows complete separation of concerns Ideally, this API can then be made public with minimal fuss Isn’t this the goal? Usually? Hot swappable front ends!
  125. 125. Web App Web Services Use REST or RPC (no XML!) Design the app to use an API from the start This allows complete separation of concerns Ideally, this API can then be made public with minimal fuss Isn’t this the goal? Usually? Hot swappable front ends! HTML, Flash, AIR, Applet, phone/tablet app, API
  126. 126. Web App Web Services Use REST or RPC (no XML!) Design the app to use an API from the start This allows complete separation of concerns Ideally, this API can then be made public with minimal fuss Isn’t this the goal? Usually? Hot swappable front ends! HTML, Flash, AIR, Applet, phone/tablet app, API Templating Engines are Evil
  127. 127. Web App Web Services Use REST or RPC (no XML!) Design the app to use an API from the start This allows complete separation of concerns Ideally, this API can then be made public with minimal fuss Isn’t this the goal? Usually? Hot swappable front ends! HTML, Flash, AIR, Applet, phone/tablet app, API Templating Engines are Evil..."ish"
  128. 128. Webpages
  129. 129. Webpages You can use that templating language now
  130. 130. Webpages You can use that templating language now FED is more important than ever:
  131. 131. Webpages You can use that templating language now FED is more important than ever: SEO
  132. 132. Webpages You can use that templating language now FED is more important than ever: SEO Ads
  133. 133. Webpages You can use that templating language now FED is more important than ever: SEO Ads Load optimization
  134. 134. Webpages You can use that templating language now FED is more important than ever: SEO Ads Load optimization Performance (load and execution)
  135. 135. Webpages You can use that templating language now FED is more important than ever: SEO Ads Load optimization Performance (load and execution) Resources, Resources, Resources
  136. 136. CODE
  137. 137. CSS
  138. 138. CSS Image-less design is the goal
  139. 139. CSS Image-less design is the goal No GIFs, JPGs
  140. 140. CSS Image-less design is the goal No GIFs, JPGs Easy maintenance / changes
  141. 141. CSS Image-less design is the goal No GIFs, JPGs Easy maintenance / changes Easier theming
  142. 142. CSS Image-less design is the goal No GIFs, JPGs Easy maintenance / changes Easier theming ClubAJAX.org
  143. 143. CSS Image-less design is the goal No GIFs, JPGs Easy maintenance / changes Easier theming ClubAJAX.org Feature Detection
  144. 144. CSS Image-less design is the goal No GIFs, JPGs Easy maintenance / changes Easier theming ClubAJAX.org Feature Detection Modernizr
  145. 145. CSS Image-less design is the goal No GIFs, JPGs Easy maintenance / changes Easier theming ClubAJAX.org Feature Detection Modernizr CSS is notorious for being a horrible mess
  146. 146. CSS Image-less design is the goal No GIFs, JPGs Easy maintenance / changes Easier theming ClubAJAX.org Feature Detection Modernizr CSS is notorious for being a horrible mess OO-CSS
  147. 147. CSS3
  148. 148. CSS3 A “simple” example of a cross-browser gradient.
  149. 149. CSS3 A “simple” example of a cross-browser gradient. .is_firefox .grad{ background: -moz-linear-gradient(left, #FF0000 0%, #0000FF 100%); } .is_webkit .grad{ background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left #FF0000, #0000FF); } .is_ielt9 .grad{ filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.gradient(enabled=true, startColorstr=#FF0000, endColorstr=#0000FF, GradientType=1); } .is_iegt9 .grad{ background-image: -ms-radial-gradient(top center, #FF0000, #0000FF); } .is_ie9 .grad, .is_fflt36{ background-color:#FF0000; box-shadow: inset -10px 0px 10px #0000FF; }
  150. 150. JavaScript
  151. 151. JavaScript The follow “works good enough” code has at least 7 bad practices. Can you spot them?
  152. 152. JavaScript The follow “works good enough” code has at least 7 bad practices. Can you spot them? if(document.getElementById("bannerSearchInput").value.length <= 0) { document.getElementById("bannerSearchInput").value = defaulttext; document.getElementById("bannerSearchInput").style.color = "#666666"; // Default text is gray }
  153. 153. GOOD EXAMPLES OF BAD WEBSITES
  154. 154. Solutions
  155. 155. Solutions Development Time
  156. 156. Solutions Development Time FED that knows some JSP will be much faster than a Java dev who knows some JavaScript and CSS
  157. 157. Solutions Development Time FED that knows some JSP will be much faster than a Java dev who knows some JavaScript and CSS Design the code so that an FED can step in at some point
  158. 158. Solutions Development Time FED that knows some JSP will be much faster than a Java dev who knows some JavaScript and CSS Design the code so that an FED can step in at some point In MVC, the “View” could mean:
  159. 159. Solutions Development Time FED that knows some JSP will be much faster than a Java dev who knows some JavaScript and CSS Design the code so that an FED can step in at some point In MVC, the “View” could mean: HTML, XML, JSON
  160. 160. Solutions Development Time FED that knows some JSP will be much faster than a Java dev who knows some JavaScript and CSS Design the code so that an FED can step in at some point In MVC, the “View” could mean: HTML, XML, JSON We need to encourage the growth of FEDs
  161. 161. Solutions Development Time FED that knows some JSP will be much faster than a Java dev who knows some JavaScript and CSS Design the code so that an FED can step in at some point In MVC, the “View” could mean: HTML, XML, JSON We need to encourage the growth of FEDs There are very few FEDs in DFW
  162. 162. Solutions Development Time FED that knows some JSP will be much faster than a Java dev who knows some JavaScript and CSS Design the code so that an FED can step in at some point In MVC, the “View” could mean: HTML, XML, JSON We need to encourage the growth of FEDs There are very few FEDs in DFW There are few (if any) colleges teaching front end dev

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