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Introduction to modern web development

By February 28, 2020 No Comments

2020 has started already and we have seen how much front-end techs have grown in the last few years.

The key factors that shape modern web development

The critical point was a few years ago. We all thought that high-speed Internet and advanced browsers would allow us to create unwieldy web pages. However, mobile devices changed this world.

Lightweight, portable, and adaptive are the three factors that shape modern website development. The majority of users prefer lightweight devices, even if they have a powerful desktop. Also, people can use different devices to visit a website.

This requires a progressively modern methodology.

Web Components

A few years ago, web developers used complex HTML and complicated frameworks to render custom UI controls. These tasks could be completed through reusing code, however using code multiple times can turn your page into a mess. Web Components aims to solve such problems.

Web Components are a set of features that provide a standard component model for the Web allowing for encapsulation and interoperability of individual HTML elements with technologies: Custom elements, Shadow DOM, HTML templates.

Custom Elements. Quite simply, these are fully-valid HTML elements with custom templates, behaviors and tag names (e.g. <one-dialog>) made with a set of JavaScript APIs.

Shadow DOM. Capable of isolating CSS and JavaScript.

HTML templates. User-defined templates in HTML that aren’t rendered until called upon.

Web components actually simplify many complexities in front-end development. Web Components are a collection of building blocks for web pages or web applications in simple terms. With web components, developers have a wider range of opportunity.

Surely, JavaScript frameworks follow a similar approach, however these frameworks do so at a cost. Language features need to be compiled, and many JS frameworks rely on a run time to manage all of their abstractions. Web components allow developers to get the benefits without all of that heavy weight.

Web Components are generally available in all of the major browsers, with the exception of Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11, but web developers use polyfills.

APIs and Microservices

The microservice architectural style is an approach to developing a single application as a suite of small services, each running in its own process and communicating with lightweight mechanisms, often an HTTP resource API.

Nowadays, many companies are using the microservices approach, or rather they are using the micro frontends approach to build their web apps.

The reason microservices are all the rage right now is that they make it so much easier to develop, integrate, and maintain applications. Microservices are especially useful for larger companies since they allow teams to work on separate items without the need for any horribly complicated orchestration between them. This ultimately comes down to the fact that individual functionalities are treated separately, initially allowing you to build applications step-by-step, and later allowing you to work on each element separately (so you can add, improve, or fix without risking breaking the entire application).

API stands for Application Programming Interface, where the keyword is interface. APIs are the doorway, so to speak, that allows developers to interact with an application.

In short, APIs allow internal and external developers to accomplish one of two things: access an application’s data, or use an application’s functionality. Ultimately, this is how the world’s electronics, applications, and web pages are linked up to communicate with one another and work together.

Things like using a social account to authenticate on a website, having the weather on your phone, being able to access Google maps from a separate application, or triggering an Internet of Things devices — they all rely on APIs to function.

APIs and microservices have changed the web development world profoundly.

Final words about modern web development

As you can see, when we speak about modern web development, it means more about the methodology. Web developers need to use languages, frameworks, and tech trends in accordance with general trends. These trends are simple, portable, adaptive, and versatile.

Modern web development is measured, separated, and fully stacked. It is a skill that simplifies the most complex tasks. This means that even as web development becomes more complex and challenging, with composing code will be made simpler. A web developer is an architect more than developer.

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