Front end chops
The role of the front-end web developer has become more important, more complicated yet simpler in many ways.
It’s true that the role of the front-end developer has become both more important & more complicated with the tooling and experience we are expected to have under our belts, but it’s become easier in a lot of respects.
HTML5 has promoted web tech to another level of interactivity and power.
CSS3 has enabled designers to implement effect and animations that previously required a lot of complex scripting or flash.
Mobile devices have come out with great web browsers like Mobile Safari, Opera, Chrome and Firefox.
Frameworks like PhoneGap have enabled web apps to power installed apps on all the major platforms.
The web as a platform is kicking ass – an enthusistic crowd of designers/developers are building it daily, contributing to each others work. The web is deployable everywhere, future proof, cheap to build, and more powerful than ever.
Tools have complicated things though, there is now an ever present learning curve before us. If you join a new team or project you will probably be expected to learn a handful of unfamiliar tools that the team has adopted, you’d also do well to be able to offer a handful of your own practices/tools/frameworks that you like. Tooling is really highly valued at the moment.
I’m a keen learner but a late adopter, I don’t jump from one hot thing to the next.
If you always adopt the hot new thing, you will often be adopting more code and complexity, the key is to find tools that require less code and complexity and allow you to do more.
Browsers are great now, IE is dying.
Web standards have won and it’s now easier to develop for the web.
CSS3 means that there’s a lot of power and visual reward for a small amount of effort / code #winning
Libraries – while there’s more to learn, a lot of these libraries allow you to go further and do more.
SASS, Compass, jQuery, git, github, cucumber and Rails are my favorite tools – each save me a lot of time and allow me to write better, more elegant and maintainable code.