React is a Javascript library used to build user interfaces. Originally developed by Facebook, the library was open-sourced in 2013. If you’ve used the internet, you’re almost guaranteed to have encountered it; Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Whatsapp, Dropbox, Atlassian — the list of popular companies using it goes on and on.

It seems unstoppable. Many developers, particularly those who’ve been in the industry a long time, have heard this all before, though. Before React, there was Angular and before that, there was jQuery — all frameworks that have fallen by the wayside. It’s just a matter of time before something comes…

If 2020 has proven anything, it’s that predicting the future is a mug’s game. With that said, here are my predictions for where front-end development is heading over the next 12 months 🙄

React frameworks finally mature

Frequently referred to as the ‘V’ in MVC, React has both benefited and suffered from its lack of an opinionated framework. Years on and we’ve not seen the industry coalesce on a single stack, architecture or blessed toolchain. While this flexibility has undoubtedly aided its popularity, 2021 may be the year we finally see such frameworks reach maturity.

Over the last year Vercel has continued to dominate…

Dark mode or light mode, which are you?

I’m strictly a dark mode user. Practically every app or digital platform I use, day-to-day, comes with a dark mode UI option. Even the NHS Test & Trace app has a dark mode. I can’t explain why, but it seems absolutely clear to me that dark mode is just better (sorry light moders, you’re wrong).

There are a few who continue to resist the rise of dark mode, however. Most Google products don’t have the option, for example, although that looks set to change soon.

So, where did this movement towards dark…

From business idea to $100k product launch

That’s the title of the blog post that inspired my co-founders and I to build an app. After spending numerous years helping Browser’s clients turn their ideas into award-winning digital products, it was time to create our own. After countless interviews with teams big and small, we landed on what felt like the perfect app idea. Now, we just needed to build it.

Unfortunately, that’s where things get a bit complicated. We’d planned to launch a lean, MVP version of the product in a month, which turned into two, which…

Every developer, when faced with a tricky problem, has experienced the same excitement and temptation: “oooh I bet I could use a library for this!” The thought is full of the promise of time saved, complexity abstracted and efficiency gained. Just think of all the problems that could be solved without writing a line of your own code!

Fast-forward on a couple of weeks and there’s probably a fifty-fifty chance you’ll find that same developer desperately trying to wrangle a square-peg library into a round hole problem, tussling with inadequate documentation or finding security holes three levels deep in node_modules.

Back in 2015, AMD’s CFO, Devinder Kumar, made the prediction that by 2019 “15% of the overall server space is in the ARM server business.”

He was wide of the mark by some way; at the start of 2019, ARM-based systems made up precisely 0% of the server market. But could Kumar have been on to something?

Well, I think so.

But first, a note of caution. It’s been fashionable to predict the demise of the x86 server monopoly for a while now, but it’s still here and, seemingly, as strong as ever. …

COVID-19 is rapidly reshaping nearly every facet of human life by curtailing personal freedoms such as where we can go and what we can do. In doing so, it’s radically changing the world in which businesses operate.

This leads to thoughts about what life — and commerce — will look like, as we ease out of lockdown and learn to live with coronavirus. The Economist recently coined the phrase ‘ the 90% economy ‘ to describe this new era, and I think it’s a good framing of the situation.

You can already see parts of the 90% economy taking shape…

In the early days of the web, when JavaScript was but a twinkle in Brendan Eich’s eye, the world wide web was strictly a place where you could find web sites. There was no such thing as a ‘native app’ because all applications were native apps; if you wanted complex user interaction, you’d have to explicitly download and run some form of an executable program.

In the world of technology, nothing ever stays pure for very long, and soon the web became home to things that could meaningfully be called applications, be they static HTML pages with server-rendered responses to…

The hardest part of turning a good idea into an actual digital product is getting started. Starting means confronting problems, making compromises and watching as your idea clatters inelegantly into the hard realities of the real world. That process will be challenging whichever way you approach it. But even if it can’t be pain-free, it can at least be quick thanks to Design Sprint 2.0.

So, what is Design Sprint 2.0?

As you may guess, it’s based on the celebrated five-day Design Sprint process that was invented at Google by Jake Knapp and popularised by his bestselling 2016 book Sprint.

Great applications deserve great marketing sites, which is why we’re always on the lookout for new developments and trends in content management systems (CMSs). While traditionally a space occupied by open-source giants such as WordPress and Drupal, ever since the Smashing Magazine relaunch back in 2017 there has been a resurgence of interest in static-sites.

Given the complexity of modern front-end development, the desire to return to the simplicity of plain HTML is perhaps unsurprising — after all, many of today’s problems (performance, async data, caching etc) are either irrelevant or come as standard with the removal of a dynamic…


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