If you do not adapt to change, you are bound to get buried by the competitors who do. Unlike any other industry, web development trends can change faster than we can keep up with. This year is a very promising one when it comes to technologies and the trends that await us.
6 Top Frontend Development Trends In 2018: Latest Front End Technologies
#2. Static Sites Are Back
Static websites, until recently, seemed to be a thing of the past; however, now they are making a comeback in 2018, and should not remain unnoticed among the latest trends in front end development. In a nutshell, static sites are those that do not require any databases for storing data, meaning that a frontend developer does not need a backend developer to create a static website.
Why are we witnessing such a comeback? The answer is pretty basic: static websites are cheaper to develop, they are safer, and they are a lot faster than dynamic ones.
#3. Chatbots + Artificial Intelligence = Happy Customers
It is predicted by Gartner that, by 2020, 85% of customer interactions with companies will be done without talking to a live person on the company’s end. The only question is what technologies will replace human assistance.
Chatbots may be the answer to this question. There are already plenty of chatbots out there, and users are no longer surprised when they are replied to by a chatbot instead of a living person. What remains to be a problem is the quality of such interaction.
As artificial intelligence technologies are rapidly developing, we are already observing positive changes in the quality of chatbots. AI is already here to create qualitatively new front end technologies, so it is up to you whether to jump on the first wagon of this train or wait until you see a bit more proof before you make up your mind.
#4. Progressive Web Apps
As proven by research done worldwide in 2017, people acknowledge that they spend a minimum of 1-3 hours on their smartphones per day. An unbelievable 26% of the respondents stated that they use smartphones for more than seven hours, daily.
No developer or company has the moral right to disappoint their potential users, which is why mobile application development has been one of the front end development trends for the past several years.
So, progressive web apps are here to take advantage of this trend. But what do they include?
Progressive web apps (a.k.a. PWAs) are web applications that are indistinguishable from native apps, to the users. Their main advantages are that PWAs are fast (the main part of the data is stored in cache), they load in a matter of mere seconds, and they do not need an Internet connection to operate properly (they can work offline).
Surely, the main advantage of PWAs is the radical improvement of user experience, which is guaranteed to lead to an increase in conversion rate, as has been proven by the case of Flipkart.
#5. Single-Page Sites
One-pagers are nothing new to the world of web development; however, their advantages are the reason single-page websites appear on the list of frontend trends that 2018 has to offer us.
First of all, single-pagers are obviously faster and cheaper to develop. This one is pretty obvious.
Secondly, they are not over complicated with navigation and tons of content to search through. Users can find all the information that interests them by scrolling through the page, simple as that.
Thirdly, such websites are more mobile-friendly than traditional ones. Remember the statistics on smartphone daily usage, above?
Of course, one-pagers are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Yet, because simplifying everything we do seems to be the main trend today, they are guaranteed to stick around and gain even more popularity in 2018.
#6. Motion UI
Last but not least, Motion UI is what’s new in front end development. Minimalism is good, but it may get boring for users. Motion UI can make any website stand out. It allows developers to add different animations to a website to make it pleasant to use. Improving user experience leads to an increase in conversion rates, remember?
For instance, developers can add motions to transitions between different pages or charts. The key thing they should remember to do is to keep the balance between “not enough” and “too much” animation.
The Key Trend
As you can see, people tend to like simplicity, and frontend developers, as well as users, are people. So, the main trend of 2018 that you should always keep in mind is simplicity. Whatever you create, keep both the development and the product simple.
Vue.js has turned out to be a competitor for Angular and React, and that may be quite a surprise for some. It is easy to understand their surprise, too. Vue.js was developed and launched by an ex-Google employee, Evan You; it doesn’t have any large IT companies (like Facebook or Google) behind it to provide support, thus it is often referred to as a one-man project.
Vue.js has one purpose: it exists to make user interface development easier and simpler, and it completely fulfills this task; however, just like any other framework, it has its advantages and disadvantages.
- low entrance threshold, so junior developers can master Vue.js faster than Angular;
- declarative rendering support;
- easy integration with HTML templates;
- it is possible to observe development in real time.
- it has a relatively small support community, especially in comparison with React and Angular, which results in a very small number of available libraries;
- component props are obligatory to be predefined;
- a lot of documentation is only in Chinese.
Even though there are some cons that come with using Vue.js, it is so easy to use and elegant that you definitely need to experience its advantages yourself. Vue.js can be easily used for developing advanced one-page websites.
Even though we started this list with Vue.js, Angular remains one of the top front end frameworks. It is not going to disappear anytime soon, so let’s take a look at what Angular is going to bring us this year.
December 2017 brought us a long-awaited Christmas present: Angular 5. Angular 5 included such new features as the support of PWAs, build optimizer, and some improvements to Material Design implementation. Now, we are getting ready to see Angular 6 in March or April of 2018 (the beta version is already available).
- two-way data binding;
- huge community support;
- backed by Google, which ensures stable long-term support;
- mobile-friendly approach to web development;
- PWA and Material Design support.
- high entrance threshold: on average, it takes up to two months to get familiar with Angular from scratch;
- high power consumption on smartphones: developers need to dedicate more time to optimizing code in order to decrease power consumption;
- low performance (once again, some time has to be dedicated to optimization).
Next.js is backed by Zeit company. It was developed for server-rendering React applications. The number of such web apps tends to be growing, which is another web development trend.
The Next.js web framework is a response to Vue.js on React’s behalf. If you combine React with Next.js, you get as close to what Vue.js offers you as possible in terms of development simplicity.
- backed by a company which guarantees the support of the framework;
- easy-to-use: React, Webpack, React DOM, and React Router are already built-in;
- server-side rendering included;
- code splitting.
- may not suit developing big projects;
- inconsistencies between the server and the client may appear.
Gatsby is a reflection of the new trends that have arrived. It is a framework built by Kyle Matthews for developing static websites. Gatsby is a perfect fit for those who aim to use the latest technologies but have a restriction on budget.
- using React and Webpack components instead of templating;
- using GraphQL, which makes Gatsby the best framework for developing static websites;
- editing content is easier with Gatsby than with any other static site generator or framework;
- can be used for developing static PWAs;
- auto code splitting and static SSR which result in faster booting.
- can be used only for creating static web applications;
- relatively new, so there are not many libraries available;
- limited functionality for creating freeform apps that don’t comply with the page model.
Static websites are gaining popularity due to one simple reason: they are a lot safer than even the best ready-made engines out there. Gatsby is here to take advantage of this trend by making static website development easier than ever before.
Storybook was a surprising success in 2017. This web framework is a UI development environment that has quickly won over developers’ hearts thanks to the community effort that revived Storybook in 2017.
Storybook allows designers to define, design and test user interface components in isolation. Thus, the whole application can be developed by assembling these components.
- building an application piece by piece improves its further testability;
- effortless integration with popular frameworks (e.g. React Native);
- there’s no need for documenting development; therefore, collaboration is made easier with Storybook.
- as it is a community-driven project now, there is no guarantee for sustainable support of Storybook.
This community-driven UI development environment is one of the tools that are very handy for those working with React.
The Bottom Line: What Is The Future Of Front End Development Going To Look Like?
We have an opportunity to observe one key trend that is here to stay: simplicity. Those frameworks that fit into this trend, such as Vue.js and Gatsby, are definitely going to take advantage of it to gain popularity; however, this in no way means that the frameworks backed by Google or Facebook are bound to disappear. It just means that they also have to adapt in order to not lose the battle against new easy-to-use frameworks, as Next.js has shown us.
There is, of course, one thing to keep in mind: there is not one only best front end framework that 2018 has or will bring us. Any framework has its pros and cons, and it is up to you to choose the one that suits the needs of your project the best.
Are you overwhelmed by the variety of choices when it comes to following trends and selecting JS frameworks? Reach out to us to get a professional consultation on how to use trends that fit your ideas, and how to implement them to create a trending product.