Talking about trends for 2021 as we enter the last months of this rocky year doesn’t feel right. Usually, we wait until the year is over to start predicting the trends that will reign in the year that follows while also taking a look back at the ones that dominated the year we’re leaving behind. But when it comes to frontend web development trends, it makes sense to take a look at them more frequently.
That’s because frontend web development trends come and go really fast, and web development teams need to be on top of them to properly do their work. That’s why I thought it’d be nice to scout the landscape to see what trends are emerging strongly right now—and which ones will remain dominant for the rest of 2021.
1. The Rise of Gatsby
While there are a couple of things that you can do to help your SPA’s SEO, web engineers also found that working with Gatsby is a great way to get around that issue. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Gatsby is a web development framework that combines React, GraphQL, and Webpack into one platform intended to build static websites.
Gatsby can be expanded with pre-rendering features that work around the wrapping issue. That’s how Gatsby avoids rendering anything on the server when a request is made—it’s all done at build time of the application. When a site crawler comes to your SPA, it doesn’t access the AP itself, it gets a fully rendered HTML copy stored on the server that allows for easier crawling.
Such a solution is elegant and easy and addresses a huge problem web developers have been facing for a long time. That’s why so many engineers are resorting to Gatsby and why it’s becoming a go-to framework for web development.
2. The Popularity of Micro-Frontend Architecture
Little by little, micro-frontend architecture is gaining popularity and positioning itself as a great way to work on the frontend components of web applications and projects. This is far from being a personal opinion. Companies like Spotify, IKEA, American Express, and Starbucks have already adopted this architectural style. I’m convinced that more will follow suit.
The reason for that increased interest in this architecture comes from its benefits. By decomposing the frontend into individual, semi-independent components that work loosely together, micro-frontend architecture allows for easier development and maintenance.
This architecture was vaguely inspired by microservices and pursues its same advantages, namely more agility, easier development, and boosted collaboration between developers who work on different components. Thus, web development teams that use this architecture get a more compact codebase, scalable projects, and independent deployment, which prevents them from having to deal with large or complicated components.
3. Jamstack Solidifies Its Position
Today, Jamstack continues to expand by wowing engineers across web development teams. That’s an easy sell if you ask me. Jamstack apps provide faster performance by serving pre-built markup and assets over a content distribution network while being more secure. It also offers a better developer experience, especially because frontend engineers can focus on the frontend without worrying about a monolithic architecture.
But that’s not all. Jamstack projects are highly scalable, thanks to the use of the CDN, which dynamically compensates for any usage spikes the app might have at any given moment. And if you also consider that it’s less expensive than other alternatives (because of the hosting of static files), then you surely understand why so many developers are starting to jump on board the Jamstack boat.
4. React Gets on the Lead
That’s not all. The same survey shows that 1 in 4 developers want to start using React, which goes to show the growing interest of the web development community in this framework. Anyone who has ever worked with it will surely understand why: React is simple, fast, and only requires minimal coding to create sophisticated web applications.
Given those numbers, it’s close to impossible to think that React will fall out of favor shortly. In fact, it’s highly likely that its popularity will grow even more during the rest of 2021 and throughout 2022.
As Stack Overflow says, “For most developers, programming is web programming,” which explains those results. And that sentiment will remain until the end of 2021 and well beyond. It’s impossible not to think that, given the language’s ubiquity and utter dominance over other languages.
Keeping an Eye on Trends
If you work as a frontend developer, then you definitely have to be on top of the 5 trends I mentioned above, as they are certainly the ones ruling the sector right now. Does that mean you should desperately adopt them moving forward? Not necessarily. While it’s important to know them and keep up with these trends, not all of them will prove useful or relevant in the end.
In fact, it’s likely that we’ll be discussing different trends by the end of this year. But that’s the thing when it comes to frontend web development trends: You need to stay up to date at all times or risk getting left behind. Maybe some of these trends will solidify their position and become standards. Maybe they won’t. The only way to know for sure is to know about them and (even better) take a look at them to see if they are worth your time and attention.