Front-End Futures: Trends to Watch for in 2022

What can development teams and companies alike expect from the world of front-end website development in 2022?
March 21, 2022
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2021 is, thankfully, in the past and it’s time to look forward to what 2022 has on the horizon. Software development continually goes through cycles of changes and upgrades, especially on the front-end. Front-end development changes so rapidly that it can be dizzying trying to keep up. However, staying informed on the trends is an essential step in producing the latest and greatest product. 

Oftentimes, a trend results from a major industry player adopting the new technology, frameworks, or techniques. New front-end techniques may promise dynamic user interface improvements, stronger scalability, better user experience, and just about anything else imaginable. Being briefed on the future of front-end dev and assessing the possibilities of each trend is vital in order for companies to stay competitive in their market.

2022’s Must-Have Front-End Technologies

Not all technologies are truly worth investing into because not all trends will stick around, but some will gain major traction and become the new standard. For example, Netflix led the pioneering of headless architecture. With headless architecture, the building of content happens on the backend, and delivery then occurs to the front-end through APIs. 

New companies often opt for headless architecture every day, which is driving its popularity up Front-end development, however, also sees a high turnover on trends and technologies as APIs depreciate quickly, browsers change, and outdated libraries go by the wayside. Here are some of the things to keep in mind.  

JavaScript

JavaScript is “old” by programming standards. It arrived on the scene in 1995 but remains relevant by constantly evolving. JavaScript is one of the most used languages for front-end development and it’s essentially one of the building blocks of the internet (along with HTML and CSS). 

Javascript stays relevant due to the fact that it isn’t stagnant. The front-end development community continues to build and improve upon existing libraries and frameworks in digital communities. Front-end developers should look to learn a new Javascript library or framework during 2022 to stay competitive and up-to-date.

The most popular JavaScript libraries heading into 2022 are:

  • jQuery
  • Backbone.js
  • Polymer.js

While the most popular JavaScript frameworks in 2022 are looking to be the same as previous years:

  • Node.js
  • Vue.js
  • React.js

 VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality)

With the announcement of Facebook’s name change to Meta to highlight its newfound obsession on building a metaverse, virtual reality has never been more current. Virtual reality will allow users to experience a front-end environment in a more vivid way, through the use of vision, touch, and more. 

Augmented reality offers developers the ability to create an innovative front-end that will exchange the physical environment users find themselves in. Virtual reality’s association with gaming is changing, as new integration possibilities develop for VR and front-end. 

Companies should encourage their front-end developers to become familiar with VR technologies. The extension is natural, as the hosting of many virtual reality and augmented reality technologies are on the web and uses JavaScript. This trend towards web-heavy VR/AR began in the early 2010s and is continuing to grow. 

That’s why it’s so important to know about some of its essential tools. Babylon.js is a powerful yet simple Javascript library allowing 3D graphics to display web pages. PrimroseVR and WebXR (or WebVR) are other Javascript applications that enable interactivity and create augmented reality experiences. 

Micro Front-End 

Micro front-end architecture gained popularity in 2021 and continues showing great promise. In micro front-end architecture, the goal is to break apart an application or website into its parts. Organizations are adopting this technique left and right because of a few strong advantages:

  • Ability to break into smaller more manageable, yet scalable teams
  • Cohesive and sustainable codebase
  • Segmentation of updates and overhauls into specific parts

Instead of creating large, cumbersome, monolith websites, a micro front-end provides a more agile web application. Front-end developers should also take the time to learn about micro front-end architecture and how decoupled and independently deployable technology works. 

AI and Machine Learning

AI and machine learning are transforming the face of front-end development as it’s as about the code as it is about the user experiences. Front-end teams can now harness the power of AI to learn what parts of their product are best received by users. With deep learning and neural networks, front-end developers can test their UI design quickly and efficiently. 

Progressive Web Applications (PWAs)

Native web applications are the golden standard for mobile applications. Native web applications have numerous benefits and yield stronger user experiences than other apps. But the use of native web applications requires installation on the actual device and users must choose to update applications when prompted. That’s why some users opt to use the web browser from their mobile devices instead. This is where progressive web applications come in.

For the rest of the year and beyond, dev teams should expect progressive web applications to continue to grow in popularity and sophistication. Progressive web apps, also called hybrid apps, provide the best of both worlds. Modern PWAs are nearly impossible to tell from native apps. Data storage occurs in the browser cache allowing faster loading than native apps. The user experience is also impressive, seamlessly allowing for shopping, browsing, and other important features.

A strong front-end development team should have experience building out a progressive web application. There is no reason to leave users with an outdated mobile webpage in 2022 and future clients will notice companies that don’t provide it.  

What Does the Future Hold?

Any competitive company needs a well-built, robust, creative, and enjoyable product for their consumers to enjoy and front-end developers are vital to this process. If anything, the thousands of job openings nationwide for those roles prove this fact. Because of this, many companies choose to turn to experts at outsourcing firms.

Front-end developers and organizations are constantly looking for solutions to improve user experience, scalability, and accessibility, among many other things. JavaScript reigns supreme just like it did in 2021 and previous years but it’s never a bad idea to learn a new framework or library. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will continue to make ground in the front-end development world in 2022, while VR and AR are becoming more mainstream every day as digital products integrate further into everyday life.

Changes to website architecture thanks to the expected growth of the micro front-end trend. Progressive web applications are almost an expectation among consumers as well. 2022 will undoubtedly bring even more unexpected trends in the world of front-end development as well.

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