10 Trends Frontend Developers
Should Be Aware Of In 2021

No other web development discipline evolves as fast as frontend development, staying on top of the latest technologies and ideas can be an intimidating and time consuming task. A few years ago a frontend developer needed only to know HTML, CSS and JavaScript but as web browsers became increasingly capable a pattern emerged for moving traditional server based work to the browser - the domain of the FED. Faced with this constantly evolving landscape and an ever growing ecosystem, those essential skills whilst still needed are no longer enough. To help you find some direction in 2021 Switch has put together a list, in no particular order, of some of the trends a frontend developer should be aware of.

  1. Headless Architecture

    Decoupling the presentation and delivery layer of your web application from the CMS makes a lot of sense in our modern fast-paced agile world. With enterprise grade platforms such as Sitcore embracing headless the future looks bright for building rich user-driven applications.

  2. Isomorphic Applications

    What can’t JavaScript do these days? As a frontend developer who already knows client side JavaScript you have the capability in 2021 to build an entire web application by extending your knowledge of server side JavaScript. You probably already know a little Node.js but do you know about the new kid on the block Deno?

  3. Typescript

    Typescript has been a rising trend for a few years now and this is set to continue in 2021. Extending JavaScript by adding static types brings it more into line with most high-level languages in common use on the web. You don’t have to go all in, you can progressively add Typescript to an existing application as valid JavaScript will still run.

  4. Micro Frontends

    Micro what? Following the trend of backend microservices comes micro frontends. Why deploy your entire frontend when you only made a small change to one component? How? By splitting your monolithic frontend architecture into smaller autonomous components.

  5. Web Components

    They’re out there, they’re all around us, you’ve encountered them and probably had no idea. They are web components. Extending HTML is nothing new but with web components there is finally an encapsulating standard. Being framework agnostic you can expect web components to continue to gain in popularity in 2021.

  6. GraphQL

    An alternative to the usual REST API standard, GraphQL enables declarative data fetching from a single endpoint. Sending precisely the data a client has asked for removed from the fixed data structures of yesteryear facilitates increased efficiency and rapid feature development.

  7. JAMstack

    JavaScript, APIs and markup. Once only the domain of the pre-rendered static site dynamic JAMstack is now a thing, see Next.js ‘Incremental Static Regeneration’. Automated builds, atomic deploys, instant cache invalidation and no server needed. What's not to love?

  8. Frameworks

    The king is dead, long live the king! Once it was jQuery, then it was Angular, now it’s React. Who will be next in line for the throne? Vue.js will continue it’s steady climb toward the top but is unlikely to take the crown any time soon. Perhaps 2021 will see the rise of web component based frameworks like Stencil.

  9. Component Driven Development

    Loosely-coupled independent components have become de rigueur for developing the frontend of our applications. 2021 will see the continued rise of tools such as Bit to facilitate rapid development and export of existing components into a dynamically reusable shared-collection. Think Storybook on steroids.

  10. Progressive Web Applications

    PWAs are still a thing, it seems every year we expect them to finally take off. Recent browser advancements have seen more and more companies choosing to build PWA functionality into their existing or new web applications rather than building a separate native application - the best of both worlds.

Whatever 2021 brings the frontend development world will continue to move forward at pace. Hopefully, armed with the list above you can at least be prepared for some of the onslaught.

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