I have been doing full time UX for about 5 years, but I love keeping up with my frontend developer teams, and I’m fascinated to see how they work today.

I’m not really sure that we are in a better place than we were 5 years ago, or even 15 years ago. The tooling a frontend developer is required to know today is mind-melting. So many tools, so many frameworks, so many dependencies.

It seems, looking at it from the side, that now developers are having to not only deal with the inherent complexity of the coding itself, but then the integrations, frameworks and deployments. They are monitoring compilation error messages, commit reports, unit tests, but it seems like sometimes they simply don’t have the time to question whether they did it the best way. Or to just look at the actual quality of the UI and the experience of using it.

Because I didn’t have to spend time fiddling about with complex workflows, I had more time to take great pride in the craftsmanship of my code, and the design. Were the semantics right? Was my stylesheet DRY, legible, well structured and helpfully commented? Did I do everything efficiently and make it look good?

Perhaps the new generation is fine with this. Much like when I used to find setting the timer on our first VCR easy, and my parents couldn’t figure it out, then the new developers now find all the tooling and complexity a breeze.

Still, just because I could navigate the convoluted sequence of commands to set the VCR to record a program on a particular day, time and channel, it didn’t mean it was particularly well designed. Better experiences lay ahead.

Read this amazing Frank Chimero article for more about how hard things have gotten.