Make Front-End Development Great Again

Let’s state it clearly, being a front-end developer nowadays is tough. Front-end developers are in a complex position between design and code and that’s what makes our work so special. – In this blog post we will try to dig into some of the challenges faced by front-end developers nowadays and why we think something needed to be done. –

As front-end developers we play a very crucial role in the app development process. Performing it requires a wide range of coding skills. We are expected to produce quality code that can be reused by other developers in the future. Therefore our code has to be well written, modular, documented, tested and ideally to respect the latest conventions and best practices. To do so we need to both master and keep up-to-date our Javascript / CSS / put your framework or library here /, easy peasy right?

And there is more, we are also expected to deliver a faithful reproduction of the design handed by the designer. Ensuring such reproduction no matter the device is no easy thing! It requires the ability to juggle between 2 distinct fields: the design and the development. Although the boundary between these fields gets thinner, the lack of interoperability between designers’ tools and developers’ toolbox remains a major issue in front-end development. Not to mention additional problems in mobile front-end...

Of course, figuring out the optimal layouts, solving font sizing and other kinds of interface inconsistencies are tasks that can be handled by any good front-end developer. But it takes time and a lot of manual coding for us to deliver. We should also keep in mind that such tasks are error prone as they require manually coding while comparing the final app to the original design file.

In a way, evaluating the state of front-end development today is a bite like getting through the 5 stages of grief.

The 5 stages of grief

1. Denial

First you deny anything could be improved regarding your current workflow. It must be a designer's’ problem.

After all if designers had learnt to code in the past everything would be much easier for you right?

2. Anger

Then you express all that anger you have against designers for never thinking about you when picking up their tool.

3. Bargaining

You try to convince yourself UX designers should learn to code. Remembering all the great arguments of Quincy Larson.

4. Depression

You remember all those epic moments of depression and disillusion toward pixel perfect coding.

5. Acceptance

At the end you accept that change is possible in front-end development. There must be a way for us to stop loosing time with design and stop coding from images, notes, PSD files, etc.

Something needed to be done

Those are the reasons why, at Yotako, we consider front-end developers as real heroes. Not only do we master complex and ever changing coding practices, we also developed a collaborative mindset while working with designers all along our projects.

Unfortunately, we received very little support in our work. Interviewing hundreds of front-end developers made it clear for us that a tool to better support the process of turning design into code was lacking. As superheroes front-end developers are still looking for new superpowers... This is why we decided to create Yotako... A solution made by developers for developers!

What is it? Yotako is an online superpower allowing us, front-end developers, to bring app design into life in 3 easy steps:

1. Upload the design file. No matter the design tool your designers used. Whether it’s a Photoshop design, a Sketch file or a Balsamiq Mockup.

2. Customize your stack. Whether it’s a web or a mobile app. You can either select one of the high quality and bullet proof stacks Yotako offers, with the best libraries and frameworks out there, or you can use your own stack the way you want.

3. Get ready-to-use source code directly in the repository of your choice.

Of course we couldn’t pretend Yotako addresses every issue you may have with your front-end. Indeed, as we all have our own way of coding, we wanted to let you use your own stack with Yotako! To do so we decided to go open-source (Yes! We love open-source!). Anyone can thus contribute so we make front-end development “great again” all together.

Yotako will soon be open for beta users. Hope you gonna love it! Subscriptions to the waiting list are now open. We will share more info about how to use Yotako and how you can even create your own stack in the next articles.

We also want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all developers that helped us making this adventure possible by testing Yotako and sharing amazing feedback.

Feel free to leave us a comment or share your opinion about the main issues you face as a front-end developer!

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The Yotako Team