Don’t Forget the Front End

Here is my latest editorial for the July 2013 issue of php[architect] magazine:

php[architect] - July 2013

Don’t Forget the Front End

Front end development is one of those things that I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about when I became a “real” programmer. Yet now I’ve found that the front end is becoming more and more important to the success of the code I write. We are long-past the days of apps surviving because they are technically functional, even though they are difficult to use. There are so many choices out there now, and the web is accessible to more than just the hard-core computer users who are willing and able to learn a complicated process. We need to step up our game and make sure the front end is investigated just as thoroughly as the underlying system. Beyond that, we need to get feedback from our actually users, making sure that the decisions and delivery will make sense to them and not just to the developers.

It’s a tough thing to do, to step out from your current role and create a product for someone who may not be anything like you. Lucky for us, there are a lot of tools out there to help make the front end easier to develop in a pleasant way for our users while keeping it maintainable for us. Want to use HTML5, but are frustrated by browser inconsistencies? Chris will make your day with his article on polyfills. Looking for an easy way to get your site ready for mobile? Anna will show you how jQuery Mobile will help you get a mobile-ready website up in no time. Not a fan of jQuery but still want a mobile framework so you can focus more on the business logic than on the front end details? Check out Sencha Touch 2 with Martin. Need to take payments? Check out Stripe with Matthew in the latest Education Station column, and once you have everything ready, you’ll definitely want to read Jason’s article on robotic deployment and save yourself some time (and pain).

Many groups are discussing “getting off the island” in regards to unifying the PHP community. Stop by Eli’s column for a few of his thoughts on why PHP is its own island.