One Product - Many Platforms

Front End Development Technology Challenges

One Product - Many Platforms

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The Product Must be Good On Any User Hardware

A nice thing about developing application software since the time the Assembly
language was superseded by human-readable ones some 50 years ago - the code
would generally run on any hardware, within some scope, of course. Yes, there
has been a reasonable separation of software development by the size of the
hardware applications would run on, e.g., large machines vs. PC-like ones, as
well as the task of porting applications across different Operating Systems. But
none of that comes even close to the demand that today’s FE Development must
fulfill: implement products that run equally well on any device that users may
have - by power, capability, size, platform, etc. And do it from a single
version of a product, minimizing the need to write and maintain multiple flavors
by the target.

Technologically, the possibility of the one-version-fits-all approach comes from
the designation of the browser as the equalizer across all the variables.
Today’s browser is already the de-facto standard user interface on computers,
and there is a clear tendency of it gaining the same status on handheld
devices, including smartphones: the shift away from so-called native
applications in favor of unifying UI/UX on the browser is happening fast. On
phones now, web applications can not only run well in an open browser but be
installed on the device and run in the background like native ones as well –
the concept of Progressive Web Apps (PWA).

What does this mean for the FE developer? Ability to write effective
single-version browser-based applications that work well on any hardware
platform becomes key. And it is not just about the look and feel of the
application across different devices - the problem that the UI/UX designer must
address. It is about managing and optimizing the software so it can operate on
devices with inherently limited networking and computing power as effectively as
it runs on a massive development workstation. Let’s cover this next.

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