Cocomore Job Check: What Does A Frontend Developer Do?

25.08.2016 Martin Geist

Babette Landmesser

 

With our blog series “Cocomore Job Check” we want to introduce typical jobs in the digital industry and let you take a look behind the scenes of Cocomore. In this interview we have talked to our Frontend developer Babette Landmesser.

Martin: Babette, how long have you been part of the Cocomore team and what are your responsibilities?

Babette: I started working at Cocomore in April 2015. As a Frontend developer I program user surfaces for websites – which is the part visitors can see directly and interact with. This includes three main areas: the structure and design of a website as well as interactions.

Development of the Frontend begins with the structure, which means the layout of a website that defines how individual elements should be categorized. When developing the structure we have to make sure that the page will be displayed correctly on mobile devices as well.

At the same time we already build a basis for the website style, which is how the individual elements should be displayed in the end. This includes for example fonts, font size and colors.

We also have to take visual effects into account early on – this way, we integrate and test user interactions. Those are not only call-to-action elements such as buttons but also image galleries, forms and even scrolling. Effects to appear on the page have to be linked with the existing elements early on as well as tested on different browsers and devices. This way, we can make sure that the website looks the same for all users.

Which projects are you currently working on?

Right now I am working on several projects, including a comprehensive Drupal project which is currently running through its bug fixing phase. We are also developing a module based Frontend for a Typo3 project. In between I am familiarizing myself more in depth with AngularJS and React in order to better compare the two Frontend frameworks based on various prototypes.

At the same time we are developing a content management system with AngularJS and Symfony for a project in the Frontend, which is meant to simplify the creation of teasers for the producing department and therefore save time in the long run. In addition to bigger projects there are also a lot of maintenance responsibilities which come up on an irregular basis, such as optimizing existing sites, system updates or other modification requests from clients.

What is the difference to a Backend developer?

Backend developers create processes that are behind the systems. They work on the server side: Everything, that’s coming from the server, happens in the Backend. Frontend developers are working on the client side and ensure the correct display for users. The programming languages differ also: Backend developers work with PHP, Frontend developers with HTML, CSS or JavaScript.

How are Frontend and Backend developers working together?

It’s a rather close cooperation: Prior to a project we brainstorm together what the structure of the page should look like and what kind of information is required for it. The Backend then has to prepare the functions of the site in a way that the Frontend can continue to work with it. But the Backend does not always do the initial work and then we do the rest: A lot of times it’s happening at the same time and both departments are communicating with each other constantly.

Which challenges do you have to face during your work?

The biggest challenge is for a website to look identical on different browsers and systems. Each browser has its pro’s and con’s and you have to somehow find a common denominator.

Which prerequisites should you have to become a Frontend developer?

You should be willing to familiarize yourself with new topics and technologies that are used in the Frontend on a daily basis. It’s important to get a feeling for what a website could look like on different sized screens. You should also be familiar with CSS, HTML and JavaScript, because these programming languages are our daily work. Working as a Frontend developer is a constant learning process – with each project you will experience something new.

What kind of advice would you give an aspiring Frontend developer?

It’s important to stay up-to-date about what’s happening in the web developing world and which innovations are coming up. For this reason I would advise every aspiring Frontend developer to check news in this area on a daily basis, for instance on Twitter or other relevant websites.