What does a HTML Developer do?

Submitted by daniel on Thu, 19/01/2017 - 16:29

Ever seen these kind of job roles advertised after doing a search for html developer?

UI HTML5 Developer - Investment Banking, London

Experience of building Single-Page Applications in one or more JavaScript MVC. Preference Angular.JS

HTML5 Front-End Developer

Able to convert PSD files into pixel perfect HTML/CSS code

Front End Developer - HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, ReactJS, Redux

AngularJS or React.JS or EmberJS or KnockoutJS or BackboneJS or Vue.JS

UI Developer - Front End Developer

Design and build server side components in Java to support the UI

Ch ch ch ch......

Today the landscape and underlying architecture of how the web is being served across multiple devices including mobile, tablet and desktop devices is changing quickly. Companies like Google and Facebook who have the challenge of serving trillions or requests/sec are driving this change with a push to make better use of client side javascript Libraries/Frameworks to provide you with a sophisticated and moderately complex web application that runs well even on devices that historically are not that fast or powerful. This is an exciting time for new start ups who are looking to leverage these technologies to quickly scale their operations without the expensive legacy overhead. For the big corporates, the drive is to adapt to this quickly changing landscape and to remain competitive.

For example Facebook have developed React and Flux that advocates building loosely coupled javascript components that can be bound together to create complex applications that utilise the concept of immutability and an omnidirectional data-flow to produce fairly complex, performant and scalable applications. Facebook has also decided to use javascript to abstract the html and css components, although they have developed jsx that will feel familiar to those that have worked with XHTML/HTML before.

Google has developed the V8 Javascript engine that powers node.js a non-blocking javascript asynchronous i/o environment to allow you to deploy your application serverside on your website is a real possibility today to complete the set up of your isomorphic application. They have also pioneered the Angular MVC framework that has been adopted by many organisations today looking at more scalable approahes.

Driving this change have been advances in Javascript itself with the introduction of require.js, ES6, Typecript and ES7 etc. This is combined with new approaches to web hosting driven by hosting companies like Amazon that are pioneering Lambda services that can be built on top of a lean stack like nodejs. This approach borrows more from functional programming in contrast to object orientated, which may have benefits when scaling your application over multiple cores. 

One persons definition of a 'HTML developer' may be quite different to someone else. To my mind, a html developer used to mean taking the html or output that was rendered by the back end team and styling it, across multiple devices etc. In other words someone who manages the html, css and javascript across different devices etc, However, a HTML Developer title today can also come with the expectation of using Javascript to abstract a library of loosely coupled components that can be bound together to form a complex and performant javascript based web application that runs clientside and also has to send and receive server requests such as to a rest api, JSON object and the code will likely use some advanced object orientated javascript concepts and patterns including and good understanding of SOLID principles. Chances are your code will need to be unit tested and experience of mocking third party apis and services and programming techniques like dependency injection would be useful here.

The second definition I believe is more akin to that of an 'Software Engineer' than that of a traditional ''HTML' Developer.  Ultimately though, both are producing html, css and javascript that is run in the browser. However, the path, complexity, experience, and level of knowledge required to get there can be quite different!

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