Fronteers ‘11 was great conference, one of the best I’ve been to. Lots of passion and an eyeopener to the direction some seem to be taking the web.

Ruby technology has been making waves in the web dev space for years and it seems that it and others have indirectly influenced the front-end space. CoffeeScript and Sass have, due to their popularity, started the next wave of change. Dart and CSS vars as exhibit A. Great in many respects, however, Front-end is slowly becoming a pure IT job. It’s an easy bet that not everybody will be able to make the transition.

Bert Bos and Jens Meiert have pointed out the dangers and it wasn’t up until now that these new developments remained outside the spec. Script-compilers & pre-processers have kept the technology in the ‘programmers’ domain. However, their popularity has changed all that. Google has created Dart and the W3C seems to be coming round to the idea of ‘enhancing’ CSS. This temptation isn’t surprising, these tools are incredibly powerful.

Dart is in many ways a blessing. It will, directly or indirectly, make life easier for those who already script for a living. Whatever you make of this move by Google at least something is being done to move scripting on the web forward. JavaScript itself seems to have stalled, will Dart get them back in the game? Does it need to?

CSS on the other hand is being changed by developers for developers and will therefore become much more complex. Dealing with recursion, conditionals and variable scopes is almost certainly going to vex some CSS experts and marginalise many designers. Writing CSS is not coding, it’s assigning static rules to DOM elements, well it used to be. Keeping it simple was a pipe dream. So roll up your sleeves and get up to speed with these new technologies, because we’re in for a rough ride.

Update: Added link to PPK’s Javascript/Dart article.

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