Cascading Style Sheets were born in 1995 to free the HTML from the weight of colors, spaces and sizes definitions, which had nothing to do with semantics, structure or the data itself. It was a great design choice which defined the future of the web. Alas, HTML and CSS remained mere “presentation” tools to the eyes of many developers, until HTML5 and CSS3 showed off new possibilities.
In the mean time, professions had emerged with many names and blurry borders when it comes to the languages and tools they used : front-end developer, web integrator, web designer, web ergonomist, UI designer, UX designer, interaction designer… Specialization has grown over time with the focus on design problems and solutions, rather than the tools used in the process.
We’re in an industrial era where we endlessly divide tasks and fields that tend to grow, in order to maintain efficience and value, out of specialization. CSS has grown, and attracted its enthusiasts, which later became specialists and lead technicians on the technology.
Now, front-end is a term that’s been taken over by client side technologies that have less and less to do with the looks of web applications. And yet, no term has emerged to talk about the development of styles, animations, interfaces, which is now mature, and a field in itself – something you may only realize by working on big projects.
Aimed almost exclusively at visual rendering, CSS in the end, is code for the eyes.
But the eye-end development I am describing cannot solely be about one technology, just as front-end or back-end name fields of action, without ever naming the means used to act.
The web is now a mille-feuilles of tools, languages and design patterns, where the back-end designates a distant processing and the front-end a local one. The eye-end development or technical expertise is now the needed cream to coat it all with lively and reactive visual elements. The eye-end coder job is to visually erase the machine and bring the human closer to applications, while remaining as much a technician as any developer.
With so wide a canvas in web technologies, eye-end development may be the dream crossroads for technicians with end-users and visual communication at heart.