Boring front-end developers are always resting on their laurels, happy to keep using the same old UI frameworks, and libraries. They are often found using technologies, and practices of yesteryear because they have yielded great results in the past, and it's best not to mess with a good thing. However, there is another kind of front-end developer, the cool front-end developer. Here is an ode to the cool front-end developer, CFED if you will.
The CFED is pragmatic. They realize that there is a cost associated with providing support for older browsers. While they aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty to make a feature work in older browsers, and they don't particularly have it out for IE6 users (well maybe a little), they use analytics to inform them when it makes sense to drop support for a particular browser. Investing significant resources into supporting a marginal percentage of your market is throwing good money after bad money, regardless of the user's perception.
Utilizing preprocesors (Sass, Babel, etc.) is a common practice for the CFED. Things like Sass mixins are very handy for making bits of style reusable (because don't repeat yourself). The CFED is always pushing the envelope, wanting to use ES6 features, often before they are supported natively. This isn't simply a hipster move, this is embracing the future of the tool of their trade. Preprocessors make all this possible.
The CFED is committed to making the web accessible to all. Websites should be readily consumable, regardless of a user's abilities. Supporting screen readers, and navigation with a keyboard are considered par for the course.
The CFED works closely with UX, providing feedback on what is feasible, and what is farfetched. They takes pride in building UIs, and hate having to say "no". Having a knack for aesthetics, as well as being tech savvy is what drove them to becoming a front-end developer in the first place.
Building custom components that are both functional, and accessible is what gets the CFED out of bed in the morning. Even though this can be a difficult endeavor at times, they are always up for the challenge.
Not only does the CFED rely heavily on third party code to solve common problems, they actively participate in the open source software world by logging issues, submitting patches, and even maintaining their own projects.
The CFED loves modularity. Often breaking larger features down into smaller, reusable modules that can be shared within the company, as well as with others.
The CFED is eager to learn new technologies, and will use side projects as an opportunity to gain hands on, real world experience. At the same time pragmatism is applied, not trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Staying current with technology is not only fun, and exciting for the CFED, it's what will ensure they continue to have marketable job skills.
Be a great front-end developer. Be cool.
In response to Adam Silver's article, The boring front-end developer.