Effective Website Creation Using a Front-End Component Library in an AEM Environment

Share article

Website Creation

When building a website, you want to achieve a coherent and unique user interface while delivering a seamless user experience across all distribution channels. Realizing the need to come to market as soon as possible with a well-designed reliable solution, you look for ways to enhance and optimize the development process. This is where a front-end component library comes in — to give developers and website owners a “mental breather” in terms of development and design.

Renowned companies such as Google, GitHub, Adobe, and Twitter have created solutions using reusable components that have stood the test of time. Let’s go over the possibilities of reusable web components, as opposed to custom web development. To see a real implication and use of a front-end UI library, we will use an example of Adobe Experience Manager CMS, and how you can enhance AEM development with reusable web components.

Custom Web Development vs. Front-End Component Library Based on Web Components

When approaching web development, you have to find balance between quality, timeframe, and price. You can either choose custom web development or employ a front-end component library. In the table below, we list the perks of each approach.

Custom Web Development Using a Web Components Library
Highly tailored to business needs. When you choose custom web development, the solution is going to reflect all your business processes. In other words, development from scratch should fit your requirements to the letter. Flexible. The good thing about pretty much any web components library is that it is framework-agnostic. You get to connect a front-end UI library of your choice to an existing infrastructure or build your solution solely on the library.
Easy to integrate with third-party services. Custom development allows you to integrate your solution with other services, empowering your business with the necessary workflows. Standardized approach. No matter which front-end UI library you choose, it should be compatible with modern browsers. This is possible due to the way web components are built. The front-end component library you select should support native HTML specifications, CSS, and JavaScript.
Scalability is there. The custom code base used for your project gives you room for growth. Whenever you want to adapt to changing trends in the market, you can easily do so by extending the functionality of your solution. Encapsulation technique. When it comes to a web components library, you can use the shadow DOM standard that isolates your components from the entire site. In other words, you can change your components or modules without affecting parts of the website you don’t want to change.
Ownership belongs to you. Your development team grants full ownership of the product to you. So you are able to decide what to do with it, which features to add, and when to terminate the product’s existence. Reusable nature. If you need to develop multiple websites or build an ecosystem using a diversified technology stack, some components will repeat constantly. With a front-end component library, you can easily share or reuse the building blocks to save a significant amount of time.
SEO-friendly. Developers create websites, following technical SEO requirements for better search engine visibility. Developers should be mindful of SEO which helps index your website and its pages well, provided they write all tags. Such tags may include alt attributes for images, metadata fields, heading tags, and more. Interoperability. You can enforce a single front-end UI library having diverse interconnected applications or a modern framework. You can easily build standard blocks across the entire ecosystem without experiencing difficulties when combining website elements.

Businesses need a website that meets their marketing purposes. Enterprise-level companies look for a reliable foundation, usually turning to a content management system (CMS). Let’s look at how a front-end component library can complement Adobe Experience Manager (AEM).

Benefits of Using a Front-End Component Library for AEM

Your ultimate goal is to build a unique AEM website that entices visitors with its imagery, animation, and interactive blocks. Having all the bespoke elements on a web page may jeopardize the website’s productivity, unless you create a workaround to avoid impacting website speed. In an AEM environment, you can employ a front-end UI library based on web components for three main reasons.

  1. AEM structure is designed in such a way that you can easily add reusable web components to develop more customized solutions. You can create pages using reusable small components, which makes web components a good choice for user interface. Web components ideally fit in with an AEM environment as far as authoring, production, and personalization.
  2. Best AEM practices recommend using AEM core components. AEM core components are made in such a way that you can replace their default implementation using a front-end UI library based on web components. In turn, it gives your site performance of new modern and light technologies.
  3. AEM becomes enhanced with a front-end UI library based on web components of your choice giving your solution speed, performance, and flexibility.

Things to Consider When Implementing a Front-End Component Library in Your AEM Project

What AEM provides out-of-the-box may not be enough. When starting from scratch is out of the question, you can take a ready-made proven basis. This is where a reliable front-end UI library makes a good addition. There are many different libraries with a different set of features.

Knowing that your project needs a front-end component library, you can choose one based on a set of criteria. Here are the essential guidelines to help you land a reliable front-end UI library.

Is the library perfect for your project?

You have to make sure that the library meets your requirements in terms of your website design system.

Is the library flexible?

The given front-end component library should give you enough freedom to play around with the visual appearance of blocks and modules on your website.

Is the library easy to use?

A great front-end library is easy to integrate with your project. Get well-acquainted with the documentation to see whether the reusable web components fit in.

Is the library full of dependencies?

A front-end component library should have little to no dependencies from other libraries. Being dependency-free will make a front-end UI library really lightweight and easy to implement.

Is the library supported by the community?

To know how reliable and trustworthy the library is, check who stands behind it. The best case scenario is when the front-end component library is supported by a company, since there are regular contributors who take care of it.

If you are hesitant or don’t know where to start with AEM development, use the professional help of our Marketing Technology Team. We’re delighted to give you all the information and become your vendor. Get in touch with our AEM experts and learn more about the custom tools Exadel Marketing Technology Team has made. A tool that we’re especially proud of is the Exadel Smart Library, or ESL for short.

Exadel Smart Library: Basic overview of the universal web components library

Exadel Smart Library is an open-source front-end component library designed to help developers across the globe quickly build attractive and responsive user interfaces. The front-end UI library based on web components is framework-agnostic and can fit any project’s needs. ESL leverages the support of all modern browsers such as Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or Edge. You get to design your own components, thanks to the syntax sugar this front-end component library provides.

What can you do for your website using the ESL front-end component library?

  • ESL can provide you with the basic building blocks, such as animations, scroll bars, menu bars, carousels, and more
  • ESL can reduce the time you spend on repetitive, tedious tasks by giving you the web components to create new website blocks quickly by means of syntax sugar
  • ESL lets you change the styles of your web components to give your site a unique look
  • The web components in ESL comply with all technical SEO requirements; so, web pages you create index well by search engines
  • Your website speed depends on how much all the elements weigh. ESL is lightweight, so it will give you a competitive advantage
  • By using ESL, you may not necessarily need a developer proficient in JavaScript since ESL was designed to cover the majority of use cases out of the box
  • ESL improves the overall code quality and standardizes implementation, bringing consistency to your project
  • The performance of your end product can achieve the best results, as the library is dependency-free and uses modern built-in technologies under the hood
  • The library is universal and could be used everywhere (from React and Angular complicated SPA to simple lightweight pages)

Front-End Component Library is the New Normal

You want a unique and attractive site created within a reasonable timeframe. You may opt for custom development or apply reusable web components. To understand which approach you need, go through your website architecture and analyze the features you need. If you see a repetitive pattern across web pages and a need to display content in an attractive way, you should choose a front-end component library to save you time and effort. If the purpose of your site is to provide a unified system for users, you might want to stick to custom web development.

Both approaches can deliver outstanding results when you have a knowledgeable development team. Get in touch with us! We can help you transform your business and increase your marketing efforts through a viable web solution.