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Current Big Trends in Web Development

Monday Jul 8th 2019 by Bradley Jones

There are a number of big trends that are impacting how you develop web sites. How many of these are you already doing?

The world of web development continues to evolve and move at a fast pace. There are several web development trends that have been happening over the years and a few newer ones that are growing in popularity. I've listed 10 areas that that are impacting web development. All of these seem to be increasing in popularity.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming critical in both standard and Web development. AI is being used in a variety of ways ranging from assessing what your users are doing, to inferring what should be done, to predicting what should happen next on your site, to taking data and processing it for things like voice and speech, to generating and controlling actions being taken by your users. Adding more intelligence to your sites can help to not only customize the site for each users but drive better interactions for delivering your desired results.

Bots and ChatBots

One of the big uses of AI is the creation of Bots. Bots are simply automated tasks that can be executed from the Internet. This can be an interactive agent that answers a user's questions without the need of human intervention, a service that provides customized information to your site based on actions the user has already performed, or much more.

Enriched User Interfaces (Motion UI)

The web continues to evolve. While technologies like WebVR could be years in the future, static images and basic animated images are now relegated to yesteryear. Today's users expect more enriched, engaging user interfaces that include graphics that interact within the textual content providing user experiences that entertain as much as inform. While this might seem counter productive for some content sites, it is becoming necessary in order to stand out and keep the attention of the visitors. This can also be accomplished with features such as fading, scaling of content as it enters or leaves, hinging content, and more.

An Avoidance of Mixed Content

An avoidance of mixed content is one of the keys towards a more secure site and user experience. When you load a site across an HTTPS connection, you should ensure that all links and assets being loaded are also being pulled across secured (HTTPS) connections and not standard HTTP connections. All HTML resources on the page need to be just as secured as the main page.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

Progressive web apps (PWAs) focus on providing a fast and reliable web experience. PWAs work to avoid cache and other issues while providing top rate functionality and speed. Using "service workers" PWAs load near instantly. This is done with client-side JavaScript that can pre-cache key information so as to reduce the dependence on the network.
Some of the characteristics of PWAs include:

  • Site is served over HTTPS
  • Pages use responsive design
  • URLs from a page are loaded in advance to allow them to be available offline
  • All pages have a URL
  • An avoidance of mixed content

Responsive Web Sites

Responsive web sites is a topic that has been a top trending topic for web development for many years. It continues to be critical. More importantly, the needs for responsiveness continue to expand, thus keeping the topic on the top trending list.
In the past, it has been stated that your site needs to be responsive by adapting to various browsers as well as devices such as desktops, tables, and mobile devices. This need to expand continues as browsers start adjusting for technologies such as Virtual Reality and as devices expand into areas such as IoT. As a result of IoT, your site could now appear on a variety of different devices ranging from simple watches to refrigerators. Screen shapes and sizes continue to evolve to where you need to adjust your presentation for super small or super large displays.

Single Page Applications

Single page applications (SPAs) or single page sites, are exactly that - single pages. Instead of doing multiple page loads for a site, all of the information and files (such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS) are brought down at once or through background processes so that the website can operate like a single, dynamic page without having the delays of reloading pages. The intent is to provide the user with a quicker, more seamless experience.

Continued Use of JavaScript and Frameworks

While many languages have been used to develop web sites, the use of JavaScript still dominates web development. This includes the use of the various JavaScript frameworks that are used in speeding up development. These include top frameworks such as Angular-JS, React.JS, Vu.js, Ember.js, Backbone.js, and many more.

Pushing and Pulling

In the mobile app world, it is extremely common for applications to let you pull information, but they can also push information to their users. This same functionality is increasing in popularity on web sites as well. Rather than waiting for users to come back to your site to get information, you push notifications to the user. Such notifications can let a user know when something new is posted or when something has changed. Simply put, notifications allow you to push information to your users after they've left your site.

Virtual Reality

I'm a fan of Virtual Reality, so I've included it on this list! The reality is, frameworks to apply virtual reality to your web site, such as WebVR, do exist and continue to grow, even if at a slow pace. Additionally, browsers are being adapted to support VR devices. This includes Chrome and Firefox Reality.

I've listed ten web development trends that are happening in the web development space. I consider these to be among the biggest being applied at this time. There are other areas that are trending as well including cyber security, blockchain, voice search, machine learning, and web assembly. If there are other areas you believe are trending more than what I've listed, comment below and share your thoughts!

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