Web Professional trends – 2016 – web development

In many ways, 2016 is shaping up to be an incredible year for changes in web development. Of course, that statement also applied to 2015, 2014; the more things change, the more they remain the same. That being said, here are some trends we see that we believe Web Professionals (particularly web developers and project managers) need to know about this year. These seem to be gaining momentum (and are the most obvious as we write this).

 

NoSSQL databases will be used more and more. Massive amounts of data (and associated analytics) are being used in applications and these applications (and analytics) are more real time than ever before. This is why we see trends like the InnoDB engine being added to MySQL. Availability and speed seem to be the focus today. For example, applications like Moodle rely more and more on InnoDB.

 

Animations are making a comeback to draw attention to parts of a page. This can be as simple as parallax scrolling or animations as one hovers over a part of a web page. Yes, CSS can be employed for some of these effects, but many will continue to rely on JS frameworks.

 

Page load speed is also becoming increasingly important. Most site visitors do not want to wait more than a few moments for a page to load. Keep in mind that we just stated animations are making a comeback (so your animations must load quickly – use CSS-3 where appropriate instead of JavaScript). Take advantage of approaches to reduce page load times (whether using a CDN [Content Delivery Network] or using GZIP to compress images and text).

 

There remain a number of language choices. For example, JavaScript and Java remain the most popular on GitHub. Make certain you are well versed in more than one (for example, JavaScript, PHP, and Python). Make certain you have examples to show to potential clients. Make certain you understand how to employ secure coding techniques in the languages you use. Details can be found at GitHub.

 

The use of containers (relying on Docker) will continue to grow. The big advantage to this approach is that one container has the dependencies to run the application. We don’t need to focus so much on the environment where the application will be deployed. This quote (from the Docker website) sums up this approach:

 

“Docker containers wrap up a piece of software in a complete filesystem that contains everything it needs to run: code, runtime, system tools, system libraries – anything you can install on a server. This guarantees that it will always run the same, regardless of the environment it is running in.”

 

Ok, what does this mean for web professionals? We already know that page load times matter. So does responsive design. We need to continue to reinforce that message to clients (and potential clients). Have a set of specific reasons why these items matter. Prepare and present your arguments using the lens of business. For example, if a page takes too long to load, it is likely our customer will go to a competitor’s website. Here is how we can reduce the load times…

 

Are you comfortable talking about NoSQL? Do you have an example of a project where you used NoSQL?  What about containers/ Docker? Can you explain these in terms a business client will understand? If not, spend some time developing basic information to share with clients. Help them understand why these trends are important. Most importantly, time is money. This is why containers are gaining in popularity so quickly. The old approach of creating virtual environments takes a lot of time (and most businesses don’t have that time to spend these days). Similarly, NoSQL is rising because of the amount of data and need to access it quickly. No, these databases may not meet all the ACID requirements. But you still need to know about them as your partners and clients will also be observing these trends (and wanting to use them in new projects this year).

 

Now is a good time to retool if you are not that familiar with these trends.

 

As an association for web professionals and those that teach, our goal is to keep you current with these trends. Also, we’re working on developing course structure on our training portal at our schoolofweb.org.

 

We hope that your new year is off to a great start.

Best always,
Mark DuBois, Community Evangelist and Director of Education

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