Posts Tagged ‘web development trends’

2014 Web Dev Predictions

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

The past few years has seen a steady increase in the number of people who are using the web as part of their daily routines, and this year the upward trend is likely to continue, especially since advancements in mobile technology is happening in such a rapid pace that there are more and more devices – much cheaper and more portable than the average laptop – that can go online and browse the web. Naturally, this also affects the web dev industry in a number of ways. While it’s still too early to be 100% sure, based on what happened for the better part of 2013 and what is expected to happen later on this year, there are a number of safe web dev predictions for the year 2014, such as:

Smartphones Will Finally Take Over

Mobile devices have long been touted as “desktop killers,” and while desktops are not going away anytime soon, the sales of smart phones have already exceeded both portables and desktops last year and are still experiencing massive growth in Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. Smartphones, for their part, have become more powerful and versatile as new ones come out. It’s not going to kill any other device right now but this year it may finally take over desktops as the most used method of accessing the internet. For web devs, this means this year will see an increasing need to take mobile users into account when designing pages.

HTML5 Web Apps Will Be More Widely Accepted

HTML5 has been around for some time now, and has proven to be a good alternative to other APIs like flash and java, but so far support has been less than expected as more devs still continue to support old tech. However, this year more native mobile app developers will be making the switch to HTML5 as it is cheaper to develop due to being cross-platform. It also has the means to provide support for different screen sizes, and provides access to various hardware functionality without being crippled by bizarre policy restrictions or extortionate charges imposed by an app store.

The Appeal of Client-Side Flash, Silverlight, and Java Will Wane

As mentioned above, HTML5 will start proving its mettle this year, resulting in other technologies like flash, silverlight, and java losing their appeal to web developers, at least as far as client-side application is concerned. Flash seems to still have a lot of life left because the advertising industry has already invested a lot in it and are still using it aggressively, but you can expect that click-throughs and revenues will start to go down.

IE12 Will Finally Be Released

A lot of people haven’t noticed it, but Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer, has actually become a viable piece of software these past few years, to the point that it can actually serve as your primary browser now and no longer need to resort to third parties (any new software dev should look at Microsoft’s case as a lesson in what not to do if you don’t want to struggle under the weight of past failures). But yes, IE is actually a really capable browser nowadays, and the development time between versions has dramatically decreased to around 12 months, so we can at least expect IE12 to come out by October, and possibly earlier if they have few essential features to add or tweak.

Opera Will Fall Out of Favor

The browser market is currently dominated by Chrome, with IE coming in at a not-so-close second. And then we have Firefox and Safari. Opera, on the other hand, is losing market share for years and it’s all coming to a head. They recently decided to switch to Google’s Blink rendering engine, but it was a case of too little, too late as Opera users have been disappointed with Opera 15+ and have started migrating to other browsers.

Page Weight Will Become a Concern

One alarming thread is the rise of page weight, with last year seeing a 30% increase in page weight in many sighs. It’s common knowledge that a slow loading page will affect both user experience and search engine ranking (Google has publicly admitted that their algorithms account for loading speeds, and there’s also the fact that unsatisfied users will result in a high bounce rate). Thankfully, this year should see the peak in page weight as more and more people start to realize that they need to trim down on their pages. Or at least, they’ll reach the limit on the amount of unnecessary fonts, widgets, libraries and images that can be added to a page.

Lastly, The Return of Machine Readable Data Feeds

Machine-readable data feeds, microdata, microformats and REST URLs are practical SEO techniques, but this year’s growth in mobile users means that these feeds have another purpose to them – make it easier for mobile devices to read and access content on your site. Mobile devices are more responsive towards content syndication over visiting individual sites, and once webmasters find out a feasible way of monetizing machine readable content, we may see a greatly renewed interest in them.