7 ways web application development is changing

EducationSummary: As web application development evolves, it’s playing an increasingly important role in the business world. More and more, application development directly contributes to a company’s competitive advantage. How has web application development changed, and where is it going? Learn more in this article.

Web application development is evolving. Development standards are changing. New tools and libraries emerge on a (seemingly) daily basis.

The big question: Why should businesses care about these changes?

As businesses rely on the web more and more, application development plays an increasingly important role in sustainability. According to a Forrester study, “The software you deploy, and especially the custom software you create, will increasingly be part of your competitive edge.”

The fact is, web application development is evolving, and these changes have a significant impact on the business world. How has development changed recently, and where is it going? Today, let’s explore a few ways development is changing, and how you must adapt.

1. More hardware diversity

photo credit: miniyo73 via photopin cc

photo credit: miniyo73 via photopin cc

Over the past few years, we’ve seen smartphones and tablets explode in both the consumer and business world. This led to the growth of responsive design. Your web applications must now adapt to various screen sizes and interfaces.

Going forward, this trend is only expanding. We’re seeing a new wave of “smart” devices, like watches, glasses, TVs, and more.

What does this mean for development? As explained below, these changes force developers to rethink their development approach.

“Recently, and ongoing, screen sizes and resolutions have changed from the past,” says Marie Sonder, Web Designer and Developer at EZSolution. “You used to be able to just design for a desktop and the different browsers, but now it comes down to all the different screen sizes and resolutions. It forces the developer to determine the hierarchy and what’s most important; like logo, phone, navigation, etc.

Speeds of devices are all different. While smartphones and tablets are getting better, they still don’t have the processing power and memory that a power desktop has. It makes the developer have to code differently and make sure everything is clean to get the best page load time possible.

Lastly, touchscreen functionality makes a huge difference. You have less “mouse-overs” to get more information, so you have to make it obvious where buttons and certain places are that you are calling for action. They need to be more visible, have some color, and stand out in some way so you know there is an action to be made there from a touchscreen. Again, hierarchy comes into play so that you focus on what is most important, and what needs to stand out and be actionable.”

2. Increasing focus on security

While web app usability and interfaces improved over the last few years, security lagged behind. How bad is it? A recent study found that 96% of all web applications contain at least one ‘serious vulnerability.’

What does this mean for development? Going forward, we’re seeing a greater emphasis on application security. Developers must become well-versed in proper security standards, and make it their top priority.

“The biggest change coming is the pressure for super-high quality applications is going to outweigh the need for development speed,” says Alan Willett, President at Oxseeker Inc. “Cyber-attacks are increasing in number and sophistication. The ramifications of failing to protect from those attacks to the developers of these applications is great financial hardship which will just become worse as the scale continues to grow. This will force developers to rethink the practices they believe are giving them speed but instead are leaving wide open barn doors for the pirates to walk in.”

3. Greater emphasis on tools

Web app development is becoming more complex, requiring an ever-increasing number of skills. Developers must understand architecture, security, databases, front end layout, and more.

As a result, we’re seeing a greater emphasis on tools. We’re seeing new libraries, frameworks, and tools emerge that not only improve productivity, but also fill in the skills gaps for developers.

photo credit: TiBine via pixabay cc

photo credit: TiBine via pixabay cc

“Web development tooling, or, tools to make your job as a web developer easier, was ignored for a long time,” says Skyler Slade, Co-founder and CTO of Tandem. “With so many developers switching to web development in the past several years, the mindshare and talent is now focused on making web developers’ lives easier. Tools help you automate a lot of manual work. For example, image “spriting” where different images would be combined into one single file to so that they’ll download quicker. Previously this had to be done by hand, using a tool like Photoshop. Now, using automation tools like Grunt, this process can be completely automated. This saves hours of time. Automation tools can also correct syntax mistakes, format your code to a standard, and a whole host of other things.”

4. More focus on user experience

When mobile apps became popular among consumers, something changed. Users learned to expect the simple, intuitive interfaces found in their mobile apps.

This has serious ramifications for developers. As user expectations change, the user experience becomes critically important. Developers who don’t provide simple, intuitive interfaces will struggle with user adoption.

“As web app development has matured, the focus on making web apps easier to use has grown,” says Mark Calkins, VP Development at Bluehost.com. “Quite a bit of web app development now starts with UI design and even better with user experience testing to provide a simpler, more intuitive user experience.”

5. Greater demand for APIs

photo credit: Horia Varlan via photopin cc

photo credit: Horia Varlan via photopin cc

In the past, businesses ran all of their software in-house. Now, that’s changing. More businesses are opting for SaaS options that address specific needs. They might use one service for CRM, another for collaboration, and may build their own reporting applications.

What does this mean for developers? Your applications must provide a way to communicate and integrate with other applications. This is why we’ve seen such rapid growth in application programming interfaces (APIs)–a trend that will gain steam in the coming years.

“Everyone wants to integrate with various systems,” says Konstantin Mirin, Founder of IQRIA. “Your customers may have systems in place and you need to provide an API for that. If you keep this in mind from the very beginning, the best way to address it is API-centric architecture.

6. Rich interactivity

We’re already seeing a strong push towards web applications that behave more like native applications. However, this push towards faster and more powerful web applications requires a shift in development methods.

What does this mean for developers? We’re seeing a shift from server-side development to client-side development. As browsers become more powerful, much of the traditional server-side work is now moving to the client side.

“The trend is towards rich, interactive clients using frameworks like Angular.js,” says Slade. “Because of faster JavaScript engines like Chrome’s V8, and frameworks to take advantage of them, a lot of the processing that would traditionally be done on a backend server can now be handled directly in the user’s browser. This makes for a much more pleasant user experience, where, for example, data analysis and visualization can be done in real-time, right in the user’s browser window.”

7. Real time applications

As we move towards web applications that behave natively, a new trend has emerged: Real-time web apps. These are web apps that can communicate with the server and update the application without a page refresh.

What does this mean for developers? As explained below, the push towards real-time web apps opens up some great possibilities. This is a trend we will see more and more in the coming years.

“Building real time applications used to be quite difficult,” says Calkins. “Now, with Node.js and Socket.io, building real time apps has been simplified by an order of magnitude. This is great for instant messaging, chat, real time document collaboration and editing, real-time analytics and a number of other apps. Trello, Yammer, Zendesk and many others are using Socket.io to create real time apps.”

So, what do you think? Is there anything you would add to this list? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments.

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19 thoughts on “7 ways web application development is changing

    1. NIT provides custom software application development services to clients across the globe to help organizations achieve their mission-critical goals. Off-the-shelf products seldom meet client needs completely, and working with NIT allows clients to create their own solutions in a cost-effective and efficient way.

  1. Nice article! The 7 ways of web application development is really good and informative, i implement these changes to my sites. Keep on sharing, thanks for the post.

  2. Really very nice article. All tips are good. Any web application is designed for users so it should be easy to use not too much complex. Security is also one of the main aspect, because users want their data should be secure as well the business man also wants same.

  3. Thanks for sharing these tips to boost web application development. It will help developers to build apps that offer better user experience and make it easy for a company to deliver customized solutions for end users.

  4. Nice blog! Thanks for sharing the post about web application, the new 7 ways of changing web development is good and very useful. Users always try to get different ways. Keep on sharing.

  5. Grate Article! There are different ways of web application developments are present, the above 7 ways are very interesting and informative. Please read the article. Thanks for sharing the information.

  6. we manufacture word class warehouse automation systems, including all types of conveyors, elevators, cranes, goods lifts, hydraulic and pneumatic equipment with IN-HOUSE expertise for complete turnkey projects. The Organization has necessary internal and extended resources to satisfy customer requirements of quality, cost and time.

  7. Building real time applications used to be quite difficult,” It is true
    but Online web applications help make business well-organized and boost your work productivity. The main reason of a web application is to create user-friendly interface with a set of tools for your customers and clients to put exact data with little amount of work. Instant real time updates automatically with proper web application and customer do not have to install it; they can use your custom application product. Custom web applications can automate several tasks, which save your valuable time on repetitive tas

  8. Web application development platforms are quite effective in the long run as well. There are many problems that entrepreneurs face. These platforms save time that can be invested elsewhere and eventually amount in greater profitability. These are especially helpful for startups that need to cut down their costs with fresh and feasible methods.

    Marcus Miller, Manager// http://enterprisemonkey.com.au/

  9. The Technology is all about change, every now and then technology are changing so we should be updated.
    By the way a unique content i have read it

  10. One major change i’ll see, and are already starting to see, is a change in how we use the web. There will no longer be a major focus on the browser, but more of a focus on the user experience. Expert at Raindrops Infotech are committed to go a step ahead to maintain your website the way and format you want, swiftly and seamlessly.

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