2017 Web Development Digital Trends Predictions

Web development has got to be included in one of the fastest changing sectors in the world, so trends come and go faster than you can blink. I had learned Angular on my to-do list last year and then Angular 2 was released in beta, which changed things. .NET and Linux:  At Connect 2016, Microsoft announced the upcoming partnership it has made with the Linux foundation.  This new partnership combined with the latest releases of Visual Studio that will work on MACs and Linux shows the first glimpses of a potentially fundamental shift in how CMS systems could be developed. When everything gets released properly, and CMS software like Umbraco and Episerver get around to supporting this, the way we think about hosting will fundamentally change.  It will no longer be a case of what version of Windows/Azure you'll pick to host your website, Linux could be a serious consideration.  Companies that traditionally would only consider software that was open-source, or would only run on their existing Linux boxes, will now be able to consider .NET as a language to solve their needs.  This should create a lot of extra work and opportunities for people.  As .NET CMS systems will be considered by a larger market share of companies, .NET developers who only know IIS may need to dust off their Linux books, otherwise they are limited in the future.  Things like caching, security, deployment, testing etc.. could massively change depending on which environment you want to host with. As Linux boxes are cheaper to run than their MS counterparts, I'm assuming a lot of clients will want to use Linux boxes to host their websites, although how quickly the CMS companies will provide support for this is still unknown. 'The Cloud':  I've written favourably about Umbraco Cloud before, as a relatively new offering, I think it's pretty great. Over 2017 I definitely think it will gain more momentum and more clients will start to use it.  With the price tag, ease of setting up and upgrading it, it definitely starts to make Umbraco a consideration to people who previously would have needed a developer to do everything for them.  This simplicity of setting it up should bridge the gap for people who are only considering Wordpress and Umbraco in terms of costs and hosting.  For a relatively small cost, having dedicated hosting and not having to rely on shared hosting makes Umbraco even more favourable.  For a large organisation, I don't think Umbraco Cloud provides that much more than they could do it alone, for smaller clients I definitely think this is a game changer. Less Server Side Code/More Front-end Code:  Over the last few years, more and more code and logic are being stripped out of the backend and being replaced by an API and some front-end code to access it.  For most organisations, decoupling their website to use a micro-service/SOA architecture is a no brainer.  Deployments become less risky as you only need to release a single service, not a whole application.  It makes life easier to replace services and providers as the changes are made in small isolated areas. If you look at the open tickets being raised at Stackoverflow and you can see frameworks like react, ember, angular are dramatically increasing.  I've heard distant rumours that some of the CMS providers are considering API services, rather than the traditional back-end code they provide.  In this instance, pages could be rendered as single-page apps and all page data is populated from JS.  Keystone JS, is one of the first JS only CMS systems available.  Over 2017 this is a definite trend that will continue. If you've come from a classic back-end server side development history, then this is the year that you need to add to learn a JS framework into your new year's resolutions.  The longer you put this off the more behind the curve you'll be. HTTP2:  HTTP2 will carry on getting more adoption over 2017.  As of writing, Azure still doesn't support HTTP2 and the only way for a .NET website to leverage it, is to use traditional hosting with Windows Server 2016.  Most companies will wait until they upgrade their websites etc.. until they undertake this over. As more companies start adopting HTTP2 this will bring a change in architecture.  For those who don't know, the reason why HTTP2 was introduced was to overcome a limitation of HTTP, which is only able to download HTTP requests synchronically.  Due to this limitation, over the past few years, the focus was towards combine CSS files, combine JS files etc... to reduce the number of requests a page had to make.  In the future, as websites will work faster with smaller/multi files, how CSS and JS will need to be tweaked to be performant. Video Becomes King:  Web trends isn't all about the heavy tech and programming languages.  To launch and maintain a popular website, you need to have good content.  In terms of content, it seems a lot of focus is being put on video at the moment.  Over the past 6 months, I've had at least 10 video agencies contact me, to see if I needed any video content.  Looking at the ADbode web trends reports, video content is ranked highly in their list, so I'm guessing.  They say a picture paints a thousand words, but a video does that tenfold. A video is nothing new, but with continual advances in things like fiber-optic broadband etc..  makes video more appropriate.  All of us watch TV as it's a great medium, useful for story-telling and getting a message across quickly.  Video has several advantages over content, people can listen to your website as a background task.  Hubspot, a leading online marketing company has gone so far to predict that by 2018, 79% of all internet traffic will be video.  Video also make perfect sense for mobile.  When you have small screens instead of having to scroll and squint to read content, a full-screen video is easier to get a message across. If you’re not convinced that video is the way to go for 2017, you may have to re-think your strategy, or face falling behind!  

Jon D Jones

Software Architect, Programmer and Technologist Jon Jones is founder and CEO of London-based tech firm Digital Prompt. He has been working in the field for nearly a decade, specializing in new technologies and technical solution research in the web business. A passionate blogger by heart , speaker & consultant from England.. always on the hunt for the next challenge

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