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The Future of Web Development?




Web Development is a fairly new industry of constant and rapid change and trends — This article will briefly discuss “the future of web development” or a predicted future of web development, rather, based off past and present web, design, and development trends. In order to make a prediction of where it may progress we should discuss its history and where it derived, we will delve briefly into where Web Development first came from, and how it’s changed since that short time bringing us to what we have today, it will then, attempt, based off of research to predict the state of Web Development after 2018. It’s important to also analyze what the future of the internet, as a whole, may look like in order to understand where it may go. Let’s recap on what Web Development is; “Anything from a plain text page online to a complex robust social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter is the work of Web Developers. When it comes to big websites, however, Analysis plays an important part in the outcome of the project. Developers are in charge of technical analysis of the project, which involves a large amount of thinking, discussion and planning between the team members and the client.” exclaims  Kyle Serebour in his article titled ‘Information Technology (IT) vs. Web Development – What’s the difference?’


A History of the Web


Where did it all begin with Web Development? We know it all boils down to the creation of the internet, but for brevity we’ll start with the first commonly known browser adoption of the early 90s, Mosaic browser. We all know “the browser” controls most of the web world and how it’s processed and rendered to the public. So, we’ll start with Mosaic browser,  “In November 1993, Mosaic v 1.0 broke away from the small pack of existing browsers by including features—like icons, bookmarks, a more attractive interface, and pictures—that made the software easy to use and appealing to “non-geeks.” described the University of Illinois and Urbana-Champaign on their website at Mosaic was by no means the “first” internet browser, however it was the first to adopt a nice user-friendly interface, enough that, which allowed it to be the first digestible browser by the mainstream crowd alas making it the first popular or mainstream internet browser. So, Mosaic pertaining to Web Development; one of Mosaics biggest feats beyond the easy interface was its creation and use of the HTML image tag, allowing developers to drop in an HTML image tag and have the image included and loaded into the webpage, inline, as opposed to prior browsers which just allowed hyperlinks to images. “NCSA Mosaic made it possible for images and text to appear on the same page. It also featured a graphical interface with clickable buttons that let users navigate easily and controls that let users scroll through text with ease. Another innovative feature was the new form of hyperlink. In earlier browsers hypertext links had reference numbers that the user typed in to navigate to the linked document. The new hyperlinks allowed the user to simply click on a link to retrieve a document. NCSA Mosaic was also a client for earlier protocols such as FTP, NNTP, and gopher.” as described on the website The next best browser to discuss after Mosaic, comes Netscape Navigator, which was actually an extension of Mosaic. Netscape had some huge feats in terms of  Web Development such as Displaying a Web page as it loads, using JavaScript for interactive pages and web forms, and using cookies to keep session data.


More History on the Browsers


After Netscape’s real notable success, this eventually triggered what many refer to as the ‘browser wars’, which basically occured when Microsoft wanted a piece of the pie and thought Netscape wasn’t anything on their product’s ambition, Internet Explorer. “The browser wars originally referred to a period of intense competition between Netscape and Microsoft over which web browser would come to dominate the market. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) lagged Netscape’s Navigator technically for much of the browser war period, but was given to users as a bundled product with the Windows operating system. Microsoft ended up winning the browser wars, and IE came to dominate the market in the 1990s.” stated vividly in the simple Technopedia article at Although, I.E. wasn’t technically the better browser or product (at least at first) it’s marketing initiatives crushed Netscape in this first round of Browser Wars. At the time of IE’s inception with the first version of I.E. 1, there was said to be just 20 basic HTML tags. We know that with IE’s progression toward the present version of I.E. 11, there has been a few more rounds of the browser wars, during – such as with noteable Mozilla Firefox, and more recently legendary Google Chrome. One of firefox’s neat feats, among many, was the creation of ‘Firebug’ which basically allows developers to debug, and sort of develop and modify code right within the web browser. (For brevity we will disregard Opera because it wasn’t that popular, and it also ruins lives). One easy example of flat out browser progression, take I.E. 6 for instance which ultimately was built so poorly developers had to write extra code and put much more effort into getting small things to render within the browser, such as transparent .pngs or simple rounded corners “Although it dominated the market, IE 6 was named one of the 25 worst tech products of all time by PC World.”. Comparing I.E. 6 to just about any version of Chrome for instance that allowed for much easier implementation, as well as smoother feature rendering such as pertaining to newer and lighter animation and graphics techniques.


What can this mean for Web Tech?


So, what does all this Browser History talk have to do with the progression of Web Technologies? Well, simple, the browsers are the gateways to to the web, as they progress and compete with each other for consumers, which alas pushing to create new feature rich products while simultaneously progressing the web and web development world in the process. The browsers will continue to push for a better user experience and find new and innovative ways to display information across all devices and internet connected gadgets. When discussing Web Development and technologies, HTML certainly pops to mind fast “From its simple start as an online subset of SGML through political maneuverings of the huge browser companies to its current piecemeal – but growing – compatibility, the language has weathered a storm of growth, abuse, and innovation.” wrote Jeffrey Veen in his early article titled ‘A Brief History of HTML’ on the topic within Wired Magazine. Outside of HTML, another hugely progressed technology, CSS. CSS has came along way and became very powerful just during the last 6 or 7 years. It started as a simple way to separate presentation from content and then became a way to support designs across multiple devices and browsers, such as mobile. It allowed replacing more clunky JavaScript code to create simple hover and animations, and to doing other basic scripting within SASS (CSS preprocessor).  Last, but certainly not least, Javascript – how did we get where were at today with JavaScript? Here’s a quick look at JavaScripts timeline “Timeline: Roughly 1996 – 2004. Innovations: JavaScript itself, XHR & AJAX.” followed by “Timeline: Roughly 2004 – 2010. Innovations: Robust DOM Manipulation, Early Single-Page Apps” then the “Timeline: Roughly 2010 – 2014. Innovations: MVC-like frameworks, Bi-Directional Data Flow, DOM ‘Automagic’” then bringing us to today at “Timeline: Roughly 2014 – Present. Innovations: Virtual DOM, Single Direction Data Flow, Types, Testing’ as described in the thorough article on the topic titled ‘A Brief, Incomplete History of JavaScript’ by Christopher Buecheler.


What are Trends?


When thinking about Web Development “trends”, I know a big one that I have experienced in Web Development around the 2012 era, give or take a little, the large ‘Responsive Design’ trend correlating to CSS3 techniques to completely “respond” a web page or web application to a huge multitude of device resolutions. Another large trend I’m noticing today is the progression of JavaScript as an end-to-end programming language, from what I can remember it was more so initially a client-side interactive scripting languages, but is now about full-stack web capable with creation of things like node.js as well as the ever emerging frameworks such as angular.js and vue.js. “Even with new languages like Elm, Reason, PureScript, and ClojureScript, these still compile to JavaScript which runs in your browser. Firefox and Chrome have made great strides in improving the speed and efficiency of JavaScript in 2017, so it’s safe to say JavaScript itself isn’t going anywhere.” wrote Daniel Borowski in his article ‘The Future of JavaScript Will Be Less JavaScript’.


What can we predict from this?


Based off of the past what I’d predict about the future of Web Development would be an industry with a big focus on scripting languages and the ever emerging frameworks such as the current state of single page application JavaScript. Cross device and platform optimization would continue to exist, but likely some programming languages such as HTML and potentially PHP may fade due to automation and framework trends. Websites and web applications would become a lot more robust and way less static in functionalities. If tech giants like Facebook and Google get their wishes regarding a more ‘channelized’ internet, this would drastically change Web Development and the techniques and languages used to program. Also, depending on the adoption of newer system technologies such as ‘blockchain’ there will be a niche subset of programming languages and skills trended. “Started by Facebook and Google, artificial intelligence is applied in more and more apps these days allowing devices to think and act more like humans. The basic AI example is face recognition, which is widely used in Facebook photo tagging. The importance of AI is explained by the fact that it allow devices to act independently aka without manpower and this leads to increased efficiency, accuracy and overall better user experience.” writes Dmitry Budko Bud in his blog article titled ‘Web Development Trends 2017’.




So, my final thoughts on where will Web Development go into the future?  It really depends on the base technologies of the web and where they go, such as the future of browsers. Data will certainly be king. It will greatly depend on what other digital technologies take off and are adopted such as blockchain and other crypto ideologies. It depends on the future of the internet and if the tech giants take it over. “Smart services, which use artificial intelligence to help us better manage our workloads, will likely contribute to a less cluttered, more streamlined online world where email overload and scheduling headaches are a thing of the past.” wrote Chris Baraniuk in his BBC article ‘What will the internet look like in 2040’ with his take on the subject. It really depends on the progression of automation and A.I., but HTML and many simple languages would likely die off and a few scripting languages, like JavaScript would remain supreme. Environments and web application functionalities will become a lot more complex. “Progressive web apps are web applications that can appear to users like a mobile application but are truly web pages or websites. They take advantage of the host of features on web browsers but deliver an app-like user experience. There are numerous advantages to this technology such as the ability to work offline, near-instant loading (as much of the information is stored in the cache), reliability and the ability to receive push notifications. They can be built in less time, work for any user and are generally easier to deploy and maintain, all of which are beneficial to developers and consumers alike.” wrote Ken Braun confirming my thoughts in his Forbes article titled ‘Eight Web Development Trends Coming In 2018’.


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About the Author
Cameron Cashwell Web Developer
I build websites, web apps, and software. Wanna work together? Let's chat about your project!

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