Blog posts with such names always appeal to readers: what if learning about the mistakes of others and current trends will help you boost the development of your app or improve your skills? It definitely would be great.
So in this post, as a company providing professional web development services (see our cases on Uberdoc and TAMU) we approached our engineering team and kindly asked them to give their views on their area of expertise. You're reading the outcome of this experiment.
However, as we were researching additional facts, we noticed that most of the similar articles are full of doubtful statements and simply wrong assumptions. So this time, we'll have three lists:
- What modern web development is NOT about
- Common mistakes of today's web developers
- Current and upcoming trends of web development
And then we'll wrap it up with our exclusive offer.
What web development is NOT about
We were surprised to find a lot of information about web application programming trends that either has no direct relation to the web or is no longer up-to-date. Hence we believe it’s important to comment on some of the ideas you might find in similar articles on the subject.
- Serverless architecture. This approach is great for prototyping and building apps so small they will never need further expansion and growth. And in the case of the latter, the web developer will be forced to switch from serverless to containers or API, and that switch will be quite complicated and expensive. So why start with serverless architecture in the first place?
- Motion UI. This is just a library helping to bring code for specific transitions and animations. It is one of many handy tools that saves a bit of coding time. In this case, it brings animations to your app, but that cannot be a trend. The same works for things like dark-themed UI or low-light UX – these might be trends in web app design, but they are unrelated to web development.
- Blockchain. We imagine this technology might be useful in the area of certificate authenticity checks. Other than that, it's completely irrelevant to web development.
- Internet of Things. As you know, this is an umbrella term for objects that are stuffed with electronics to exchange data with servers via the Internet. Thus you can do web development for IoT projects, but you can't use IoT for web development.
- Virtual Reality. Although it might be a current trend, say, in the gaming industry, VR will most probably never come to web development. Reasons for that? VR requires expensive equipment on the user side, and that equipment should always show huge performance for real-time rendering. So VR for the web won’t be seen as a mainstream direction – at least, not anytime soon.
- Single Page Applications. These are web apps able to update the info they show without refreshing the page. After over a decade of presence on the market, SPAs are not a trend. It's a standard. Moreover, building a single page application isn't simpler than building any other kind of apps. Compared to, say, the server-side rendering approach, you'll need to write more code to make the SPA work. The only positive productivity advantage it brings is that front-end and back-end developers can now work simultaneously.
Now, let’s move on to the mistakes modern web developers make.
Common Mistakes of Today's Web Developers
In this list, we mentioned mistakes that we’ve been making sometimes, but mostly these are the mistakes we have been finding in the existing projects that we were asked to review, improve, or update.
- Using the newest tools ASAP. The number one mistake is to think that the newest technologies and approaches guarantee you a competitive edge. Yet the new stuff is also often untested, unpredictable, and simply too risky to introduce in the actual business projects. (But using the same technologies year over year without learning anything new is also an approach too conservative to survive on the market.)
- Unscalable architecture. A mistake that we meet in every small project is its architecture that scales poorly. Yes, sometimes this approach helps deliver small apps faster, but once new requirements appear, you'll start spending inadequate amounts of time just to keep this architecture in a valid and working state. And even then you'll get duplicated code and hard-to-find bugs, and adding new components will become a pain in the neck.
- Non-responsive layout. Sometimes we find projects with web front end that are not adaptive. It is OK to neglect the mobile views for the very early versions of the web product. Yet once the mobile version requirements appear, it is always much easier to implement them if your code was initially written with the understanding of how you're going to combine your components for the mobile screens in mind.
- Overcomplicated design. It might not be the direct fault of web developers, but sometimes the approved startup website design is so sophisticated or unusual that you might be unpleasantly surprised by the cost of the implementation of that button shining with all colors of the rainbow.
- No code compression. Often, web developers forget about bundles and minification and push early development code into production. Such code works slower, is downloaded longer, and requires more traffic.
- The Debugger keyword. Every now and then our developers forget to remove the 'debugger' keyword from the code before releasing it into production. Leaving it makes the app stop if the inspector tool is opened in the browser. So if such code appears on production, it makes the app unsafe. Usually, to avoid these cases, automatic tools are set. But if they're absent or yet to be set on your project, you should keep an eye on such stuff manually.
- Superficial competence. Since new frameworks, libraries, and development approaches get adopted for business regularly, developers don't often have the opportunity to learn every nook and cranny before getting their hands on the new project. That is not a mistake, but only as long as the stakeholders or decision makers are aware of the possible risks such an approach brings.
- Single CSS. It’s a bad practice to use a single CSS for all components and pages in the app. It might seem handy at first, but as the project grows, it becomes more and more complicated to manage such code.
- Lack of team communication. It is a mistake to skip the discussion on the code writing style the team should follow, or avoid having tools like ESLint or Prettier that bring the code to that style or standard. The same thing concerns naming and coding CSS styles, though there are no tools that might help with that. At all times you should negotiate about these things prior to starting the project and follow the agreed rules and principles.
- No supported browser list. A popular mistake is to skip making the list of the supported browsers. It won't be pleasant to realize that you might spend quite an amount of time and/or money to support a browser that is rapidly getting outdated or unpopular.
Any web developer will make mistakes every now and then, that's our human nature. Yet we hope that with the list above we'll help you or your team make fewer serious mistakes in your next project.
Top 3 Web Development Trends For 2022
After a long consideration of the trends described by our web app developers, we realized we can introduce the next three trends for 2022.
1. Progressive Web Applications
To explain it simply, PWAs are web apps that utilize a set of specific technologies to bring user experiences similar or equal to the ones offered by native apps.
Such apps are installable. They have responsive design to be mobile-friendly. They are network-independent and can work offline. And last but not least, they are secure.
Now, progressive web applications have been introduced in 2018, so it is not hot new, but it is definitely a buzzword you'll continue hearing in the next few years.
However, building a Progressive Web App is not cheaper than building any other kind of web app, rather, it's the contrary. The idea behind PWAs is to deliver a native-like experience for your web app and that's that.
Check out our blog post Android Instant Apps and Progressive Web Apps: Top Mobile Technologies to Grow Your Business if you’d like to know more about PWA.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is trendy on its own, but there are lots of areas where it can be and is already applied in web development: chatbots, searches, customer experience personalization, and so on.
With artificial intelligence, a product can gain an advantage over its competitors and dramatically increase many effectiveness indicators. Just imagine the potential AI can bring in suggesting the content for further consumption after a user has read a post or watched a video.
In our web and mobile app development practice, most businesses are interested in utilizing artificial intelligence for better chatbots.
While the hype about chatbots has been gone for quite some time now, you can notice them on many sites and they are not going to go away anytime soon. This is no wonder since they offer a great opportunity to cut expenses on the support center and increase customer trust. And applying natural language processing systems to the way chatbots communicate makes them more and more indistinguishable from humans.
Of course, there's still a lot to do with this technology, but that is exactly why AI is a trend, and not yet a standard.
3. Voice search
The increasing number of voice assistants and smart speakers in households all over the world has already led to the fact that 20% of the Google App searches in 2016 were done by voice. And then, two years later, the PwC research showed people already prefer voice search over typing.
The reason why voice search is becoming trendy for development is simple: tools to implement this feature in software were not available before. And now the entrepreneurs who have lots of users navigating their web product via the search box are getting more and more interested to do and offer voice search as well.
In practice, it's not enough to set up a tool bringing voice recognition out of the box: you'll want it to perform well on the mobile platforms and understand uncommon verbal requests, synonyms, and phrases to make the user experience more pleasing and faster than the one offered by traditional search. Still, if you're able to deliver it, you'll nail the competitors.
Top 3 Web Development Trends That Will Still Be Here
While you might be looking for new ideas to implement in your app, there are also some older things that should be kept in mind. As an outsource web development company we see they are often neglected, hence the next list.
We put data security into this list simply because it should always be a trend. As security experts, we know a lot about companies being hacked, ransomed, and simply inattentive to their access policies and security practices.
And the problem is not just about the presence of evildoers somewhere out there or about the imperfectness of the development tools. Cybercriminals use sophisticated tools to monitor the Internet 24/7 for systems with breaches and vulnerabilities. The idea that you won't be hacked because nobody cares about you does no longer stand up.
So if you care about web development standards on your project, make sure they include the best fitting security practices as well: data encryption and distributed processing, input validation, access control, event logging, penetration testing, and many more.
2. Accelerated Mobile Pages
AMPs are lightweight versions of web pages that help lower page load time and bounce rate.
The technology was launched by Google in 2016. Back then people thought that it's like an API that 'strips' your site of secondary code for more convenient content consumption on the go. Later, it turned out Google simply shows the cached version of your content stored on their servers. That brings limitations such as the inability to get revenue from ads and collect analytics. Since then, many businesses have been preferring to go with a mobile-first but own website and content, even though it could’ve lowered their search rankings.
Still, AMPs are used by many major media outlets. Earlier, it was necessary to use this technology if you wanted your content to be seen in Google News, but in summer 2021 Google announced it is no longer mandatory.
And even if after so many years it might no longer be a trend, it is still an extra technology worth considering if you're launching a new web project with lots of content.
To put it simply, WebAssembly allows porting code from different languages to a virtual machine that is able to run in web browsers (but not only there) and bring near-native experience.
With WebAssembly, you can port your existing product, such as a game, a physics engine, an image editor, or a trading app, written in C/C++/Rust/Java/Kotlin/Go/C# to a web app in a short time.
Or you can use WebAssembly to expand the number of platforms your product is already available on.
The technology went public in 2017 and has been here for a while. It might not interest people thinking about building a product from scratch. But for entrepreneurs with existing businesses WebAssembly is a great opportunity to bring their old or outdated digital product to life with minimal investments.
To learn more about current state of web development, you can also check out our NodeJS or .NET: An EGO's Take on Two Best Backend Development Technologies of 2021 blog post.
But no trend, tool or crib sheet alone can make your web product reliable, secure, and generally successful. What matters most is the practical experience and expertise of your engineers in building similar products. And that is sometimes you can check only through personal communication with the candidate team for your project.
For that matter, our web development services company offers a free consultation with our experts and business analysts in your industry. If you have a project to work on, let’s discuss its possible pitfalls and opportunities and see the ways it can be done within your budget and timeframe.