To gather insights on the state of web application development today, we spoke to 13 executives from 12 companies developing web applications or providing web application development tools to their clients.
Specifically, we spoke to:
Samer Fallouh, Vice President, Engineering and Andrew Turner, Senior Solution Engineer, Dialexa | Anders Wallgren, CTO, ElectricCloud | Brent Sanders, CEO, Fulton Works | Charles Kendrick, CTO, Isomorphic Software | Ilya Pupko, V.P. of Product Management, Jitterbit | Faisal Memom, Product Marketing, NGINX | Bruno Correa, IT Coordinator, Ranstad Brazil | Craig Gering, Vice President, Engineering, Sencha | Joachim Wester, Founder, Starcounter | Michael Morris, CEO, Topcoder | Greg Law, CEO, Undo | Alexey Aylarov, CEO, Voximplant
When we asked them, "What are your biggest concerns around the development of web applications today?," here's what they told us:
- Desktop sabotage of applications. Smarter browsers. Apple is a big force. If the average developer knew how the game was played people would be very angry. Smartphone and desktop platforms,
- Security is still a big issue. Websites don’t default to SSL. As we have more IoT devices, security becomes even more important as these devices become part of our personal lives.
- The speed at which technology changes is perhaps the biggest concern for web app development right now. It’s so darn difficult for developers to stay current when new technology becomes old and is being replaced within half a year. This greatly slows down expertise accumulation for most developers. We need to somehow balance “new” and “stable” things, without drastic changes and “complete replacements.”
- Breaking changes introduced by new versions of consumed frameworks can be a nightmare. With OutSystems we don’t have to deal with it.
- There’s a lack of planning upfront. People choose the tools they are comfortable with rather than the ones that are best suited to meet the demands of the job. While the frontend is separate from the backend, they still need to talk to each other. Automate testing for the frontend. This is not widely adopted yet. The contract between the frontend and the backend needs to be tested. Other concerns with frontend browser support enabled more sophisticated and evolved leads to challenges and bottlenecks because browser support can enable and advance or limit performance. We need more standardization across browsers. Much better in 2016 than 2014 yet there are still nuances across browsers and different versions of browsers.
- Complexity. More people are online. Need to be able to scale, especially sensor data. How to handle the additional users and use cases in a scalable, elegant manner?
- Security. The “Web Application Hacker’s Handbook” is still applicable today. Security is an afterthought for a lot of clients. As we continue to abstract out, we need to increase our focus on security since everyone relies on the internet and expects their PII (personal identifiable information) to be protected. As you move fast, don’t forget about security.
- Security is by far the biggest concern and a true threat, especially as we are definitely replacing more and more of the “offline” apps with their web counterparts.
- A lot of software and apps out there are not very good. Web apps are behind mobile apps. They need to work well off line – more than just a website. Is this an interactive website or a web app? Work well offline, responsive across devices.
What's your biggest concern around the development of web applications?