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 the most significant changes to the development of web applications?," here's what they told us:
- Maturity of the browser, the introduction of AI, and in-memory technology.
- The whole field is reacting to how mobile turned everything upside down. People go to a mobile platform first as opposed to identifying that one platform may be available for both mobile and web. “Mobile first” hobbles companies for the desktop environment who end up doing more work than necessary or worse, they are developing a useless app because it’s going to be used on the desktop 95% of the time.
- One thing that stands out the most is “build systems.” Traditionally, web app development was a simple text file edit with little machinery involved. But during the last few years we jumped into high-end build pipelines like Grunt, Gulp, Webpack and Babel. These technologies dramatically changed the web development landscape. New programming languages – like TypeScript, continuous integration, unit test systems, hot reloading, and CSS post-processing – are all thanks to the build-system revolution.
- Catalyst uses migration to new tech environments – standardization on a tech stack with the move to the cloud. Each environment focuses on standardization across the stack. Movement to cloud environments like AWS and platforms like Heroku.
- Definitely, the increasing set of tools for all budget ranges, and we also see companies moving from using the web as an intranet noncritical thing to a mission critical piece.
- We’re seeing a big shift towards client-side applications in modern frameworks. Now the front-end has its own structure and discipline, whereby we are receiving and presenting on the front-end. The client side can become more sophisticated for an improved user and developer experience. Backends are providing data instead of rendering views. Modern front-end frameworks are so powerful with MVC built in.
- We’re moving quicker. Microservices are prominent. There are new architectural patterns. When we serve content around microservices there is a lot of interest in the topic.
- Design sprints allow us to work faster. The advent of greater support standards and APIs. Documentation, payment processing, and subscription management are already handled. Marketing is important to our clients. The REST standard has led to easy integration. Build tools that are available now are incredible, as are frameworks like PHP, Python, and Java. It’s easy to get started and obey the standards. We’re active in a community that builds tools enabling developers to be lazy.
- With the advanced software stacks, development of any kind, but especially of web applications, became extremely popular. As an answer to the new demand, tools have become extremely easy to use and many almost like the 20th century magic “write the code for you.” That’s exactly what Jitterbit is all about— we allow less technical folks to design and deploy complete and powerful solutions.
- Computing has come full circle from a dumb terminal to a smart terminal world with architectural similarities. Devices are likely to have gyroscopes and accelerometers that feed into AR and VR. Marrying the device to the server will be interesting. It’s easy to imagine how AR will work with native apps versus web apps.
- Web applications are becoming increasingly sophisticated and more data-intensive. Organizations are focused on adding more advanced data visualization capabilities, such as D3 (data-driven documents), and data analytics capabilities to applications to help application users improve their decisions.
What do you consider to be the most significant changes to the development of web applications?