As always, there is a lot going on this year in the world of programming. And when there’s a lot going on, then it is vital that you keep your finger on the pulse. That’s the only way that you can be sure that what you’re learning today is still relevant tomorrow.
This article in an attempt to help you keep that finger where you can feel the IT world’s heartbeat so that you’re in the know and don’t have to worry about what you’re learning being obsolete by the time you’ve learned it.
The Big Trends to Be Aware Of
Flash is dead. Yes, you probably already knew this, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth repeating. Most browsers now no longer like flash. Youtube has switched away from it. There are now plenty of other programs that you can use instead. And it’s a good thing because let’s face it though Flash had its moments those are all well in the past.
Browser releases speed up. Internet explorer changed its tune last year, with the Edge web browser, which now has the same quick-rate update as Firefox and Chrome. And about time too! With that update, they’ve made sure they’re going to be as up to date as the rest out there and – for them more importantly – that they’ll stop losing market share.
What it means for us is that we’ve got to be even more on our toes and make sure that what we’re programming today will still work tomorrow, while making sure to update our websites to meet the specifications and expectations of the browsers groups.
All towards the front! Business logic and web apps have been moving ever more from the backend to the front, with the backend now delegated to a simple API. This means that the frontend framework’s importance has been magnified manifold.
Changes in Languages and Platforms
Python 3.5 This much-needed update significantly boosted the usability of python three and finally meant that it was boosted over the previous version. All the libraries have been updated and improved, meaning that if you’re still running Python 2 you’re running miles behind.
PHP 7. The big news is that PHP has become more than twice as fast as the previous version – which is vitally important, as speed is everything nowadays. Want to know what else is going on? Then you can see the overview here. Of course, if you need things to be even faster, then you should take a look at HHVM, which Facebook has developed and uses. I mean, knowing what one of the biggest platforms turns on is bound to be useful in the years to come, don’t you think?
React has become a big player as well and you should take the time to get to know it and be familiar with it, particularly because Facebook has released React Native to make it easier to build tools for both android and iOS. This piece of software combines a native frontend with a React at the back end, which brings all sorts of happy benefits and good tidings.
Ember 2 brings modularity, while it takes away the deprecated features and optimized the codebase much-needed changes to make this a much better and much more useful platform. The platform is now very easy indeed to update and upgrade, which is a grand improvement and will make life a lot easier.
Vue.js is a library released last year that has made some waves, as it offers reactive components that you can use to build your interface. You’ll find that it works very similarly to React, but without the virtual DOM. It also only works in the browser.
Bootstrap has become even more popular than it already was since version 4 was released, as these have given us flexbox and integrated SASS. The best news is that it wasn’t as big of a jump as the 2 to 3 update was, so if you’re actually familiar with version 3, then you can understand version 4 with only a relatively small amount of work.
Foundation. If you don’t like Bootstrap, then consider going with Foundation. It’s got great modularity which allows you to make sure only those bits load that you want. That’s a great thing to have, as it means that it loads a great deal faster than previous versions.
MDL, the official Google framework, is another good choice. It’s a lot easier than the previous program Polymer that you might have tried (and possibly rejected). The great thing about MDL, obviously, is that is highly compatible with Google and the apps that they put out.
Sure, the backend has become less important with most of the programming moving to the front end. At the same time, there is still room for a more classical HTML-generated web app, if that’s what you’re looking for. For that reason, learning a classical full stack framework is still a good idea. But what choice should you make?
There are a lot of choices, depending on what language you like. For PHP there are, for example, Sympfony, Zend, Laravel, Slim and more. If Python is what you prefer then you can opt for Django, and Flask. Ruby, in the meantime, gives you Sinatra and Rails. Java has Play and Spark. Node.js, in the meantime, has Express, Habi, Sails.js and for Go you can go with Revel.
While we’re on the topic, check out the list of site generators that will take basic text and images and create a site out of them. They’re not yet truly competitive with a person with true programming skills, but they will be one day, so keep your eye on them so that you know what’s going on and what to watch out for.
Of course, 2017 is already here and there will be a huge number of new languages and updates that you’ll have to get familiar with. That’s the life you chose, however, when you chose to become a programmer. I personally revel in the quick changes, as it means that for anybody with a thirst for knowledge and the ability to keep up, there is a wealth of work, opportunity and potential out there.
Now, what’s not to love about that?