To gather insights on the state of web application development today, we spoke with 12 executives who are familiar with the current state of the industry and asked them, "What’s the future of web applications from your point of view - where do the greatest opportunities lie?" Here's what they told us:
- Collaborative development tools. Currently, web-based collaboration ends at the mockup phase. We see room for technologies that allow a team to collaboratively develop an application up to the point of implementing multiple screens and transitions, data entry and validation rules, conditionally shown components, simple workflows, and other standard interactions, *before* developers go into an IDE and start writing code.
- Capabilities with APIs, smooth UX, web platforms consistent across devices with the realization that there will be more devices. UI/UX testing with Selenium. Make it as simple as possible. Despite the complexity, at the end of the day, it’s still an HTTP request and response in a simple Perl application.
- We’ll get better at cross-platform. Ultimately, we’ll have frameworks that enable us to build once and run everywhere but we’ll start with the lowest common denominator which won’t make anyone happy. Web applications will not go away though they may become industry specific.
- The ability to coordinate all of the different variables that can affect web applications to ensure they are synchronized before they are presented to the end user. Automated deployment and visual testing and monitoring supports the entire digital transformation.
- Building apps to serve end users. Provide a great UX wherever and whenever the user wants to interact. Banks have realized the need to do this. New interfaces with phones, Alexa, and Siri. 67% of apps are gone after one use. Make sure the engagement is simple and the performance is good. Recognize the business goals before developing a new app versus tuning an existing app. Analyze where the app is failing and how much it is hurting your business. Know how the app is performing for each user.
- API first. Everything is backed by a public facing API. No breaking changes as we move forward. Smoother accomplishment of the goal of plugging email into the enterprise system easily.
- There are opportunities in certain sectors, like retail, to leverage AR and VR. Experiences will be more immersive. This will increase the motivation and attack vectors for hackers. The only way to catch up is with automation, orchestration, and AI.
- Progressive web application technology. The web app experience is the same as the native app experience without the negative drawbacks. The barrier to entry is development and installation. Emerging technologies are being adopted by the browsers. This will free developers from platforms and app stores.
- Orchestration with IDE more and more as add-on functions to third-party applications like Salesforce. Incrementally adding things to what customers are already using.
- Web applications are becoming common as the internet matures. To stay relevant as technology evolves it becomes imperative to increase intelligence. Applications that implement machine learning to understand the patterns of their users hold significant potential for maintaining usefulness, enhancing the user experience, and providing growth potential.
- Making microservices with better integration with other systems moving beyond self-hosted to cloud-hosted so they can scale. Stronger standards for REST.
- Nobody knows for sure where the future of web applications lies -- whether it’s voice controls, chatbots, artificial intelligence, AngularJS, ReactJS, or augmented reality. By choosing a model-driven platform, you can future-proof your web application development effort, adopt new technologies easily, and own the future – whatever it brings.
What do you see as the future of web application development?
Here’s who we spoke to:
- Matt Chotin, Senior Director of Developer Initiatives, AppDynamics
- Michael Beckley, CTO, Appian
- Gil Server, CEO, Applitools
- Mike Kail, CTO, CYBRIC
- Kevin Bridges, CTO, Drud
- Anders Wallgren, CTO, Electric Cloud
- Jim McKeeth, Developer Advocate, Embarcadero
- Lucas Vogel, Founder, Endpoint Systems
- Charles Kendrick, CTO, Isomorphic Software
- Mark Brocato, Engineering Director, Sencha
- Cole Furfaro-Strode, Lead Software Engineer, SparkPost
- Pete Chestna, Director of Developer Engagement, Veracode