Being a developer isn’t just about knowing how to write code. A huge part of it is keeping up with web development trends in your area to stay at the cutting edge. This is our run-down of what to look out for in 2022.
With each passing year, the web has been getting more and more ingrained in our daily lives. We use it for everything, from banking to reading the news to inexplicably getting groceries delivered to our doors in minutes. With the pandemic forcing even more of our lives online, the demand for web development talent is as high as ever, and the scope of what programmers can do is huge.
If you’re only learning about this world and you’ve learned what a web developer actually does as part of their day-to-day job, this could be a good way of getting clued in about what’s hot right now. As the year draws to an end, I can’t help but wonder what next year will have in store for us. Will the web weave its way into even more areas of our life, filling it with even more confusing buzzwords that we have to pretend to understand?
Here’s my list of the top web development trends that I think will reshape the tech landscape in the next while:
The biggest web development trends at the moment
1. Artificial intelligence
Whenever you talk about the future of technology, artificial intelligence (AI) is always high on the agenda. But right now, I think it is actually justified. A lot of advances have been made in the field of AI in the last year.
AlphaGo, a program built by Google DeepMind, became the first program to beat a professional Go player. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Go is up there are one of the easiest coding languages to learn right now.
Some of the biggest tech companies, such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, have been releasing their AI technology to be used by the public. Artificial intelligence is already used by large applications, either to improve search engines, like in Google’s case, or in Wikipedia’s case to identify inaccurate or damaged articles.
With easier access to the necessary tools for AI development, we can expect developers to start using AI in new and different ways in the new year. What’s more AI already features heavily in data analytics, so expect the rest to follow suit.
One such example is AI-driven web site creation. For example if you sign up for The Grid, your AI web designer Molly will ask you questions about branding, colors, layout and content, and then, based on pre-programmed algorithms, automatically create an aesthetic website for you. You can ask Molly to update the website as many times as you like, until you get it just right. (All the while contributing to the machine’s learning.)
2. Virtual reality
Another topic that always seems to surface when discussing the future of technology is virtual reality or VR. This trend has already started to sweep the gaming industry. The Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR bring new and interesting possibilities to the world of gaming, but it won’t stop there.
Companies including Google and Mozilla have begun work on APIs to help VR technology transition to the web. As standards develop, we expect more and more applications to be developed using VR technologies.
In the coming year, we’ll see virtual reality in various applications, ranging from news coverage, to virtual real estate tours.
3. Internet of Things (IoT)
Long heralded as the future, internet of things is a movement where typically non-internet-connected objects are given network connectivity in order to send and receive data. These objects can range from your toaster or kettle, to sensors on motors or embedded in concrete to detect cracks and weaknesses. Anyone who owns an Amazon Alexa, Phillips Hue light, or Google Nest knows what I’m talking about.
Web developers may not be directly involved in the creation of such devices, with UI designers working more heavily through voice user interfaces. However, it’s likely we’ll be involved in the development of applications that use, analyse and display the devices’ data. Companies such as Xively and BugLabs have already started working on APIs that can be used by developers to communicate with IoT devices.
Though IoT brings a lot of opportunity for innovation, some concerns have been raised, especially around security. No doubt web developers will have interesting challenges to face—helping to protect our fittings and furnishings from hackers.
4. AI Chatbots
While again, these may have been around in one guise or another in recent years, expect this area of work to become a huge growth area in 2022. The reason for this is that the accuracy and usability of these chatbots has seriously increased and become more sophisticated, giving companies far more opportunities to employ them. In fact, SEMRush predict a growth rate of 33.2% year-on-year from 2020 to 2027.
In terms of the technology behind them, opportunities for backend developers are plenty, as they require complex information retrieval, language processing, and machine learning systems to flourish. Web developers fluent in machine learning languages such as Java, R, and Python will find themselves with a whole host of opportunities and interesting projects to get to grips with.
In terms of whether this trend will be a longer-lasting one, it’s easy to see that this is one of them. Not only will companies save money on employing customer support staff, these positions have become increasingly harder to fill since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning that they will save on recruitment costs as well.
5. Angular 2 and beyond
Along with backwards compatibility, Angular now has a more defined and regular release schedule. With Version 13 released in November 2021, the team intend to upgrade it twice a year, which means that we’re sure to see a lot more changes in this widely popular framework.
6. Yarn package manager
Yarn aims to address issues Facebook had experienced with NPM, particularly in areas such as performance, security, and consistency. This new package manager still has access to the NPM and Bower registries.
For example, when using NPM, depending on the order in which modules are installed, developers might end up with two different versions of a particular module in their local development environment. This can cause issues where everything works fine on one developer’s machine but not on another’s. To address this issue, Yarn uses lockfiles to tie modules to a specific version within a project, thus assuring that the same version is installed on all developers machines.
7. Static website generators
Static website generators create websites from plain text, usually stored in files and not in databases. In certain situations, static websites built by generators such as Jekyll allow for some advantages. These include such as increased speed, security, ease of deployment and their handling of traffic surges.
However, they have no real time content or user content (such as comments), which have become a “must” on the web today. As Content Delivery Networks and APIs become more and more the way of life of the web and make it easier for content and templates to be deployed, many devs think static site generators might be an interesting area to watch in the coming year.
Separating the templates and markup from the “full-stack” way of thinking might just make static site generators the “it” thing again.
8. Web design evolution
If you’re interested in design, here are a few trends to watch out for next year:
- Movement based interfaces will probably become a staple on the web. Perhaps when combined with libraries such as tracking.js, interfaces that respond to hand movements could be closer than we think.
- CSS container queries are going to become incredibly popular in responsive web design (RWD).
- Bolder and larger typography is likely to become more prevalent.
- People often want engaging and compelling ways to get their information quickly. This will likely elicit a rise in the use of videos and other storytelling visuals.
If nothing stands still for too long on the web as a rule, the world of web development even more so. Information is always changing and the methods we use to deal with that information will always evolve along with it. If you’re interested in reading more, then check out these articles: