The State of the Web – Trends for 2018

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Trends in the web development community are pretty reflective of our personalities as techies as a whole – basically all over the place and never happy with how well we’re doing.

Since we’re all sheep following the herd anyways, this week seemed like a good one to give everyone a peek into what the trends are this year, since the year is halfway over and everyone else has already written enough content on the topic to make my life easier.

Unfortunately it’s tough not to be a sheep in the herd in this industry, so it’s kind of necessary to keep up with the trends unless you want a fresh-faced CompSci grad with no life outside of coding to take your place.

That’s why I’ve put together a list of the most prevalent trends of the year together, for you TLDRs who won’t do the research yourselves, of course. So let’s dive into this calamity.

Progressive web apps

These things are literally the lord and savior of the impatient and time-conscious millennial. Data too slow? iPhone’s got you stuck on 4G when you really need the LTE? (Yeah, that was a rap.) Well have no fear, my little cyber minions, Skynet (actually it was Alex Russell and Frances Berriman) has figured out a way to make stuff available to you offline, when the Internet gods don’t want you to connect.

There are some pretty cool features of PWAs other than the awesome base functionality:

  • They don’t require an install. You can add it to your home screen, just like an app.
  • They offer an app-like experience, which is typically the best type of UX out there.
  • They can increase conversions, like, a lot. AliExpress reported a double in conversion rates since launching their PWA.

They haven’t really entered the mainstream yet, but obviously you don’t want to wait til the race has started to start prepping your horse. If you want to see what PWAs are available, check out this link. If you want to learn how to build PWAs, check out this one. You’re welcome.

Motion UI

If you’re not using SASS yet, you should probably kick yourself, since vanilla CSS is so 2010. If you are using SASS, you should definitely give Motion UI a chance. It utilizes CSS transitions and animations, relying only on a tiny bit of JavaScript. Ideal, right? More JS than necessary is so 2010.

The basic transitions that Motion UI has to offer are spins, slides, fades, hinges, scales, and bounces, among other stuff if you’re creative. Nothing incredibly fancy, but it’ll cut down on dev time and it’s efficient, which should make you warm and fuzzy inside.

If you want to check out some examples, here’s a link.

eCommerce

eCommerce most definitely isn’t a new thing, but just like literally every hipster style that is touted as “unique” or “edgy”, it’s a thing that’s been around forever but now all the kids have it.

It used to be that small businesses would just have a small website with some information about how to get to their store, how Grandpa Henry got off the boat from Ireland and founded the business the next day back in Gangs of New York times, and a contact form if you wanted to know more.

Well unfortunately for those websites, people have no patience anymore and they don’t want to stop binging 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, so they want their products and they want them now.

eCommerce is the obvious solution to that, and as more and more small businesses (and other businesses for that matter) move in the eComm direction, it’ll become almost impossible to make a presence online anymore.

The bottom line is, if you have a product, you need an eCommerce website. And if you’re a dev, you need to read up on it.

RIP Flash (1996-2020)

Yeah you read it right, Flash’s days are numbered. That means you should stop integrating it into your web projects and get with the times, cause that stuff is about to be legacy status. I doubt too many devs are disappointed by this, unless they’re hardcore Candy Crush players.

JavaScript

The god of all web programming languages, the queen of the front end, JavaScript has regained its status as the most cutting-edge and powerful language, thanks in part to its many frameworks, such as Angular and React.

If you’re a fly-by-night dev, you probably love jQuery and have no idea how to target a DOM element without using $('.element'), but you probably won’t be able to string along your clients with that much longer.

The beauty of the newest frameworks/libraries is the modular approach to building websites, which allows for faster, more elegant, and FAR more organized websites, as well as lots and lots of reusability.

If you’re interested in learning more about JavaScript libraries and frameworks to implement in your projects, Frontend Masters is a pretty great resource, with courses taught by some big names in the industry.

It’s nearly impossible to stay up with every trend in the web development industry, but if you can keep up with the big ones, you can make it by. Hopefully this post offers some insight as to how to keep your job, and if you’re a business, hopefully you’ll take heed and take the road most travelled by, because in this case, Robert Frost would have gone out of business and gotten stuck writing mediocre sentiments for Hallmark.

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