2011’s Web Development Trends

Category: SaaS Management

2011 has been a year of emerging and evolving technological trends. In the Web development industry, it’s especially pivotal to keep a close eye on the newest and best tools available. Here are, in my opinion, the top Web development trends of the year thus far:

5. HTML 5 and CSS 3

Even though HTML 5 and CSS 3 are not officially released, most modern browsers use more and more of their features. With the addition of support from Internet Explorer 9 (and even more support coming in IE 10), more sites are starting to use features from HTML 5 to CSS 3. Many new CSS3 properties, such as text-shadow and rounded corders, are used frequently. This has led many designers to accept a fluid outlook on designing for the Web, and they have begun to accept that sites don’t have to look 100 percent the same in every browser. This has put quite a dent in Adobe’s Flash around the Web, with new open-source Audio and Video protocols, and the new < canvas > elements that can handle animations.

Sites that use HTML 5 and CSS 3:


CSS3 Please!

4. Server Side Javascript

The rise of the Node.js framework has led numerous developers to look at writing apps that run completely in JavaScript instead of just using it for the front end. Server-side, Javascript is great at handling concurrency with minimal overhead, and the event-driven model works well for applications. It also has the added benefit of giving developers new options without having to learn a new language. Node.js has growing support behind it, most notably from John Resig, the founder of jQuery.

Sites that use Javascript:



github (for downloads)

3. NoSQL

NoSQL databases have caught the attention of developers after being the go-to solution for companies like Facebook and Twitter that have to deal with extraordinary amounts of data. NoSQL databases like Cassandra (at Facebook) and Hadoop (at Twitter) lack many of the relational abilities and structure of SQL-based databases, but they do offer more scalability and speed. NoSQL doesn’t make sense for every project and isn’t meant to be a replacement for relational databases, but it’s an excellent solution to some very difficult problems Web developers face.

Sites that use NoSQL:



2. Mobile Sites

The smartphone market has exploded in the past year. But with the market split between Android and iOS phones, not to mention the growing tablet market, it is getting harder and harder to have a good mobile presence across multiple platforms. This has led several companies to instead focus on making Web-based, mobile versions of their sites and apps. Influential software company 37signals recently announced that they wanted to move towards making mobile apps instead of iPhone/Android apps, and I expect other software companies to follow suit. With the increase in mobile devices, having a mobile presence is going to be just as important as having a Web presence.

Sites that use mobile versions:



1. True Web Applications

This is the year that the Web development is truly moving from making Web sites to making applications. In addition to many of the trends I mentioned earlier, both Google and Microsoft have made big commitments to Web applications. Google has released its “Chrome Web Store” for the Chrome browser, allowing users to install Web applications, many of which can run offline. Google is banking on this enough to launch ChromeOS, a cloud-based operating system that relies entirely on Web apps. In addition, in a recent preview of Windows 8, Microsoft showed off a snazzy new tablet-friendly interface. The company also announced that developers will be able to develop native Windows applications in HTML5 & JavaScript on the tablet, opening up a whole new world for potential developers.

Sites that use True Web Applications (From the Chrome Web Store):


Wall Street Journal for Chrome

Angry Birds – Web Edition

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