The Future of Web Development
Originally published by Eden Ella on June 24th 2019 Spoiler: writing code is going to get a lot easier Prophesizing is no easy task — when looking at social phenomena (and web development is a social phenomenon), one knows well not to expect a simple linear projection from current events into the future. Gathering data and observing trends will always leave some unnoticed facts, some overlooked trends, and may very well include irrelevant data that should have been ignored. Having said that, making an educated guess will probably be more beneficial than choosing to remain completely indifferent and oblivious to the future. It’s our responsibility as software developers to anticipate what’s to come and to deliver long term solutions accordingly. Web development, as a set of technologies, practices, and institutes, is formed mainly by two forces: hardware, or more specifically, consumer devices, and the same old eternal pursuit of financial gain. When taking the task of predicting the future of web dev, an investigation of these two should be our starting point. Increase in the diversification of consumer devices In the last years we’ve seen an explosion in the diversity of consumer devices — smart watches, smart glasses, smart speakers, smart TVs, foldable smartphones, etc. — in this age of IoT (internet of things), we are hardly surprised when a new ‘thing’ puts the “smart” hat on and joins the club. What does it all mean for us as web developers? A greater diversity of devices means a greater diversity of platforms and of types and shapes of inputs and outputs. Long gone are the days of a single web app (or website) for a limited range of devices, all of them equipped with a square and large screen and a web browser. If our aim is to get the maximum usage for our web apps, we must plan ahead and make them available to a large and unpredictable range of devices. That means, building them in such a way that would enable us to customize them easily to any existing device but also, to be prepared for the next new thing. Web dev is too expensive Software developers are expensive. Good developers are in shortage, and the demand for them keeps rising. It is predicted that by 2026, more than 253,000 new software developer roles will be created in the US alone. That means more money spent on highly expensive labor. So far, the market has reacted with a few limited actions. We have seen the rise of drag-n-drop-low-code kinds of platforms that are geared toward low-skilled programmers or implementers. Google App Maker, Microsoft Power Apps, and web design platforms like Wix are just a few examples. It seems obvious that these platforms, as good as they are, are far from being a complete solution to the problem as they are too limited to be widely used. If the current trends won’t change we will not only have a problem with expensive software but we may also see bad code written by unqualified developers for what would turn out to be bad software. Writing code is too hard We have so far discussed two main problems: It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with the increasing diversification of devices Just like any other natural resource, we are running out of developers 😃 Both problems have a shared cause — writing code is too hard! » Read More
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