How Has Web Development Changed Over The Last 5 Years And What Does This Mean For You?

Just 5 years back, the web was a completely different place. Responsive, mobile-first technologies had not made their entry so prominently yet. Internet Explorer still dominated the market. Web development methods were far less advanced than they are today. With the emergence of smartphones and tablets, and mobile browser usage taking precedence over desktop, development has changed and it is critical for your business to keep up.

After all, you don’t want to be that company which stays behind the times. These days, your business website needs to work across devices, not just browsers. If your business has to benefit from improved app development, security, and capabilities, you cannot afford to stay behind. New changes create more advantages. Let’s see how web development has changed over the past 5 years and how this impacts your business.

#1 Rise of Mobile: Shift Towards Javascript

The rise of the mobile and digital age has transformed many critical aspects of web development, changing user expectations and enabling developers to create web apps that are like native applications. The shift in website design is towards client-side development. The client-server model of the past with the server playing an integral role, no longer holds sway. Users demand stronger, more mobile-first web applications rivaling desktop software and native mobile apps. Apps need to be embedded in browsers. This means that the shift has been towards Javascript frameworks.

From the tried and tested LAMP stack, the movement is now towards Javascript frameworks like Meteor and React. These frameworks ease development and enable client-side development.

#2 Increase in Cyber Attacks: Focus on Security

Cyber attacks are on the rise. With attackers getting sophisticated, the trend is on the rise. 2014 was a record year for cyber attacks and the years that have followed are no different. According to research, at least one serious glitch is present in 95 percent of the web apps. What’s changed in the past 5 years is the focus on security.  It is one of the primary issues in the mind of developers these days. Developers are using two factor authentication and SSL far more in current times. Security layers are being added and the rise of the HTTP2 protocol assists further with security.

#3 Growth of HTML and CSS: A New Era for Website Development

With HTML5 becoming the standard just 3 years ago, the pace at which HTML is evolving is rapid. New APIs and features are being regularly added. This is changing development because HTML is delivering features that enable web applications to work like native apps. The addition of new features like notifications, local storage, offline access to camera access is increasing the list of available APIs. HTML works with CSS which itself is undergoing a lot of change. Cascading Style Sheets change the layout and look or feel of the page. It is the reason responsive design is a reality. The advancement of CSS in the past 5 years has also been phenomenal. As we step into Level 4, there’s a change in the HTML-CSS integration.

#4 Single Page Apps

The growth of mobile devices is changing web app development, with the emergence of the single page app.  In the past, web apps or websites comprised several pages linked to each other. This meant that pages loaded slower on other devices like smartphones. As a result, navigation was harder. The Single Page Application mentality and the associated frameworks are changing the development process now. During the span of the past 5 years, websites load faster and permit more visual transitions, apart from addressing challenges like framework choice, SEO and security issues.

#4 UX Matters

User experience can make or break the website. Users now expect simplicity and an intuitive experience. A good user experience is as important as a good design, due to changes in the past half a decade. This accounts for a path users take while  carrying out website navigation. There are now other factors to be considered like customer experience journey and the experience the brands seek to convey rather than putting up a site just for the sake of it.

#5 How the Web is Used

In the past 5 years, how the web is used has undergone a change too. Earlier, only the web browser was opened and websites were accessed. Nowadays, there are mobile apps and browsers, and smart devices are being used in a big way to access the web.  With a focus on user experience and engagement, a multitude of browsers have become significant and more integrated with daily lives.

#6 Font Variety

Additionally, Google Fonts and Font Deck has brought the webfont variety to one and all. Making elements accessible, means the designer no longer needs to export the GIFs when needed. It has also raised the standards for web design and development. Web designers now exert control over even the typographical content.

#7 Gone in A Flash?

Adobe’s Flash application was very popular for website development. Flash provides creative freedom and fonts. Freedom to be creative unfortunately does not come with a good substance. Flash as a tool for compiling complete sites is gone. Flash does not function on smartphone devices. Instead, CSS and jQuery are filling the space left behind.

#8 Social Goes Global

Social media now plays a critical role in development processes. During the past five years, sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have experienced exponential success. Social media sharing is now a norm, not an exception. Integrating and incorporating social media sharing on web strategies creates more opportunities for business growth.

Taking the Work Out of Business: The Changing Face of  Web Development

Responsive and adaptive designs will become a norm, and this will impact your business as wearables, smart glasses and watches as well as gadgets catch on as viewing devices. A wide array of screen sized and resolutions has now impacted businesses too.  Your business website needs to respond and change to fit any screen size.

As native apps decline, companies will develop enhanced website features. It is more cost effective to embrace the flexibility of mobile web apps, as businesses deal with the new realities and growing capabilities of the web. Personalization has become another important component in the way a business approaches website development and customers in the market.