Over the last few months, I keep finding new signs that the way we approach web development is about to shift. The parts – which have mostly existed for a while – haven’t completely come together yet, but the next year or two should be exciting.
Beyond the long-awaited features of HTML5, I see three major factors driving a larger shift:
The ever-increasing variety of mobile devices has shattered limits designers imposed on their work.
A long slow shift toward hypermedia models (REST and beyond) for application development.
As mobile devices become ordinary, designers are having to give up the last shreds of “the web site must look like this printout”. Dynamic HTML and then Ajax gave sites much more motion and changeability, but usually within a design that was roughly stable. Creating a second stable design for mobile was never a great compromise, but the explosion of mobile devices has forced developers to move toward designs that take much heavier advantage of web-centric styling approaches. Responsive web design is evolving fast.
The impact of the last piece, hypermedia, is harder to talk about, though I had a great conversation with Mike Amundsen recently. My rough sense is that hypermedia is another dose of discipline, but one that gets easier and easier with time. Server-side architecture may lead to further client-side shifts?
Where will these changes take us? Where do you see the leading edge of web development – and where do you see it going next year?
We’ll be talking about many of these pieces at Fluent this week. I don’t think the phase change is here yet, but hopefully this week will provide additional clues of what’s to come.