Web Development optimize

Reflections and predictions about Web development

As we approach the end of 2007, it is interesting to reflect on technology developments of the past year and ponder what to expect next year in Web development technologies.

As we approach the end of 2007, it is interesting to reflect on technology developments of the past year and ponder what to expect next year in Web development technologies.

Web 2.0

A popular buzzword in Web development is Web 2.0. The term refers to second-generation Web applications with a goal to facilitate community, which encompasses creativity, collaboration, and sharing. Sites like MySpace and Blogger provide the ultimate way to collaborate and be creative online, and most sites (including TechRepublic) provide interaction via reader feedback, blogs, and so forth. Developers can develop such applications using readily available technologies like AJAX, as well as use existing applications via mashups. AJAX has played a large role in delivering such applications, as it provides the means to create rich Web applications.

AJAX

Who would have believed that the marriage of JavaScript, XML, and the XMLHttpRequest object (originally developed by Microsoft) would cause such a splash in the world of Web development? During the past year, it evolved from a new technology to test into an accepted industry standard for building powerful Web applications.

I knew AJAX had arrived when Microsoft introduced its own version called Atlas and later integrated AJAX into its ASP.NET Web platform. Adobe offers another approach with Flex. Also, bookstore shelves are overflowing with titles promising to teach you every aspect of AJAX. It makes me wonder if there is a new AJAX on the horizon for 2008.

CSS

CSS is finally being embraced and used by a wider audience than just hard-core development geeks. CSS is now a standard component of almost every Web application. It offers an easy way to separate presentation from content.

This doesn't mean the days of using HTML tables to layout a Web page are over, but their usage is certainly on the decline as CSS continues to garner acceptance. If you question CSS's usage, look no further than industry giant Microsoft, as they embrace CSS in their latest product versions.

Agreement about Web standards?

An interesting aspect of the growth of CSS usage is the move toward Web standards throughout the industry and its products. A big reason for the push for Web standards is Microsoft (which seems to always go its own way even as it promises to keep in line). There has been some progress at Microsoft with the release of Internet Explorer 7 and products like Expression Web, which embrace standards like CSS, but it still has a way to go. Web developers dream about the day when the browser used to access a site is a moot point, but that day is a long way off.

One development platform that exploded in 2007 was the mobile world as people began accessing Web applications using their cell phones, PDAs, and so forth.

What will 2008 look like for Web developers?

It is dizzying to think about the past year and all of the technologies covered in this column and in everyday projects. I don't expect the pace to slow down in 2008.

I have no doubt that Web development for mobile devices will continue to explode (especially considering my neighbor at a recent basketball game kept up with other sports scores on his cell phone). The W3C Mobile Web Initiative is a good place to keep up with technologies and standards for mobile Web development.

The W3C continues to push forward with technologies not related to mobile development as well. This includes the next latest standard for creating pages with HTML 5.0 and XHTML2, and the CSS Working Group continues to move forward with new features. The Web Standards Project is another initiative to keep up with work in the area of Web standards.

On the other side of Web standards is software and tools from both commercial and open source vendors. You can definitely expect newer versions to continue to arrive. A good example is Microsoft's load of new product versions on the way in 2008. The same is true for Java-based tools like NetBeans. Also, Adobe continues to update its Flash technology.

Which Web technologies had the biggest impact on your work in 2007? What technologies are you planning to embrace in 2008? What Web development trends do you foresee in the new year? Share your thoughts with the Web development community.

Tony Patton began his professional career as an application developer earning Java, VB, Lotus, and XML certifications to bolster his knowledge.

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About

Tony Patton has worn many hats over his 15+ years in the IT industry while witnessing many technologies come and go. He currently focuses on .NET and Web Development while trying to grasp the many facets of supporting such technologies in a productio...

11 comments
miss.tairy
miss.tairy

all these web developments are awesome but in the uk its rubbish if your internet is too slow! this site, Broadband Genie, has a really good speed test if anyone's keen to see how fast their connection is

Jaqui
Jaqui

clientside scripting to be the end-all of the web? then the web will be dead. since no SMART developer would EVER EXPOSE application logic by using clientside scripting, that is the purview of braindead monkeys only.

jasonpaine
jasonpaine

What I'm excited to see next year is the future of Javascript, and if it will be extended, or succeeded by a new web scripting language. I predict ECMAScript 4 will be the new standard, and not a new scripting language.

djbeall@yahoo.com
djbeall@yahoo.com

Perhaps one of these days a true Object Oriented version of JavaScript will be available on the clients browser and that would be revolutionary. Of course it might not happen as it threatens server-side scripting language vendors, but there is no technical reason why it could not happen. Heck you can get pretty close in JS now using the 'this' tag. It is cool to put this.function inside a function, but having true OO JavaScript would take web dev to the next level. Oh, also, as people start to use JS extensions like ExtJS and others Flash will move from being web pages to where it belongs as ads and video players.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

ECMA script in VS with full access to the .net framework. Also Python, Ruby and of course VB and C#, no doubt more to come... Almost back to the days of the OBJECT tag... I still have doubts about client side execution as the way forward though, it's going to be a potential security hole until MS go the whole hog on privilege separation. .NET security is a good step forward in terms of potentially authorising behaviours. Until we get a protocol to do stateful web application, as opposed to the sticking plaster over HTTP approach web devlopment will always be a the cheap cousin of client side executables though. That would be the quantum leap... OO javascript by itself is just bloated litter mixed in with HTML.

discohouseny
discohouseny

Wow....what's with all the Microsoft worship? These statements are kinda silly: > " I knew AJAX had arrived when Microsoft introduced its own version called Atlas and later integrated AJAX into its ASP.NET Web platform" (Or perhaps with Google's release Google Maps) > "If you question CSS usage, look no further than industry giant Microsoft, as they embrace CSS in their latest product versions". (Or any number of top tier web sites for years going back) > "An interesting aspect of the growth of CSS usage is the move toward Web standards throughout the industry and its products. A big reason for the push for Web standards is Microsoft" (Since when was Microsoft the company to look to for innovation, web standards, and technology adoption? If anything, XMLHttpRequest aside, they've been the primary force *inhibiting* such things.) > "On the other side of Web standards is software and tools from both commercial and open source vendors. You can definitely expect newer versions to continue to arrive. A good example is Microsoft's load of new product versions on the way in 2008." (Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft - This reaks of payola).

Justin James
Justin James

I am always amazed at just how forgetful people are regarding Microsoft's history with AJAX. Outlook Web Access (OWA) was doing AJAX in *2000*, years before anyone else was doing it for a major project, and on a much larger scale than even most AJAX apps today. The rest of the post is quite down on Microsoft, and rightly so. As another responder pointed out, Tony's point was that Microsoft is so bad at adhering to standards, that the fact that they are finally trying to do so is major. For whatever reason, Microsoft is finally trying to end a 10 year long history of standards non-compliance, and it is long overdue. J.Ja

mattohare
mattohare

When their people come by to our users' group here, they talk like they invented the stuff. Just like some Starbucks staff act like they invented espresso. I think some of them believe the internet is a joint invention of Bill Gates and Al Gore. *chuckle*

jasonpaine
jasonpaine

It does seem to appear that way, but I think what he was trying to say was that when MS adopts a standard or technology, then it's really hit the bigtime.

deity_chooch
deity_chooch

I'm not sure, but I think that was the point. Finally even Microsoft, the company who has consistently tried to lend a deaf ear to web standards, is coming around to better use CSS and create products that tailor to Web 2.0. Good article, by the way. It'll be very interesting to see how web applications develop in the future; they are really trying to compete with the new software applications out there. And AJAX (which I actually shunned like the plague when it first came out) is a really amazing technology which creates a faster, easier-to-use interface with the ability to include a lot more information for the user. If you plan on doing anything major in the web industry, you better know AJAX.

jim_gathage
jim_gathage

I totally agree!! I think ajax is the way to go and I have no doubt that it will be embraced in 2008. One of my goals next year is to soop up my programming skills with ajax.