3 min read

2017 has been an interesting year in web development. Today the role of a web developer is stretched across the stack – to be a great developer you need to be confident and dexterous with data, and have an eye for design and UX. Yes, all those discrete roles will be important in 2017, but being able to join the pieces of the development workflow together – for maximum efficiency – will be hugely valuable in 2018.

What web development tools will matter most in 2018? Find out here.

But what will really matter in 2018 in web development? Here’s our list of the top 5 things you need to be thinking about…

1. Getting over JavaScript fatigue

JavaScript fatigue has been the spectre haunting web development for the last couple of years. But it’s effects have been very real – it’s exhausting keeping up with the rapidly expanding ecosystem of tools. ‘Getting over it’, then, won’t be easy – and don’t think for a minute we’re just saying it’s time to move on and get real. Instead it’s about taking the problem seriously and putting in place strategies to better manage tooling options. This article is a great exploration of JavaScript fatigue and it puts the problem in a rather neat way: JS Fatigue happens when people use tools they don’t need to solve problems they don’t have. What this means in practical terms, then, is that starting with the problem that you want to solve is going to make life much better in 2018.

2. Web components

Web components have been a development that’s helping to make the work of web developers that little bit easier. Essentially they’re reusable ‘bits’ that don’t require any support from a library (like jQuery for example), which makes front end development much more streamlined. Developments like this hint at a shift in the front end developer skillset – something we’ll be watching closely throughout 2018. If components are making development ‘easier’ there will be an onus on developers to prove themselves in a design and UX sphere.

3. Harnessing artificial intelligence

AI has truly taken on wider significance in 2017 and has come to the forefront not only of the tech world’s imagination but the wider public one too. It’s no longer an academic pursuit. It’s not baked into almost everything we do. That means web developers are going to have to get au fait with artificial intelligence. Building more personalized UX is going to be top of the list for many organizations in 2018 – pressure will be on web developers to successfully harness artificial intelligence in innovative ways that drive value for their businesses and clients.

4. Progressive web apps and native-like experiences

This builds on the previous two points. But ultimately this is about what user expectations are going to look like in 2018. The demand is going to be for something that is not only personalized (see #3), but something which is secure, fast and intuitive for a user, whatever their specific context. Building successful progressive web apps require a really acute sense of how every moving part is impacting how a user interacts with it – from the way data is utilised to how a UI is built. 2018 is the year where being able to solve and understand problems in a truly holistic way will be vital.

5. Improving the development experience

5. Web development is going to get simultaneously harder and easier – if that makes sense. Web components may speed things up, but you’re time will no doubt quickly be filled by something else. This means that in 2018 we need to pay close attention to the development experience. If for example, we’re being asked to do new things, deliver products in new ways, we need the tools to be able to do that. If agility and efficiency remain key (which they will of course), unlocking smarter ways of working will be as important as the very things we build. Tools like Docker will undoubtedly help here. In fact, it’s worth looking closely at the changing toolchain of DevOps – that’s been having an impact throughout 2017 and certainly will in 2018 too.

Co-editor of the Packt Hub. Interested in politics, tech culture, and how software and business are changing each other.


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