Changes in Modern Web Application Development

Author: Sudhir Ganesh, Director – Engineering, Celestial Systems

Summary: Web Application Development is under going rapid transformation in terms of technologies, tools and processes. Many companies are adopting modern web application in order to stand out in the fierce business competition. Web Applications contribute substantially in the business growth and are acting as a key contributor in increasing the bottom line. What are the changes in Modern Web when compared to Legacy Applications and what does the future look like? This article gives a high level insight into the trends of Modern Web Application Development.

Modern Web Application Development is under constant evolution. Newer technologies, tools and processes are emerging quite frequently. 

In order to maintain the competitive edge in the business, web plays a very vital role. Hence, Web Applications are key business enablers. According to a Forrester study, “The software you deploy, and especially the custom software you create, will increasingly be part of your competitive edge.”

The ultimate truth is “Change is Constant” and the same logic applies to Modern Web Applications as well. However, why should a business look at these frequent changes? Do they have to adapt to new stuff every now and then? Let’s explore these changes and how one should adapt to the same.

1. Mobile and Smart Gadgets to access Web Applications

Since 2010, we have observed frequent introduction of smartphones and tablets in the consumer and enterprise market. These devices come with various screen sizes and resolutions. This diversity has led to adoption of Responsive Design. Modern Web Applications must be able to adapt to different screen sizes and resolutions.

This trend is going to evolve in the near future with the introduction of “Smart Gadgets” such as TVs, Watches, and Glasses etc.

Due to this vast permutations and combinations of Smartphones, Tablets and Gadgets, it becomes imperative to change the mindset and thought process of a developer to address the upcoming challenges in Responsive Design.

Responsive Design has enabled the developer to think about hierarchy and positioning of logos, buttons, messaging etc. 

As the processing power and memory availability of these Smartphones, Tablets and Gadgets are limited, the developer is also forced to write highly optimised and efficient code that ensures fast loading time of a web page.

With touchscreen becoming de facto standard with all Smartphones and Gadgets, it becomes highly essential to focus on placement and positioning of buttons and action oriented UI components. They need to be prominent and easy to understand to enable the end user to take necessary action.

2. User Experience – Consumerized Demand

As mobile apps became popular, seamless user experience became more and more important. Hence, the demand for simple, intuitive and easy to use interface to be used in Web Applications also grew. 

This has forced the developers to change their strategy and give more importance to User Experience. Ease of use is the key in adoption of a Web Application by the end users and businesses.

Currently any Modern Web Application Development begins with UX/UI design that includes Wire framing and Mock up Development. This enables early user experience testing to provide simpler and intuitive UI design.

 

3. Higher Level of Interaction

Nowadays, there is a higher demand for Web Application perform like Native Application. This push to faster, highly interactive Web Applications has led to changes in the development methodology.

For a developer, the shift is from traditional server side development to client side development. As the modern web browsers are becoming more and more powerful much of the data processing is moving from server side to client side.

Adoption of JavaScript Frameworks such as Angular.js, Ext.js and React.js help developers to develop highly interactive Web Applications. These frameworks take advantage of efficient and robust browser JavaScript engines such as Chrome’s V8. This ensures that data processing that was earlier being done at the server side is now being done at the end user’s web browser. This enables highly interactive and real time user experience for data analysis and visualization such as graphs, pie charts, scatter plots etc. in the web browser.

4. Increased Productivity using Tools

As modern web applications are becoming more and more complex, the need for skills to understand these complexities is also increasing day by day. The application developer must now be able to comprehend the overall architecture and design, data flow, database management, UI interaction, Security and much more.

This has led to greater emphasis on usage of new libraries, frameworks and tools for increased developer productivity and efficiency. These tools and libraries enable automation thereby reducing a lot of manual effort.

Continuous Integration as a development concept use a lot of such tools for code management, build and release management and overall application lifecycle management. There are tools that also take care of syntactical errors and formatting the code in a standard format and lot of other things.

5. Greater Demand for Third Party Integrations

Nowadays, the demand for SaaS based applications is gaining momentum over earlier On-Premise solutions. These SaaS based applications address one specific requirement as well as provide options to collaborate and integrate with another third party applications.

These third party integrations are key for success of many businesses. Hence, we are observing an increasing demand for Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). These APIs come in different forms such as REST, SOAP etc.

The end customers may be using a variety of applications to do different things. It becomes inevitable for a developer for design and provide APIs to integrate these various applications to build a single business solution.

6. Key Focus on Security

Web Application Security is a very vital aspect for success of any business application. However, focus on this area has been narrow when compared to user experience and third party integrations. 

Recent study show that majority of web applications have at least one security flaw. This means that in the coming days there will be more importance given to application security. Developers have to be well versed with security standards and a higher priority should be given while designing the web application.

As web applications become highly scalable, the importance of securing the application and protecting data becomes higher. Neglecting, this aspect can lead to greater financial loss, customer dissatisfaction and erosion in brand value.

7. Emergence of Real Time Web Applications

As the virtual world is bringing people closer than ever, there is a growing demand for native web applications that perform in real time. These applications interact with the backend system and update in the browser without the page getting refreshed.

Developers are adopting emerging technologies such as Node.js in building real time web applications. Instant Messaging, Online Collaboration, Data Analytics etc. are some of the examples of Real Time Web Applications. 

Moxtra is one of the upcoming real time web application solutions for Online Collaboration, Instant Messaging and Meeting and document storage. 

 

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