Five interesting web development trends so far this year

DevToolsGuy / Wednesday, June 25, 2014

We have hit the half way point of the year, so it seemed a good time to take a look at some interesting trends we have seen so far in 2014. Hopefully you will recognise the majority of these, and will have touched them in your work at some point. Add a comment below with your thoughts.

Web Development Trends1. Flat Design
Our first trend affects designers, UX/UI professionals, and developers alike. All of these people will have struggled to escape the launch of iOS 7 late last year, and the focus it brought to ‘flat design’ (and the end of the principles of Skeuomorphic design). 2014 has seen flat design go nuclear, with websites large and small looking to redesign themselves to fall inline. Even Google got in on the act.

As demonstrated by: iOS 7 and nearly every website launch and mobile app of 2014.

2. The continuing popularity of CSS frameworks
Tools like LESS and SASS are continuing to find favour with web developers. Such frameworks offer well-defined programming constructs (such as code blocks and variables) in the traditionally fast and loose world of CSS. The old school development community might see this as a fuss about nothing, but those who have struggled to tame CSS over the last few years see such CSS extensions as really useful innovations.

As demonstrated by: Google’s unwavering support for pre-processors being matched by Microsoft (The recent Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 added much improved support for SASS editing).

3. Single page apps
Chiefly a response to the need for better HTML5 mobile apps (less round tripping/data requests and slicker user experiences), the single page app is just that - a website consisting of just a single page. Such apps - where the data and presentation layers are totally separated - are designed to look and behave like native phone or tablet apps, with background data refreshes and rich UI interactions. The term ‘single page app’ was actually coined in 2005, but 2014 has seen huge growth in interest and adoption..

As demonstrated by: Google’s much loved (by most) AngularJS framework.

4. The rise and rise of JavaScript frameworks
In 2014 the JavaScript framework is, in itself, nothing new. But this year we have seen some very impressive innovations. Take for example, an open source framework designed to help developers build complex user interfaces. More than that though is the first framework to offer its own rendering engine (separate to the browser it is running in), which it can do by taking advantage of client GPU acceleration. This allows for some impressive effects like 3D processing and physics simulations. Truly a step forward for JavaScript.

As demonstrated by: has just opened its beta program to all developers.

5. Web based development environments
The web development community is used to pushing the power of the browser. In 2014 we saw it able to harness that power for its own means. A number of browser based Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) have surfaced which give developers a realistic alternative to traditional desktop tools. Google has its own effort called Spark, and Pario attempts to give less technical users something they can use to create code.

As demonstrated by: Google Spark, Codio, and countless others.