5 trends for web development in 2020

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Ben Toms

06 Dec 2019 - 5min read

At the end of 2019, we saw many new developments quickly rising. This year they will explode into the norm of web development. Here are my predictions of what we will see more and more of this year.

1. PWA – Progressive Web Apps

Progressive web apps are by no means a new technology. They’ve been around for a few years now but lately, more and more developers are adding PWAs to their skillset.

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk around PWAs with many claiming it to be the future of web development. I would have to agree with this statement. PWAs can be faster and provide an excellent user experience. Being able to utilise device functionality such as, push notifications, full screen, offline mode and loading/splash screens, you are able to give the user more of an app-like feel and this is just a peek of what PWAs can do.

Under the hood, a PWA is basically a web application that uses new web techniques to deliver a native app-like experience to users.

Dozens of major brands are moving from native apps to PWAs, and it’s easy to see why. Both mobile sites and native apps offer advantages and disadvantages, and PWAs are proving to be the best of both worlds for businesses. Bigger and better things await as this technology continues to develop.

Here’s a list of PWA frameworks you should check out:

  1. React
  2. Vue
  3. Angular
  4. Polymer

2. Goodbye clunky image loading

If there’s one thing about a page loading that I hate it’s when images load in slowly. With progressive image quickly being adopted by developers, we will finally start seeing this ugly loading less and less.

The ability to render an image on the page by presenting a placeholder for it first and then transitioning to the real image once it has fully loaded is magical. Here’s how it works:

  1. Create a div where the image will be displayed. Set some padding on the bottom to a percentage that matches the aspect ratio of the image so when it loads it’ll just slot right into the div without any reflow.
  2. Load a tiny version of the image. Small JPGs with very low resolution will do it. The markup for this small image is returned in the initial HTML as an <img/>, so the browser starts fetching them immediately.
  3. Once the image has fully loaded, it is drawn in a <canvas/>. Then, the image data is taken and passed through a custom blur() function. At the same time, the main image is requested and once the main image has loaded, it is shown and the canvas is hidden.

With CSS Grid Layout, we can do pretty much whatever we like.

3. CSS Grid

The utilisation of grid is one of the primary website composition strategies. A lot of instruments help Front-End developers build grid-based sites (for example Bootstrap and Foundation), but since CSS Grid came into existence, we understand that up to this point we were never really able to implement grid properly.

With CSS Grid Layout, we can do pretty much whatever we like. To implement a simple grid we need only one wrapper that will be our grid. And its direct children elements (HTML elements nested directly inside of the wrapper) will be placed in grid cells. As a result, we get an extremely clean and readable HTML markup.

In CSS Grid Layout rows and columns are really equivalent. You can place your element anywhere on your grid. You can span it across rows and columns, place it in a particular place, or rely on automatic placing. As there are already many general grid layout overviews and tutorials, in my article I am going to focus on a few features that make grid layout a particularly interesting tool.

4. Motion UI

As the world turns out to be increasingly centred around experience and consumer satisfaction, we’ve seen a huge move in the manner in which designers make sites and applications for practically all enterprises. For example, alongside a move towards more user experience design, we’ve likewise observed greater prevalence around the idea of Motion UI – one of the biggest growing trends 2018 and it will continue to become more popular this year.

Motion UI does precisely what you would expect with regards to UX. It enables engineers to make their site intuitive by engaging the user with animation. Fortunately, adopting motion UI solutions might not be as complex as they seem.

5. AI

Users are anxious to get data quicker and in the most effortless way. Voice search is now a well-known choice among young people, soon this innovation will be more popular. Regardless of whether it’s Siri, Cortana or Google based on Deep Learning, virtual shopping assistants should take its advantages. Voice search option is a critical piece of e-commerce development now.

Chatbots made the communication process a lot more natural. With artificial intelligence, it won’t be long before bots will figure out how to perceive human feelings. This option will remove all communication barriers and make the shopping process even more easy and pleasant.

Imagine describing what you are shopping for in a sentence and then an AI assistant creates a results page with everything the store has to offer to match your conversation. Then the next time you visit that site, the homepage has adapted to your personal tastes. The possibilities with AI and web development are endless

Conclusion

By this time next year, I believe that most e-comm and service providing sites will be built on a PWA. Being able to provide a user with an app-like experience without downloading a native app is unquestionably the way to go.

Not only will our sites be faster and more mobile-friendly because of PWA and PIL, but they will also be unique as the power of CSS Grid and Motion UI unlocks a whole new level of web design.

Artificial intelligence will prove useful when it comes to helping a user and providing a service that feels more personal.

Ben Toms

06 Dec 2019

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