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Thursday, September 08, 2005

2006 : Web Development Trends

Anil Dash writes about the new areas developing around around Web 2.0, mastery of which calls for learning new tools and techniques which he calls Vocational Education for Web 2.0. As he sees it, the overall areas of focus are integration and front-end technologies that have highly visible impacts on end user experience. A random assortment of new web development trends to be ready for in 2006.
- Dampening: The softening of a user interface through gradual transition instead of immediate state changes. The demand for dampening reflects the front-end focus that is being rediscovered in web applications, but it can require server-side changes in order to enable some effects. Eg. yellow fade technique. Overall, user interface elements will be sliding and collapsing instead of simply disappearing.
- E4X: This little-known ECMA standard is short for "ECMAscript for XML". Smart, sensible handling of XML in Javascript. Right now, the J and the X in Ajax don't play well together, or at least not as well as they should. E4X promises to smooth that combination, at least in more modern/capable user agents.
- JSON: This is used to send the data your application is managing. Broad language support. It's simple to read and write. It's designed for transporting structs in a manner that your programming language is used to. It's just a smart way to handle your data, and it works well with XML:
- XHTML and CSS: Just as many corporate sites relaunched with valid markup, many web apps for intranets or public consumption will be restyling themselves with well-matched tags. In a Greasemonkey-enabled web, it's going to be more important than ever to have a reliable structure that you can hang new behaviors on.
- Buffering: This is a return of an old favorite desktop application technique, but (re-)inflicted on the web. Progressive enhancement isn't just about adding behaviors or presentation to only the user agents that support them, it's about offering a useful experience in full-featured browsers even while the oodles of script are still loading.
- The Atom API: Now that the feed format is an IETF standard, there's a solid enough spec to start planning for how the API will be built on that core. And with over twenty million blogs already supporting pre-release versions of the spec, it's extremely likely that investing in familiarity with the API now will give you a heads-up in 2006.
- Helping Ruby Grow Up: There's a lot of development and even deployment happening on the Ruby platform. But key parts of the infrastructure are missing. Localization? Internationalization? Scaling up servers to handle really large applications or high-demand situations, Interop with other languages? All these are challenges waiting for an answer to arrive. No doubt while Web2.0 is a new phenomenon, the skills and tools to develop and deploy Web 2.0 are also entirely new - this forces a new ecosystem to evolve - no doubt the opportunities for the intiated both at the individial and enterprise level are getting abundant.

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