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7 tools every web developer should be using

The explosive growth of the internet over the last twenty years and the democratization of knowledge and information has led to a revolution in the way that technology is implemented and consumed. The last 7 years in particular has witnessed a real revolution in the areas of mobile, cloud, collaboration, and information technologies and given rise to unheard of opportunities for growth and expansion. The gatekeepers of this digital economy, who are standing at the threshold of this new world of innovation and advancement, are web developers. They are the leaders who will build the latest and greatest devices, applications, and software that will make our lives and futures easier and more efficient.




With the tidal change pace of acceleration in technology and the blending in of new capabilities in mobile, cloud, and Internet of Things, web developers need to be aware of both the latest trends along with cutting-edge tools that support those trends. It’s no longer enough to simply recite a “top ten” list of tools that help enhance the development process. The pace of change and consumer demands are moving so fast that digital web developers will need to be versatile and fluent in various languages, mashups, and device endpoint management protocols. Creating the backend of an application in PHP or C# is one thing but developing the JavaScript protocol for that app to sync with a wearable object is another thing.

To keep you current, consider the following 7 web development tools/resources in relation to the larger ecosystem of emerging and disruptive technology trends.




1. Node.js

JavaScript has received rapid adoption in recent years especially through the influence of Node.js, a software platform used for building fast, scalable network applications. Node.js is based on Google’s V8 JavaScript engine, or the Chrome browser runtime, and has gained immense popularity among major enterprises in recent years. You should expect more and more web development projects shifting towards a uniform web language with Node.js leading the way.



2. Apple WatchKit

Ahead of the release of Apple Watch, Apple released WatchKit in November, which is the official development toolkit for the Apple Watch. Wearables are projected to become the next PC and even though off to a slow start for consumers, Apple Watch is sure to commoditize the industry. It doesn’t mean becoming a full-fledged Apple Developer, but you’ll want to keep a close eye on this ecosystem to stay ahead of the tsunami of smartwatch apps that are sure to follow.




3. RESTful Services

REST stands for Representational State Transfer, which is an architectural framework for building web services and making them easily integrated into your application. REST is the go to standard for building features that are lightweight, maintainable, and scalable, and have become especially popular in the construction of cloud-based APIs. A service based on REST is called a RESTful service.

4. Internet of Things

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of the IoT industry, which is projected by some to be valued in the trillions of dollars in the coming decade. More devices are becoming accessible online and enable people to communicate with their cars, heat pumps, ovens, toasters and plants. Companies such as Smart Things already have kits that make your house appliances smart. Web developers will need to be quickly conversant with the reality of Unified Endpoint Management involving integration of wearables, IoT, and mobile devices into one holistic management framework.

5. Web Components & Google Polymer

Web development has become extremely complex today, with the range and variety of tools and testing and libraries required. To address this, W3C has introduced a new set of standards called Web Components, which provides a new framework for building web applications as a set of reusable components. Google’s Polymer Project provides impetus to this new approach by making it easier and faster to create client-side applications while incorporating mobile-ready design.




6. Responsive Design

The rapid growth of mobile and new adaptable screen sizes has transformed the whole realm of app design and development. This trend will continue as the form factors change and consumers demand support for any screen size and shape. Top players here are ZURB’s Foundation platform, which is billed as the most advanced responsive front-end framework in the world, and Semantic UI – a new design framework which excels at responsive apps.

7. Single Page Applications & Ajax

There’s a growing trend in web applications towards single page applications. The goal here is to build web site that fits on a single web page to provide a more fluid user experience akin to a desktop application. Ajax is the predominant technique for implementing SPAs, using the XMLHttpRequest object from JavaScript, along with the popular jQuery libraries.

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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called virtupresence.com, along with oversight and leadership of startuplabs.co - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.