All You Should Know About Web Development in 2020 [Trends]
Of course, there’s a lot of hype out there about what’s hot and what’s not, there always is, but today we’re going to try to streamline through the noise to highlight everything you need to know about web development this coming year. Strap it, crack your knuckles, and let’s dive straight in.
Responsive should be a given
Responsive websites that work just as well as they do on mobile and tablet devices as they do on the desktop have been essential to businesses and organizations for years, but as smartphones and tablets continue to diversify, 2020 is bound to shake things up.
Take the new Samsung Fold, for example. This split-screen, foldable device works like any other, but when the technology inevitably arrives to split the screen of the browser, this could open up a whole new realm of website possibility.
As a developer, it’s important you remember how essential responsive website technology is and you’ll need to stay on top of the latest trends to stay ahead of the game.
It’s essential you learn newer CSS tools like Flexbox and Grid. Moreover, instead of heavily relying on Bootstrap [Bootstrap UI Kits], try and build your own components which you later reuse throughout your project. However, being aware of CSS Frameworks is just as important. Among those currently trending are Bootstrap, Tailwind CSS, Materialize, Bulma.
Learn basic deployment with domain registration, managed hosting, static hosting, SSL Certificate, FTP/SFTP, SSH, CLI & Git.
Tackle the frameworks like React, Angular, Vue. Try all of those and see what works best for you. Server-side rendering gets extremely popular, so getting familiar with Next.js for React and Nuxt.js for Vue is a must. Another trend is the static site renders like Gatsby, so ensuring you know about those and how they work won’t hurt.
For back-end development, Node.js is the most popular JS runtime environment, so getting to grips with it is a good idea. For server-side development frameworks, Express currently seems like a very good option. If you use Python, then learning Django and Flask is a must.
Web apps need a database to store data, and there are many databases to choose from. Among relational databases are PostgreSQL, MySQL, MS SQL; among noSQL databases are MongoDB, RethinkDB, CouchDB; among cloud databases — Firebase, Azure Could DB, AWS; lightweight and cache — Redis, SQLite, NeDB. For those, you need to learn SQL, ORM, ODM, etc. We’ve recently published an article on learning SQL with the best courses online, so you can check it out to see where you can get started.
Other tools worth mentioning are GraphQL, an alternative to REST for APIs, Content Management Systems like WordPress, web servers like NGINX and Apache. Getting to know things like Docker, a set of “platform as a service” products that use OS-level virtualization to deliver software in packages called containers, might be beneficial if you are into virtualization.
Specialties [Mobile development]
Progressive Web Apps
PWAs are regular web apps but have a native feel as far as experience, functionality, layout. They tend to be fast, engaging, reliable, installable, can work offline with service workers, and look great on all screen sizes. We’ve recently published an article on PWAs and Service Workers, check out for more details.
For desktop apps, check out Electron.
More single page websites
There’s no doubt that customers and readers want information as fast as possible and in as bite-sized chunks that are easy to absorb. This has created the trend of single page websites or static websites, websites that are built with HTML and CSS without scripting. Now, we’ve been talking about dynamic websites and PWAs, so talking about static websites might seem counterintuitive, but in fact, some companies opt for static as opposed to dynamic for various reasons, including security, reliability, hosting, price, and scalability.
There are also many other reasons for this, such as faster loading times (especially when using lazy loading features), and an increased ability to retain visitors for longer since they won’t need to visit separate pages and there’s less chance (if any at all) of them ending up where they didn’t want to be, thus leaving the website altogether.
As a web developer, it’s important to think about these features and what you can do to implement them into your website. Ask yourself, when is a good time to use it and with which clients or what information can you condense onto several pages to save time and space for both you and your visitors.
Even though Web Assembly is still in its early stages, it’s becoming popular and seems like it’s here to stay. Web Assembly is an efficient, low-level byte code that can be executed in the browser, and generated by languages like C, C++, and Rust.
Goodbye Flash Player
Flash player has been continuously phased out of the internet for several years now, but 2020 might see the complete end of it. Since the majority of internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, and mobile devices don’t support Flash, the feature is now basically obsolete, and you won’t need to use it at all.
Many web developers will already know this, and probably don’t use Flash technology at all, but now Adobe has made it official by stating that Flash will no longer be updated nor refreshed as a technology come 2020. Instead, always opt to use HTML5.
Fast info with voice search
With the introduction of Alexa, Siri, and Google Voice Assistant, voice searching has skyrocketed in popularity, and it’s vital for web developers to take this into account when building websites.
So many people nowadays grab their phones and make instant queries using these devices, so websites with the information need to provide a format that can be quickly picked up by search engines.
Accessibility is a top priority
We have written several pieces on accessibility, and now it’s becoming more important than ever. You may check recent accessibility lawsuits and how important the issue has become over the past year in a recent article by Fortune.
To make sure your website is easily accessible, check out the following articles:
Visuals, visuals, visuals
The visuals you use on a website will, in many cases, be the be-all and end-all as to whether someone clicks on your links and uses your website. This relates to everything from photographic content to the color schemes you’re using, so make sure you’re updating your knowledge and experience to see what’s trending, what’s working, and what you can do to stand out.
If you have the budget, consider investing in video content (and as a consequence, learning video editing tools) if you, say, own a website, YouTube channel, or a blog. Even if you’re not directly working with video, you have to know how to ensure websites incorporate video content in a strong and powerful way.
This means lots of clean space, lots of room for videos, and space for descriptions and related pages, with the video content being a highlight feature.
SEO is everything
SEO is still important when it comes to ranking in the top results of Google and other search engines, but with a shift in what type of content and what type of website works, you need to make sure your skills are up to date.
This means optimizing your websites for fast loading times, making sure content is laid out in an easy-to-index fashion, and that everything comes together to provide the very best experience possible for your end-users.
Enhanced Customer Support
Customer support solutions have been rapidly growing over the last few years, and 2020 sets to be the biggest year yet. This is all thanks to technologies like chatbots and AI that have made talking to customers even more comfortable and far more effective. Businesses can now respond to queries 24/7, and there’s no doubt this is going to be taken a step further.
As the technology becomes more effective, more affordable, and more refined, customers are also becoming increasingly happy to talk to these assistants, so as a web developer, you’ll need to be thinking about how you can incorporate this technology.
Brad Traversy talked about all of the above and many more in his recent video on Web Development in 2020. Check it out if you have a spare hour:
Helen Spade is a web development expert from Portland, PA, and a web and media consultant at Academicbrits.com and Phdkingdom.com. She enjoys reading and writing on different aspects of creativity, usually websites and social media posts, particularly for Originwritings.com. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org