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10 web/tech predictions for 2015

December 18, 2014

10 web/tech predictions for 2015

When I was about 11 years old I saw some guy walking his dog in the park while making a call with his cellular phone. My mother and I both agreed that it looked stupid and no sane person would ever need to own a phone to make calls while walking your dog. If you need to talk to someone just use a phone booth. It soon became quite obvious that a career as a prophet wasn’t aligned in the stars for me. However, 18 years later, I feel the urge to give it another shot.

If you look at web and tech, 2014 gave us more flat designed websites, better responsive designs, wearables became more popular and Nokia was sold to Microsoft.
For me, as a front-end developer, 2014 has brought me srcset and the <picture> element, HTML5 became a recommended standard (finally) and IE8 usage gradually declined (yay!).

But what will change in 2015? I’ve made a few predictions, of which maybe one or two will come true. A bit of a warning, some of them (numbers 2, 3 & 9) are really front-end oriented.

1. IE8 gone, all desktop is auto-update

For a lot of web developers fixing websites to work in Internet Explorer 8 is the least fun part of their job. It’s a lot better than it’s predecessors, but still far behind compared to  the latest browsers. This is not unexpected, as the browser is more than 5 years old. The problem is people are still using Windows XP, and Windows XP is stuck with Internet Explorer 8 (IE8).

Ever since Microsoft announced that they were dropping support for Windows XP on April 2014, IE8 has seen a gradual decline in users. Thus, for some lucky developers, Internet Explorer 8 has already left the to-support list.

In 2015, even more projects will stop supporting IE8 because of the declining user base. And with that, all desktop browsers will have an auto-update feature build in. IE9 and IE10 already have about the same (sometimes less) users as IE8. This means that sometime next we we can develop most project for the latest browser versions. This will mean a lot less developing, testing, bugfixing and frustrations.

2. NPM instead of Grunt / Gulp

As mentioned earlier, this is a bit of a front-end thing. 2014 has seen a large rise in Grunt and Gulp usage, as well as other build tools. But lately I’ve seen more and more blog post about people leaving different build tools in favor of  plain npm. I think people are getting a bit tired of relying on plugin upon plugin and have more of a desire to go back to a native solution. Which also brings me to my next prediction.

3. Heavy frameworks versus micro libraries

In 2014 a lot of developers have been experimenting with frameworks like AngularJS, Knockout, Bootstrap or Backbone.js. It seems like there’s a new framework every week. Having so many options makes it hard to keep up and to become familiar with. As I said before, I think 2015 will be the year that developers will be craving to go back to the basics. Back to native JavaScript, maybe add some micro libraries. And it will be easier if we don’t have to support older browsers. Maybe not for single page apps, but for the regular websites that most of us build.

4. Less Facebook, more Google+/Ello/Tsu

Ok, back to something more general. This is a prediction that is based upon nothing, and it’s something that I have been predicting for a couple of years now. Maybe it’s something that I really want, or something that should happen one day.

I think this will really be the year that Facebook will plummet. Younger people are already using different social media for a while now. They use Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Whatsapp, etc. Maybe next year will be the year for the niche social media, like Ello or Tsu. But Google+ could become suddenly popular, like Twitter did a couple of years ago. Or maybe even Bebo, Qzone or LINE.

5. Chromecast type devices and smart(er) TVs

Internet enabled TVs, through devices like Chromecast or build-in apps, will become more popular in 2015. We won’t be browsing the traditional way, but we use our smartphones or tablets to cast our sites, or use apps.

There is a big challenge: . A lot ofMost Almost no website is optimized for TVs. This means that you will get the same site as you get on your desktop. But the problem is that you sit a lot further away and TVs don’t have the same processing power as other devices. TVs should get their own site experience: larger fonts, less content, less animations, big buttons, etc.

6. Material design is the new flat design

In June 2014 Google released their design language called material design. It’s a clean design with grid based layouts, responsive animations and transitions, padding, and depth effects such as lighting and shadows. It is currently used in Android 5.0 and most of Googles (web) apps. As Andoid 5 becomes more popular, so will material design.

7. No more huge images, because of performance

In 2015 we will take performance more serious. And with it, the current trend of the huge full-screen images. White space will be more apparent and most visual appealing aspects of the site will be functional. This is more something that I hope, and less something that I really believe will happen.

8. Wearable will become more mainstream

So yes, in the past I’ve been dead wrong about new technologies. Not only about mobile phones, but I also thought that navigation systems would be too expensive to ever hit the big market. And that the iPad would be Apple’s downfall. To take it on the safer side, this time I think wearables will become more mainstream.

The sad truth is that if Apple creates something, people will buy it. But maybe that only works if the product is prepended with an ‘i’. Apple’s Pippin didn’t really work out. Anyway, the Apple Watch will probably be a success and other manufacturers will profit from it. Even toy stores will soon sell smart watches for kids (though I liked this one better).

I don’t like it, but I’ll manage.

9. The extensible web

Another technical thing. The next step in the web standards will be about putting the developer in charge.
“it’s about giving/ exposing primitives so developers can extend various parts of the platform”
For example, we will be able to control HTML elements (Web Components), data storage (Service Workers) and even the specs itself (specs.webplatform.org, still a work in progress). There is an Extensible Web Manifesto if you are interested in reading more about it.

10. Flying cars, auto lacing shoes, hover boards, smart jackets, dehydrated pizza and double ties

In 2015 Marty McFly will travel from 1985 to save his future, now his present. So next year will we see flying cars everywhere, we will hydrate our pizza’s in a microwave and we will be wearing double ties. I don’t know how we are going to do it, but my childhood will be ruined if it doesn’t happen.

 

Paul Verbeek

Paul Verbeek