“The only constant is change.” That’s how web development is defined, and in 2018 nothing will be different.
Users are continuously expecting more from their online experiences. Content should be engaging, intuitive, and accessible everywhere in real-time, especially on mobile devices.
Here are some online trends to watch in 2018.
Browser extensions are key add-ons for the major browsers and have been for years. Extensions improve a browser’s user interface and make browsing easier for the user.
From our computers to our phones, and even to custom computer devices, apps are used everywhere as a part of our daily lives. Whether it be for entertainment, convenience, or for a work-related need, these applications we use make what we do simpler and more efficient. If talk of apps and what all the thought-process that goes into them is too much stress and hard to understand, contact us now and we can help you to better understand your options, otherwise, read on…
Apps are most recognized today through their use on mobile devices, but that is truly just a name for something that has been used long before on desktop computers as well. Fast forward to today, and while mobile phones are taking off in the amount of usage and popularity, desktops still remain as a steady tool, especially among the working world. The desktop app is not dead, in fact, there have been, in recent years, new technologies intended at making applications made for the computer easier and more streamlined to create, which also allows for greater innovations and faster build times. What is this method? In conjunction with using Node.js and Electron, we can help to deliver a fully custom app, with all the features you could expect. This technology builds on top of a variation of chrome, so everything that you love and gain out of Chrome’s usage, can also then be applied to that app. This would include its speed, responsiveness, up-to-date HTML/CSS, and more. We can even help to set up automated updates to your application to ensure users are always on the newest version of your great application tools.
In this day and age, Content Management Systems (CMS) are easier to use and more versatile than ever. WordPress, for instance, started its life as an intuitive blogging platform and evolved into a full-featured framework for robust, database-driven websites. In a lot of circumstances, content management systems decrease development time and help facilitate rapid deployment. However, I can’t emphasize enough that third party content management systems should not be regarded as one-size-fits-all solutions.
As website builders, it is our responsibility to ensure that we’re utilizing the correct software solution for the job; lest we create more work for ourselves by altering core functionality, or by adding new functionality that drastically deviates from the content management system’s fundamental purpose.
Furthermore, the design team should have intimate knowledge of how the given CMS works and interact closely with the development team to ensure that the design itself doesn’t introduce functionality that is not native to the software. In our experience, this lack of synergy between designers and developers is the number one cause of superfluous custom development that could’ve been avoided.
Is your website doing everything possible to help your clients find you and get to you? One valuable tool that you can use to accomplish this important goal is to include a “Locations” page on your site. Suppose that your business is a chain of restaurants. In that case, a Locations page can tell customers which of your eateries is closest to the hungry person’s present location. If you don’t yet have such a page, it’s definitely something worth considering, and here’s how programmers go about building it.
Typically, such a page consists of a search field that allows their users to provide a location, and then returns a list of nearby destinations sorted by distance, often accompanied by a Google Map.
Your only asset is a database table containing all possible locations with columns specifying latitude and longitude. When the user submits their location, you’ll likely utilize the Google Maps API to retrieve the coordinates from an address, which you can then use to compare against your database records.
For those who look at this and wonder, what a Progressive Web App (PWA) is, here is the definition from Google:
Progressive Web Apps are experiences that combine the best of the web and the best of apps. They are useful to users from the very first visit in a browser tab, no install required. As the user progressively builds a relationship with the App over time, it becomes more and more powerful. It loads quickly, even on flaky networks, sends relevant push notifications, has an icon on the home screen and loads as top-level, full screen experience.
Before we look at this any further, let quick go over the layer of technology behind this called a “Service Worker” that works at the network level. Unlike traditional web code, a service worker will continue to run even when you are no longer on the website, waiting for either a command from your phone/computer, or a command from your network connection. This command will then trigger the service worker to run the relevant feature that is enabled on that Progressive Web App.
You have heard about someone offering free (as in beer) website certificates (aka SSL certificates) for your website. Whoever told you this was not lying. It’s actually quite true! With the revelations regarding shady dealings with intelligence agencies, law enforcement, ISP and black-hat crackers (i.e., your “cyber-thieves”), there’s been an industry-wide push to secure communications. Letsencrypt.org was founded to help address some of the issues in the web industry that led to the widespread failure of website owners and operators in obtaining secure certificates.
HTTPS/SSL in a nutshell
The average website you visit is typically accessed over HTTP (HyperText Transport Protocol). Accessing a site over HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) is a different process from HTTP. Accessing a site over HTTP makes your traffic visible to everyone on the network. Using tools like WireShark, if you were to park yourself at the point where your network meets the internet, you’d be able to see all the traffic (URLs, content, form data) of people on your network. This is how people perform Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks. In a MITM attack, someone sits on the connection between two networks and just eavesdrops on the data going back and forth. Also, by being in the middle of the communication stream, the attacker could modify the contents going back and forth, sending you malicious data and changing what you are transmitting to the server.