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Web Frontend development

What you can expect in 2021–2022

We’ll see new opportunities and more structure from new web standards, as well as some turbulence in the JavaScript space. Overall, the message is clear: web development skills are still as important as ever.

The basics still matter

The robots are not taking over. There will still be a need for solid web development skills. JavaScript, CSS, HTML5 and other ‘basic’ web development skills are not about to become obsolete overnight – or over the next two years.

Continued turbulence

The JavaScript client-side framework and library space is constantly changing. While UI frameworks and libraries such as React, Vue and Angular have grown more stable, the market will continue to evolve. In supporting libraries – for purposes such as state management – there are multiple options to choose from, and new contenders are likely to keep popping up.

WebAssembly (Wasm)

WebAssembly is probably the most talked about trend on the web. While its adaptation is still in its early stages, it is already seeing use in production.

WebAssembly both enables running code faster in the browser (e.g. in machine learning and video processing applications), and expands the technologies that can be used for web development (e.g. Blazor and Yew).

WASI (WebAssembly System Interface) makes it possible to run Wasm code outside the browser (e.g. on edge devices like Lucet).

Web standards

Standardization and adaptation of new web features will continue and make the web an increasingly powerful platform.

Web components will grow more mature and gain more popularity, with libraries such as LitElement, Stencil and FAST showing the way. Early adopters include household names such as Apple Music, Adobe, SpaceX, Tesla and Microsoft.

Web APIs like the Payment Request API enable players like Google and Apple to integrate web applications natively into their platform, leading to a maturing Progressive Web Application ecosystem.

Accessibility requirements

Both the public and the private sector are seeing a push to rapidly improve website accessibility. In Europe, a big part of this trend can be attributed to the EU Web Accessibility Directive and the European Accessibility Act. Similar developments are happening in other regions as well – for example with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 in the US.

In the EU, the first requirements are already in effect in the public sector, and the rest will roll out gradually by 2025. In most cases, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 offer a common reference for assessing accessibility.

By and large, this change revolves around a mindset shift rather than new tech capabilities. For people involved in web design and development, understanding the requirements is the first step – but in order for large-scale change to happen, they will have to be internalized and become a standard part of designing and building web-based services.

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