Christian Heilmann

Web Development is moving on – are you?

Thursday, February 12th, 2009 at 6:56 am

Last week Think Vitamin released an article by me about the changes in web development. I wrote this article over Christmas to publish at another web magazine but it was not to be as they stopped publishing for the moment.

I consider this article and what it talks about very important at the moment. I’ve covered some of the topics in my presentation at the head conference 7 reasons why web development is running in circles already and I stick to my guns: if we want to prevent web development to decline into a “make it work now and cheap” state we need to make sure that we use what is out there already rather than trying to build everything from scratch.

The web these days reminds me of that chest of drawers in my grandparents’ flat: always stocked with sweets and easy to access. With APIs, SDKs and even filtering and caching mechanisms like YQL, Pipes or Gnip it is amazingly easy to build working systems on top of the internet as it is rather than trying to scrape data together. Using JavaScript and CSS frameworks it is pretty easy to build interfaces that are working across browsers without having to deep-dive into the pain that is cross-browser support and knowing all the hacks for each of the browsers.

I really like that after a long time hacking and making the web barely work for all the users out there we have a chance to concentrate on building good apps that solve problems of users rather than spending 90% of our time fixing the outcome to work for browsers.

Maybe it is also time to stop complaining about CSS not being a “real programming language” and lamenting the “dark art of building a three column layout” and concentrate on what we are passionate about and leaving these jobs to the people who are passionate about fighting that battle.

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