Scripting for the web is almost commonplace for modern developers. Websites are using more JavaScript because there are more open source libraries to work with. Also most web browsers have been accepting the rendering standards and have been working together in supporting all the major scripting enhancements.

But what does all this mean going into the future? Web development isn’t slowing down and we’re seeing more people interested in the field. You can build so much with just a few lines of jQuery or MooTools code. I want to look at some trends which may gather an even bigger following in the next few years to come.

Real Dynamic Content

JavaScript isn’t just used for flashy animations anymore! There is real work to be done with scripting and you can build some very impressive widgets. Dynamic content is ruling the web and most(if not all) is powered by JavaScript.

Some examples of smaller JS widgets include dropdown navigation menus, accordion menus, image rollovers, and auto-scroll buttons. There are too many limitations within HTML/CSS that you cannot simply build and replicate these same ideas. With so much open source code already out in the wild, I feel that it’s only getting easier for web developers to build these widgets on command.

JavaScript libraries have also played a huge role in the acceptance of these standards. Much of the typical JS coding is superfluous and requires verbose language. jQuery and MooTools have cleaned up a lot of the syntax and even built custom premade functions. It will be interesting to see how these code libraries will grow over the next few years.

Browser-Based Coding

It’s hard to believe there are already so many popular in-browser IDEs. More people are working on-the-go and like to have quick access to their code repos. You can look at something like jsFiddle which is the perfect example of coding in the cloud.

But even aside from this I feel we are going to have more developers pushing for browser based tools. It would be great to have a full code editor which you could upload onto your server and edit files right from the browser. CMS’ such as WordPress already have similar functionality built into the admin panel. Now we have robust applications such as Cloud9 which support FTP and even Git repos pulled directly from a remote server!

Extensible Plugins

It’s worth noting that plugins for JavaScript are becoming much more commonplace. With plugins for WordPress or PHP you generally need to configure settings and go through some installation process. But scripting is all done on the frontend – you just need to include the script inside your document and it’s good to go.

There are plugins out there which can do practically everything. There are simple Ajax requests, form validation, image uploads, and tons more. It goes to show that developers working and sharing together can really build a network of great ideas. But where will all this go in the future?

I’m hoping that we’ll experience more variety and clone plugins for specific features. It will be nice when Ajax requests can easily connect into a backend script written in PHP or Ruby. Then frontend developers won’t struggle with either side of the application, perhaps even merging both sides, and it gives reason to study on a new language.

Also plugins will hopefully become a bit easier to install and “plug into” a website. When you have something like an image slideshow or video player these require some additional edits in the code. While it’s not all that complicated there could be easier methods for implementation.

Connecting to the Server

I remember when Digg was still a fresh launch and their Ajax-powered social news was something to marvel at. Now we see practically every website is running some type of Ajax content. And noticeably it does stand out from the rest of the page. Not to mention it’s more convenient than refreshing the page every time a user submits a form field.

The XMLHttpRequest method has grown and been improved upon by nearly every framework. The jQuery .ajax() function is easy enough to learn within an hour or two of practicing. I sincerely hope we’ll begin to see more of these dynamic Ajax-based web applications released in the next few years.

There is only so much functionality you can add via Ajax. When you have visitors uploading images and videos this content is often large and clunky to work with. I truly believe we’ll see a revolution in scripting languages which makes videos and other forms of media easier to handle. Instead of just pulling XML from a database we could be download images from an external API or grabbing cached YouTube videos.

Final Thoughts

There’s certainly no reason for developers to move backwards and away from scripting. It has provided some major benefits to modern web design and clearly these trends are only moving forwards. I am excited to be living in this time as a web developer and studying the latest code releases.

Websites have gotten much easier to put online and time will soften that process greatly. I expect to see some amazing things coming from JavaScript developers and open source libraries. New functions are always replacing older legacy code as the system keeps on pushing. If you have similar ideas on the future of JavaScript feel free to share with us in the post discussion area.

Posted by Jake Rocheleau

Jake is a writer & digital designer/illustrator. He writes about all things web and creative. Check out his website for work samples and follow his latest updates on Twitter @jakerocheleau.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *