The top 10 technical website development advances in the last couple of years

By Gareth
20th November 2013 at 13:07

As any technology professional will know, the web has changed drastically in the last couple of years. There are vast arrays of new technologies that are pushing web design into the future. Here are the best ones of recent times.

10. Social Media Integration

Social media has really taken off since 200, and while integration has always been important, the last couple of years have proved that you really cannot go without it. There are a number of ways to integrate social media into your website including Share functionality, Likes and incorporating updates within the content. Doing so can really help build your social profile.

9. Curved Corners

Prior to the CSS3 specification, curved corners on any web item be it a solid colour or a photo needed to be achieved using graphic elements. Now it’s extremely easy to corner off using the fantastic border-radius in CSS3. It’s not just limited to solid colours but photos also. You can even specify the corner you wish to curve.

8. Transparency

Like curving elements, transparency also required the use of transparent PNG files. Now in 2013, it’s extremely easy to achieve with the use of RGBa.

7. Hosted Fonts

There was a time when you couldn’t use non web safe fonts on the internet. That changed with the CSS2 specification. However, there were some drawbacks of using custom fonts. Quite often depending on the user’s computer settings some would appear scratchy and ruined the look of a site. In 2013, Google and Font Squirrel offer hosted fonts.

Not only are hosted fonts great for saving on bandwidth and speeding up your site, but they are also available in a variety of different weights and do not have the drawbacks of hosting your own fonts. While the choice may be limited, they have carefully chosen fonts that are readable and will look great on your website.

6. Drag and Drop functionality

While this is essentially part of the HTML5 specification, we just have to talk about drag and drop.

Drag and drop is inherently a natural way of thinking for computer users. It’s been there in platforms since Windows came along. To now have it in websites is just amazing for any web developer or designer. We won’t get into the uses but this is something you can’t overlook.

5. AJAX

We would admit, AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is nothing new, but now with all the advancements in web technology, it’s never been more important. The ability to use animations and content that doesn’t reload the whole page is just pure excitement and screams usability.

4. CSS3 Animations

Animation as a whole has taken over in 2013 and will continue to do so in 2014. Combined with jQuery, animations really aid usability. The simple ease of use makes it one of the best advances in the last year. Imagine an buying process on e-commerce that animates like its being dropped into a shopping basket.

3. SASS

SASS is probably the odd one out here for well-known technology. However, this great CSS technology allows for variables and nested styling within websites. Ultimately, it’s more of a development dream but this great technology is a must.

2. HTML5 Canvas

HTML5 canvas is the final blow to Flash based websites. In 2014, you’ll see many sites start to make use of canvas via HTML5. It allows for amazing animations with little overhead on the browser. If you’re not making use of Canvas in 2014, you’re seriously missing out.

1. Responsive Design

That brings us to our number one technology leap: Responsive Design. Finally we are able to ditch mobile specific websites. With responsive design principles, any website can be tailored for multi platforms. Be it mobile, tablet or desktop, there is nothing more exiting in recent years than responsive websites.

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