Five Technologies That Will Keep Shaping the Web in 2010

Dec 13 2009 by Dave Sparks | 57 Comments

As we’re coming to the end of this year, everyone starts to look towards the next one and there will no doubt be an upsurge of articles predicting the web trends of 2010 in the next days to come. However, in this article, we’ll be talking about what’s actually driving these trends now, and what they mean for the future of the internet.

Five Technologies That Will Keep Shaping the Web in 2010

1. CSS3, HTML5 and Fonts as a Service

CSS3, HTML5 and Fonts as a Service

CSS3, HTML5, and Fonts as a Service such as Typekit that cater to web browsers that already support the @font-face rule, are giving web designers the creative freedom that they have been coveting for a long time.

CSS3 is opening up various new options for styling content on the web, from multiple backgrounds on page elements, better ability to select and style elements with greater specificity, and color gradients without reliance on static graphics, to simpler aesthetical improvements such as support for rounded corners without the need for complicated sliding doors techniques or JavaScript.

HTML5 is slowly but surely changing the way we mark up our pages, bringing us closer to the holy grail of the semantic web, opening up native support for open format multimedia such as video and audio, and bringing us better ways to interoperate with the content of a website.

Another change that web designers have been wishing for is being able to use any font on a web page, without using static CSS background image replacement or relying on JavaScript and Flash. The development of tools like Typekit and greater support for the @font-face rule are enabling site builders to use a much wider range of fonts in their design.

So what will change?

These are all web technologies that are guaranteed to make the web a more aesthetically pleasing place. Of course, expect these new things to be misused by Sunday driver designers; there will be some horrible font choices and misemployed color gradients that will produce unreadable and tacky page designs, but it’s the opportunities that they open up for capable and creative designers that will be most interesting.

Some reading for you:

2. Ways we browse the web

Ways we browse the web

The browser landscape is alive and well, with better and faster web browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. Web users today are provided with many choices that will surely drive competition and one-upping from these companies – stressful for their developers, but great for consumers.

The browser wars is in full force, and unlike the preceding browser wars where Internet Explorer dethroned other browsers to take hold of a majority browser share, IE is shaping up to being the "dethronee" this time around.

And changes in browsing the web aren’t just limited to the web browser competition, the way we digest content from the web is increasingly becoming removed from the traditional "sit in front of your desktop" way. Smart phones are becoming more common, TV’s are becoming web-enabled–and as are gaming consoles such as the PS3 and Netbooks and mobile devices such as the iPhone and the Droid are giving users an experience on a smaller screen than a traditional laptop.

Moreover, browsers themselves are changing. The launch of Google Chrome brought the WebKit engine, a layout engine that has a big portion of CSS3 and HTML5 specifications already implemented, to Windows-based computers better than Apple’s Safari port to Windows, and it may yet be a bigger milestone than many first thought. With Google aiming for a 10% share of the market over the next couple of years, a big push for users may well be coming. A large shift from the dominant web browser, Internet Explorer, is underway and may be successful next year. In Germany, Mozilla Firefox is close to overtaking IE’s market share as we speak.

These factors are revising the way we think about web design and accessibility. Do you have a mobile version of your site? What does it look like on a small screen? What does it look like on a large screen? What does it look like in a WebKit versus Gecko versus Trident browser layout rendering engine?

Attitudes towards viewing of websites across different media is changing as well, designers are increasingly becoming of the opinion that designs do not need to render the same everywhere, nor do they need to give the same user experience across all web browsers.

So what will it change?

There’s a good chance that you’ll start to see websites that don’t look the same in every browser. Techniques for progressive enhancement are more commonplace than before, giving users of modern web browsers a better web experience than those who will not or cannot use them. Furthermore, there’s already widespread acceptance towards foregoing support for antiquated browsers, putting the burden of getting users upgraded on the browser makers, and not the designers. This type of forward thinking will only grow in the upcoming year. What’s more, the changes in the way we view the web will shift focus to content, functionality and accessibility, but by no means at the expense of good, interesting and inspiring design.

3. Social media

Social media

No one can deny that 2009 has been a big year for social media: Twitter, for example, has become the buzzword in many a boardroom and office. It’s obvious that it will continue to a big part of the web in the future.

In many ways, the growth of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook has led the web to be much more community-oriented. Big changes could happen within social media and, no doubt, will be led by monetization of the media.

One of the big questions revolves around how you measure the impact and value of social media and how to get that value back. How valuable are 1,000 twitter followers? Do you start charging for the service? Answering all these questions will lead to significant changes over the next year in the social media arena.

Along with these changes will come increased focus in getting information in real-time. Google is already discussing real-time search to leverage the immediate and breaking information that can be found on sites like Twitter. How these changes are integrated into the current web system, especially in terms of search engine technology, could precipitate into some interesting developments and innovation in the way we seek information online.

So what will it change?

With more people participating in the creation of information on the web, the way in which we obtain information will shift from being from a singular source, into a more community-created source. Looking for information about, say, a car repair shop will show you recent tweets and Facebook updates about that company instead of outdated and static information.

4. JavaScript

JavaScript

Whilst CSS3/HTML5 has started to step on the toes of JavaScript, JavaScript itself has started to inch into the territory of Flash. The growth of frameworks such as jQuery and has made rich client-side interaction and asynchronous/seamless user experiences a reality. This leads to easier deployments of web applications, which in turn, increases competition, which in turn, leads to innovation.

JavaScript is already stepping into what, in the past, we would associate as being Flash’s territory, such as interactive games (which can be used for training and distance-learning applications) and complex and interactive data visualization. It should also enable us to replicate rich interfaces and flash type experiences in a much more accessible way.

And very recently, 10 years after the last major revision, JavaScript (known as ECMAscript in web standards organizations) has just finished a major revision of its specifications for the language. Once browser companies adopt these standards, web developers will be provided with more tools to improve their capabilities in creating web applications.

So what will it change?

Because CSS3 and HTML5 will replace a lot of what JavaScript is doing now (i.e. complex element selections, dynamic rounded corners, handling real-time editable web pages), we will see a surge in JavaScript developing into being focused solely on handling programming logic of webapps on the client-side. With the news of the major revision on JS specifications, we will see a progression towards better web applications that can interoperate much better with other web apps (for example, a major goal for the new set of specs is the security of JSON objects).

5. Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service business models have been knocking around for years. Top-notch SaaS such as 37 Signals products and Google Enterprise are more commonplace now than ever before.

The competition is fierce; the technologies are becoming affordable and requiring little upfront costs, which gives the little guys a chance to compete with the bigger guys. In the next year, we’ll see this competition increase, and hopefully, the outcome is innovation in web apps.

So what will it change?

SaaS’s as a business model will continue to replace more traditional software that require you to install and run them on your desktop. With so much more people connected to the internet, the demand is on internet-enabled, interoperable applications. In 2010, we are in for some surprise improvements driven by a need to stand out from the crowd.

What are your predictions for the next year?

What do you think will be the catalysts for change over the next year? How do you think the web technologies we have now will evolve? Leave us a comment!

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About the Author

Dave Sparks is a web designer and developer working for Armitage Online in the Lake District. He can be found writing about various web topics on his blog at Kamikazemusic.com, twittering as twitter.com/dsparks83 and working on his website analytics project - Stat Share.

57 Comments

Phillip Gibb

December 13th, 2009

hmmm HTML5 and CSS3 – bring the happiness

Nido

December 13th, 2009

Internet Explorer, for better or worse, okay lets be realistic it is always worse, IE will continue to shape the internet as long as it has the hold it does on the user base.

Luckily Google and other companies are limiting the experience of IE users in a lot of ways, and it is having an effect on the user base, but not enough. We all honestly have to do what we can to encourage people to switch away from IE for the sake of our industry.

Richard de Pijper

December 13th, 2009

Dave nice article, only i miss the ability for search engines to analyse content of flash elements.

Ted Goas

December 13th, 2009

I feel like this list could have stopped after 1 and 2. #’s 3 – 5 aren’t really ‘new’. I guess they’ll keep shaping the web, but nothing groundbreaking.

Doc

December 13th, 2009

5 years ago, I said IE would no longer be the dominant browser in 5-10 years and was laughed off all the forums. Almost there. Reading what Microsoft has planned for IE9, I’d say it will become unusual for anyone to be using IE in 5 more year; maybe less. Write it down.

garrick van buren

December 13th, 2009

Kernest.com is a Web Fonts as Service provider using a CSS-only implementation.

Waasys

December 13th, 2009

Totaly agree about social media! I get 20% of my isit from twitter! isn’t that cool?

Wynn Netherland

December 13th, 2009

I love Typekit, but I hope font-renting doesn’t become synonymous with @font-face. There are some great free alternatives, perhaps the best being FontSquirrel. I recently wrote about how FontSquirrel stacks up to Typekit head-to-head: http://wynnnetherland.com/2009/11/font-face-off-typekit-vs-font-squirrel/

James Brooks

December 13th, 2009

Very nice article! I can imagine all of what has been said. It will definitely change the way we use the web today!

Elliot Rock

December 13th, 2009

Flash 10.1 and AIR2

Seems an obvious miss?

- multi touch, gestures for mobile and POS
- UDP for super fast file/streaming
- efficiency for mobile platforms (ignoring the iPlone for a moment)
- hardware acceleration

That for a start only tickles what the possible are with the usage. Especially considering AIR has brought some fine mass used apps to the desktop!

Peter Steen Høgenhaug

December 13th, 2009

I think the Unity game engine (http://unity3d.com/) is going to take over the web… It really pushes the borders of what you can do in a browser. Take a look at http://helloracer.com/ – this is a great example of the power of Unity.

Simon

December 13th, 2009

The biggest step forward for the web over the next year will be IE6 users dropping to a percentage where they can be safely ignored.

Nicole Foster

December 13th, 2009

I can see Javascript being even better in this next year. Javascript can be used in the most creative ways we can think of. I can’t way to see how it will evolve!

Joe

December 13th, 2009

Good read Dave! 2010 will be an interesting year for technology…but my guess is so will 2011…

Kimcool

December 13th, 2009

HTML5 CSS5.I love it!

Mike Benner

December 13th, 2009

I think browsers will continue to change the experience through the next year. Those that adopt speed and flexibility and increase standards coverage will win. I feel social media will start to become less and less useful as more options jump in the arena and muddy the waters and increase the noise eliminating what has made it useful to this point.

Robert

December 14th, 2009

This article misses one key thing about IE. Microsoft is bringing hardware acceleration to IE9. They are apparently on the right track because not one day later Firefox said they are working on the same thing and that they will beat microsoft to market. So Microsoft is doing at least one thing right with IE.

The other thing IE related is HTML5 and CSS3 standards. Microsoft has stated that these technologies will be on par with the other broswers.

Regardless of how we feel about IE (and I pretty much hate that damn broswer) I will admit they are on the right track and trying to address the frustrations it causes for us web developers.

SaaS don’t count Microsoft (Office web apps), Apple (Lala purchase), and Adobe out. They are all doing some cool stuff.

Jaspal

December 14th, 2009

really the things which are mentioned will bring lots of difference … and CSS3 & HTML5 is what i am looking for :)

Deepu Balan

December 14th, 2009

IE is not a webdesigner friendly browser I agree, but browser like IE6 helped us self-learners a lot improve our HTML/CSS debugging skills. Its becoz of IE6′s browser compatibility issues we were forced to explore the possibilities of CSS n (x)HTML in detail. But now after trying IE9, I feel like IE is not anymore a nightmare, It improved a lot, thanks mozilla!

Really interesting article Dave, thanks for sharing…

-Deepu

OPA

December 14th, 2009

Multi-background is charming. It can reduce the size of DOM tree.

WordWarrior

December 14th, 2009

What about semantics – with the huge amount of data present, classifying information based on context rather than content, will be paramount for companies which handle large amount of data (financial, social, etc). Here microformats, RDF triplets, RDF stores, inference engines, etc can be included (as technologies) that will shape the web.

allenbina

December 14th, 2009

javascript? are you kidding me? wasnt the point of html5 to take javascript and adobe out of the picture?

Jamie Winder

December 14th, 2009

Kernest.com is not only practical but is a free service too and all fonts offered have no lincensing complications. I used it for the first time last week and will never touch SiFR again!

Paula

December 14th, 2009

Yep, SaaS is gaining in popularity and scope, as are cloud based working models. Webdesign will no longer a single person sweatshop project, but collaboration between a multi-talented team of creators. SaaS is great!

Seamus Leahy

December 14th, 2009

@Robert I do look forward to the improvements in IE9. And, if they were moving at this pace and in this direction 8 years ago, it would have been heralded as amazing. But, I wonder if they are moving fast enough to keep up with Webkit and Gecko (and Opera)?

Greg W

December 14th, 2009

2010 is going to be a great year for web development.

titos2k

December 14th, 2009

javascript and flash animations have some animation smoothness problems in Firefox 3.5 :\

Chris Pierre

December 14th, 2009

Great Post!

I am really looking forward to the changes and innovations that will be brought forward in 2010.

Technologies such as HTML5/CSS3 are going to be a real help for us web designers and developers . Of course the continuation of JS frameworks like jQuery and Mootools will be exciting to learn.

And Lastly on of my HIGHLY anticipated innovations is the use of “Real Time Search” with Google, Twitter etc..

Dave Sparks

December 14th, 2009

Thanks for all the comments, for all of you who have pointed out other technologies this most certainly isn’t a definitive list and they aren’t necessarily new technologies but they are pushing us forward.
It’s just nice to take a step back from saying next year all the web trends will be x,y and z and have more of a think of why they will be x, y and z.

@allenbina I wouldn’t bank on JavaScript going anywhere soon, it will, for quite a long time be a step ahead of CSS and HTML coding.

cancel bubble

December 14th, 2009

Has HTML5 even gone before the W3C yet?

Brandon Sheley

December 14th, 2009

Great article and awesome info
bookmarking this site, this is the first time I’ve seen it. (I think)

Robert B.

December 14th, 2009

In regards to the IE comment near the top.

It’s funny because so long as we make things viewable in IE, we’re enabling people to continue to have a good experience in IE. But it’s our job to do so. I would love it, if it was just common place among the design / develop community to axe IE support and force the backwards thinking people to get with it. If the entire web does it, MS would have to adapt – it’ll never happen. Because by having a combined community effort, there would be people who see that as an opportunity, and people who work for business who simply wouldn’t allow that behavior.

David Jonsson

December 14th, 2009

I have to agree with Robert B. and Nido – IE is killer. Chris Coyier has a script which notifies your user that they’re using a bug ridden browser which at the end of the day is helping your user. I recently wrote a short article on my opinions of IE http://davidjonsson.com.au/my-design-blog/index.php/should-we-still-support-ie6

RL Creative

December 15th, 2009

And again Microsoft released an operating system with a built-in browser. The popularity of IE is coming from the fact, that when you install Windows, it is already set up and you don’t have to do anything esle. That’s why people don’t download other browsers.
And why will the person download another browser, if almost all websites are good-looking in IE. But just imagine if one day all Google projects stop showing content properly in IE (at least for a week) and the same time telling a person, that website will look better in Google Chrome. Can you imagine, how many % of IE users will download Chrome during this week? And let’s add more popular websites: Social media, news portals, popular blogs. Almost every website today is working on IE fix’es.

Somebody has to begin a war against IE. Webdesigners have to cooperate with each other. But as nobody does anything, the situation stays the same :)

Jannis Gerlinger

December 15th, 2009

very great, but the multiple background images example wouldn`t work :(

Chris Calitz

December 16th, 2009

Great article. CSS3 and HTML5 will really close the gap between offline and online computing.

Dave this was really good article looking forward to reading some more of your stuff.

Dave Sparks

December 16th, 2009

@cancel bubble – the HTML5 spec is still being put together to the best of my knowledge. However don’t let that stop you using it.

@Janni Gerlinger – you have to be viewing the page with a webkit browser, so chrome or safari – unless anyone knows of any recent changes with other browsers.

Sachin Tehare

December 28th, 2009

Dave, a very good article. If Microsoft want to survive in the competition of the browsers then they really need to change the thought process of their browser, so called IE (Internet Explorer).

Browsers is there for users and users are not there for browsers.

Sergej

January 4th, 2010

i’m not sure if html5 and css3 will be used by all browsers till 2011…
we’ll see

Dave Sparks

January 5th, 2010

Sergej – I think most browsers will be implementing at least parts of the HTML5/CSS3 spec by the end of 2010. But regardless these technologies will be used by people all over the web through various techniques such as graceful degradation and progressive enhancement.
A great article about the future of HTML5/CSS3 is Andy Clarke’s post on 24 ways – http://24ways.org/2009/ignorance-is-bliss

Alex Flueras

January 6th, 2010

Great article as usual. I am really waiting the moment when most of the browsers will support html5/css3 !!

Mark

January 6th, 2010

Hi !I think in the year of 2010 browsers will get a big success about to change the experience in the world of internet. i think that’s must be speed and flexibility and increase standards coverage as well..well you have pointed 5 most important thing that’s very nice thanks.

Nadya Nuryati

January 21st, 2010

i just want to say that twitter is not good anymore :(
my friend said it on a forum

adsl viettel

April 13th, 2010

Google Chrome has a great fast but still not has plugin popular like firefox, so in 2010, firefox will be the best :)

Kosers Luosew

April 21st, 2010

New technologies make us more convenient.

solexy

May 17th, 2010

it’s ture, all from list will be popular

raheel4art

August 23rd, 2010

great thanks to share.

Garry

September 21st, 2010

Not only good but awesome post :)

Saravana

September 29th, 2010

JADE (Java Agent DEvelopment Framework) ??????

nisa sanjaya

December 9th, 2010

what about SDK?? I still do not understand. :-o

aswin

January 7th, 2011

Good article .Like it

britney

February 4th, 2011

lol from the future.
all true.

Darrell

April 5th, 2011

Nice list, a bit iffy about JavaScript (MooTools/JQuery) being there though. Been around a while….

SaaS, must do that! ;)

siva

April 13th, 2011

great job

minaam

September 28th, 2011

excelent information dave sparks u r realy sparks

prabhu

October 7th, 2011

Its really geart article and great job

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