Review of Popular Trends and Tools for Developers in 2016
Software technology is constantly evolving, and internet users as well as people creating digital products expect innovations and progress in this field. To provide high-quality development services for clients and final users being competitive on the market, it’s highly advisable for designers and programmers to keep an eye on mainstreams in the professional sphere and try the latest and greatest advances. Although it doesn’t always mean that new tools and trends will immediately replace the current, still the strategy of setting up the sails for every wind usually provides higher level of professional flexibility and growth.
The year 2016, which is quickly leaving day by day, has brought a lot of news as well as established some already known tools, trends and techniques even more solidly via practice and updates. Web and app developers have got new frameworks, updating technology and powerful development tools. We have discussed what Tubik Studio developers find popular and important to mention in the domain in 2016, so today let us share some of the ideas. Well, here is the list of broadly used programming languages, frameworks and tools as well as updates that quickly won their place in the process. As usual, this year development trends and popular choices are driven by greater efficiency, increased customization and ease of use. Let’s check what has been found essential in iOS and web development.
The constantly changing world of mobile phones, tablets and other devices means app developers are kept busy all the time, still to be competitive they need to be ready to learn all the time to strengthen their high professional level and flexibility. Every latest version and update of iOS operating system brings new facilities, opportunities and challenges for developers. The following stuff was widely used in creating great deal of iOS apps this year.
Alamofire is a Swift-based HTTP library for iOS and Mac OS X. It uses NSURLSession and the Foundation URL loading system to provide first-class networking capabilities in a convenient Swift interface that simplifies a number of common tasks for the developers. Alamofire offers chainable response and request methods, JSON parameter and response serialization, authentication, network reachability, Unit and Integration test coverage and many other features. It was initially written in Swift and did not inherit anything from Objective-C.
ReSwift is Redux implementation of the unidirectional data flow architecture in Swift. The ReSwift library allows everybody to dive into code, understand every line easily and contribute. It also supports Swift 2.2 through to Swift 3. ReSwift is quickly growing beyond the core library, providing experimental extensions for routing and time traveling through past app states. It provides separating app components into three important concerns: State, Views and State Changes.
Firebase is a BaaS (Backend-as-a-Service) that started as YC11 startup and grew up into a next generation app development platform on Google Cloud Platform. It supports the web, iOS, OS X, and Android platforms. Traditionally configuration of a server requires fetching data via some API that is written to retrieve data from the server. Firebase simplifies storing and retrieving the data via a third party service and comes with its own API. The platform was acquired by Google in October 2014 and received a significant number of new features in May 2016. In the new version, Firebase takes many of Google’s existing developer tools, like Google Cloud Messaging and combines them with new and current Firebase services, among which app indexing, crash reporting, hosting, cloud messaging, AdWords, AdMob, storage, real-time database and others.
Before Swift came into play, Objective-C had been the main programming language used by developers for OS X and iOS operating systems and their APIs. Swift, introduced at Apple’s 2014 WWDC, brought its own dose of revolution. In general description, Swift is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm, compiled programming language broadening the previous scope of operating systems as it was developed for iOS, OS X, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux. The latest version Swift 3 got improvements which made code-writing more natural and consistent. By downloading Xcode 8 developers can easily use this new version and move automatically from previous to latest Swift 3 syntax.
CSS processors emerged in web development many years ago having quite limited set of features in their early version. Yet, nowadays they are the key points for CSS development. The processors extend CSS with variables, operators, interpolations, functions, mixins and many other usable assets. At the moment, Less and SASS are mentioned among the most popular preprocessors with the large feature sets. However, the news that Bootstrap 4 is migrating over to SASS gives it a slight edge over Less in 2016.
Foundation is a highly advanced front-end framework useful for designing responsive and flexible websites. The framework supports GPU acceleration for smooth animations and has Fastclick.js for fast rendering on mobile devices. It runs on the SASS preprocessor and includes the Foundation-developed data interchange attribute, which allows loading lightweight HTML sections for mobile and bigger HTML sections for larger screens. Foundation is used by Facebook, eBay and Mozilla, but it is quite complex and may not be suitable for beginners. The version 6.3.0-rc3 was released in December 9, 2016. It has a number of the improvements such as the updates of components and fixed errors of previous version.
Nowadays lots of programming languages and their frameworks, such as PHP, Java, Ruby and the like, are used for efficient back-end development. It’s time to check out the list of popular languages and frameworks often chosen for web projects.
PHP is an HTML-embedded programming language. The main aim of the language is to allow creating dynamically generated pages quickly. Its frameworks are used for back-end development and widely used for the complex web services. One of the main PHP development concepts is to reuse generic components and modules for faster creation and better performance of the projects. The frameworks allow keeping the codes organized, facilitating scalability and ensuring long-term maintenance.
Laravel is an open-source web framework intended for the development of web apps following the model–view–controller (MVC) architectural pattern. The framework has a lot of fresh features and lightweight templating engine that helps developers complete the most frequent tasks like authentication, sessions, queuing and caching. Laravel has a micro-framework Lumen focusing on lean management. It helps to develop sub-projects and micro-projects and allows programmers to put them into the main framework by just copying the code into the particular project. Laravel 5.3 was released in August 23, 2016. The new features are focused on speeding up developer’s performance by adding the set of extra improvements for common tasks, for instance Laravel Scout (a driver based full-text search engine for Eloquent), Laravel Passport (the technology deploying OAuth2 server), Laravel Mailable, Laravel Notifications, Laravel Echo (an improvement to the existing event broadcasting system), a new $loop variable of Laravel Blade and a huge overhaul of documentations.
Yii is an open source, object-oriented, component-based, MVC framework, easy to use for developing web apps and APIs. It has a reliable code generator allowing to save time writing code to connect to the database and also it uses the ActiveRecord pattern for object-relational mapping which means less SQL code to write. The main benefit of the framework is the ability to decrease the complexity of developer’s work. Products created with the Yii framework are characterized as efficient, extensible and easy to maintain. The latest version of Yii was released on October 20, 2016 presenting a complete rewrite of Yii on top of PHP 5.4.0.
Symfony is an open-source web framework built on top of components such as Drupal, Ez Publish, and phpBB. These components are reusable PHP libraries used to complete tasks like creation, routing, object configuration, authentication, templating, etc. Symfony APIs also enable easy integration with third-party apps and Symfony can be used with popular front-end frameworks such as AngularJS. The latest version of Symfony was released in December 13, 2016 with enhanced performance and fixed bugs for providing the reliable workflow.
Node.js Express — a minimalist and flexible framework built on top of node.js and has taken node.js to the next level by providing high-level wrappers around node.js APIs. The framework offers all the features required for developing high-quality web apps, mobile apps and APIs. Express also qualifies as Node.js rest API framework.
KOA — a lightweight framework for developing web apps and APIs. KOA requests flow through middleware in a stack-like manner allowing developers to perform actions downstream then filter and manipulate the response upstream. KOA generators also greatly increase readability and robustness of the app.
Sails.js. — a web framework that sets platform for easy building custom, enterprise-grade Node.js apps. The framework is designed to resemble the MVC architecture from frameworks like Ruby on Rails but it has more modern, data-oriented style of web app development. Sails.js has all the features required for building anything from a small scale chat client to an enterprise grade web app.
Java EE is a platform for creating large-scale apps and software in the Java programming language. It includes a runtime development environment as well as an API and has additional features in comparison with the standard edition, including web services, distributed architectures, multi-tier architectures and object-relational mapping.
.NET Framework is a technology that supports building and running the next generation apps and web services. The framework consists of the common language runtime and the .NET Framework class library. The common language runtime is the foundation of the .NET Framework. The technology provides language interoperability across several programming languages (each language can use code written in other languages).
Even this review, briefly describing popular tools and software, shows that the sphere is constantly growing and offering new opportunities for both developers and users. Whatever broad and diverse the list of tools will be, in practice developers choose what is better for them only by taking their own steps and breathing life in digital products via code. The best tool, software and technique is the one that enables to provide the final product which is effective, user-friendly and solid in performance. That’s the biggest intention we had compiling this list: providing developers with food for thought on trying something new and reviewing which important things the year has brought. No doubt, the next year will be even more powerful in innovation for app and web development sphere so let’s look forward to them together!