Web development trends for 2021 display society’s needs in the booming technological era. Simple dynamic pages and animations are not enough anymore to meet the demands of an average Internet user. The new tools make websites more convenient and engaging. For example, voice search saves users’ time. Internet of Things allows the connection between modern smart appliances. Progressive web apps provide better quality, speed, and offline usability. As a user, once you try a webpage packed with best practices and up-to-date features, other websites that lack innovation seem extinct.
Before naming the most popular development trends, let’s understand why PHP goes well with them.
Pros of choosing PHP for development
1) PHP ensures accelerated development. With its ready-made solutions and use of frameworks, the team does not spend time on redundant coding. Time-efficiency saves costs because, in web development, you pay for the number of hours each specialist works.
2) There are many available specialists. PHP is among the five most popular programming languages. It resulted in the creation of a worldwide community of developers. Each year, there are more and more specialists of different skill levels. Thus, you will definitely find the ones that are best for your project’s requirements and budget.
3) PHP contributes to an improved loading speed. This programming language is continually developing to become faster and more convenient. The loading speed is attainable by using frameworks, up-to-date tools, and high-quality integrations.
4) It has a great synergy with other programming languages. Although PHP solves many development challenges, we must be fair about one thing. There are cases when other languages have better solutions for specific issues. PHP here still wins a point for being easy to combine with other programming languages. For example, at our company, we needed to use Artificial Intelligence technology in the project. After analysis, our team decided to go with Python tools because they were better for this specific purpose. In fact, that’s the advantage of outsourcing development companies. They often can find professionals of different skills and specialization fast.
5) It is flexible. The main feature of pure PHP is its lack of structure. It gives great freedom to what a developer can create out of it. Of course, lack of organization often results in rackless coding. However, that’s why frameworks exist. They optimize and structure PHP while still maintaining its flexibility.
Modern web development trends and how PHP comes in hand
It is crucial to monitor and keep up with the trends for several reasons. Firstly, they serve as indicators of what software users want today and will want tomorrow. Secondly, the trends help to acknowledge up-to-date tools and give up on the outdated ones. They are drivers of change, defining the nature of the development community in the world of the future. So, entrepreneurs and software developers either conform to them fast and become competitive or refuse to learn and try new things, making their products irrelevant on the market.
We don’t say you have to follow every single trend. After all, it requires many human resources, ideas, and costs. However, implementing an innovative solution that works well with your project would be a significant investment into the future.
Here are the main trends of 2020-2021 that are influencing the world of technology now:
Migration to the cloud
Cloud migration is a process of moving your product data, tools, and development systems from on-the-premise databases into the cloud infrastructure. Although this step requires a lot of beforehand planning, it is a considerable investment into the future. Yes, companies still use on-the-premise databases. However, they are gradually becoming legacy infrastructures. It means that they won’t handle the complex capabilities and growing needs of modern software products and processes. Even now, on-the-premise data centers do not offer as many benefits to their clients as cloud solutions do.
Advantages of using the cloud:
- Scalability. The cloud allows you to grow your product rapidly because it can handle heavy workloads easily. There is no need to purchase additional physical servers, like with on-the-premise infrastructures.
- Cost-efficiency. Cloud services vendors provide their clients with maintenance. They continually upgrade the system and give instant access to the newest version of it. So, you save money on these processes and always enjoy up-to-date tools, services, and features.
- Flexibility. You and your team can access the cloud from everywhere that helps to be more mobile and efficient.
- Performance. The applications hosted on the cloud are faster because the data does not depend on a single physical database center. Cloud sources are everywhere. Data travels at higher speeds and from different places, which can replace one another in case of an issue.
- Security. Cloud is homogenous. Meanwhile, on-the-premise database centers consist of many technologies: some new, some old, some don’t go together. Such collision of various methods makes them a target for cyberattacks. Additional cloud providers invest a significant budget into ensuring security.
PHP enables quickly developing and deploying the projects into the cloud, especially when using frameworks (which we do). Many cloud providers create special libraries with ready-made solutions to ease up the migration. All top cloud services support PHP, which is no wonder as almost 75% of all websites use this programming language one way or another.
Customer-focus is a crucial business value. Brands usually create separate departments with customer support specialists who communicate via messengers, phone calls, and emails. However, often it turns out to be costly, even more, if we talk about a large customer base. That’s why companies implement smart chatbots into their customer services.
The chatbot is a computer program that simulates human behavior and conducts real-time conversations with real people. This application can answer questions, provide customers with instructions and solve their problems with the product or service. For that, the developer writes highly-detailed instructions. For example, if the client wrote “How can I get to your store?”, answer “We are on the 99 Ourstore street” etc. The more detailed the instructions are, the more clients’ questions the chatbot will know how to answer. Some smart chatbots even detect hate speech and serve as a tool for detecting suspicious accounts.
Using PHP for chatbots creation helps to accelerate the development, reduce costs and ease up the maintenance. Various libraries, like BotMan, improve chatbots development with PHP.
This technology provides developers with tools that help to create a secure and well-structured application with improved time efficiency. The problem with traditional methods is that teams write code in computing environments, like Linux, Windows, macOS, etc. When the coders transfer the code from one environment to another (to create a multi-platform app), there may be bugs and errors due to different methods and tools. It is the issue containerization solves.
Containers are single software packages that serve as an isolated working environment. During development, every team member works with the same container. It means they use similar configuration files, libraries, and dependencies. Hence, they produce similarly structured code that will have fewer issues when transferred to any other computing environment during deployment.
Containerization is a must for PHP developers due to the variety of versions PHP developers use. When using containerization, this is no longer an issue. The result will still apply to all platforms, regardless of the PHP version.
VR and AR featured websites
Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that visually simulates either a real-world or fictional environment. The main component of it is a head-mounted display. Nowadays, this technology mostly occurs in VR games. However, in time it has the potential to enter other industries. For example, using VR-powered features may result in a native brick-and-mortar shop experience. It will combine the convenience of online stores and the efficiency of offline ones. You still don’t have to leave home to go shopping, but also you can view the product with an almost real-life similarity from different angles.
Augmented reality (AR) is similar to VR, only the experience is not so real, and there is no need for a head-mounted display. AR technology is mostly powered by smartphone cameras, as it adds additional fictional objects to the picture in the camera. It often can help customers see if the furniture fits the room. Games often recreate their characters and attract people with AR-powered marketing strategies. They create QR codes that trigger AR technology as the customers scan them. The best example of this technology is the game PokemonGo. VR and AR-powered features usually drive user engagement and increase the popularity of brands. It is all due to the convenience and novelty they provide, to say nothing of the amusement people get from the enticing experience.
It is possible to use PHP to create AR and VR-powered websites. However, only when combining other programming languages.
As the Internet reality gains more influence over people, cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent. According to Statista, from 2014 to 2020, the share of global organizations that have experienced cyber-attacks has grown by 5% (from 22% to 27%). There was a peak of 33 % in 2018. This way, strengthening security is the main target of modern software development companies.
There are different forms of cybersecurity:
- Cloud security. It involves the protection of the application’s data and infrastructure stored on the cloud. Both provider and the client are responsible for some aspect of it. Cloud vendors must ensure the overall infrastructure security, including the access to it and configuration of the net of computers that create the cloud. Clients must monitor their clients and what access they have to the system. To ensure cloud security, developers often use firewalls, tokenization, and penetration testing.
- Network security aims to ensure the integrity of an app’s data. It includes all aspects of hardware and software, exposed to the multiple layers of protection with complex rules and policies.
- Information security. It depends on the people who control the structure of an app and manage access to it. The main task is to prevent unauthorized modification of data, third-party inspection, and destruction of information.
- End-user behavior. The security of your application of a website may be strong, and the structure may be reliable. However, it is often not enough. Brands often need to inform their clients about necessary security measures, like using two-factor authentication, create complex passwords and not reveal verification code from SMS
As PHP evolves, it also targets security more and more. Every described method and tool is possible to implement using this programming language.
Voice-search and navigation
“Hello, Siri” and “Ok, Google” showed users how convenient it is to look for the information, open apps, and make calls, using just a voice. Although top companies implemented voice search a long time ago, this technology is only starting to adopt it.
Voice search gives your business a competitive advantage as you 1) save users time, 2) make their navigation more convenient and 3) show that you target advanced and innovative technologies. This way, more and more people use it for their needs. If your website is built in PHP, you can adopt this technology, too. There are libraries and tools made specifically for the implementation of voice search.
DevOps methodology is what helps web dev companies to structure their work and accelerate processes. For instance, let’s take a random task our team had a month ago. We had 20 production servers with a similar set-up that required changes. Developers could perform it manually – one by one altering each server, wasting 20 minutes for each. Overall we would have to spend approximately 7 hours if it wasn’t for our DevOps specialist. He knows methods that accelerate many processes during deployment. Using them, he spent several minutes making changes in all 20 production servers.
Does it make any difference to your business? Absolutely.
1) You save precious time for your team. Hence, you don’t pay for extra hours.
2) As DevOps optimizes updates or deployment of new features, your app keeps running. Your users can still use it. That is called zero-downtime.
3) Your processes will be optimized which means there will be fewer errors.
We at SapientPro use this methodology as it goes well with any technology stack.
What are PHPs trends in web development?
That’s why we don’t talk about PHPs trends. This programming language is a tool that helps to include such technologies as voice search, IoT, VR, and AI. PHP implements APIs and third-party tools or combines with other programming languages.
There are the main aspects that the PHP community, including SapientPro, targets. These are security, scalability, speed, and reliability.