Technology Roundup 2015

Jul 22, 2015 by Matt Dixon

technology-change

With 2015 over half way through, I thought it would be good to take a look back at what technologies we have been using for our projects.

Most of the work we have been doing lately has been web applications build with a mobile-first mindset.

Mobile is King

A client of ours had a web application developed a few years ago. It was designed assuming users would be using a computer, not a tablet, or phone. Once we deployed the application, people were using it in ways we never expected. Over 60% of traffic was from mobile devices. We made adjustments and improved the mobile experience in the areas of greatest usage. There is still much work to be done, but had we known then what we know now, we could have helped our client make a different decision.

Responsive Design is a Must

We recommend using Bootstrap or another responsive design framework. All these tools let designers develop for any screen resolution. We can adjust the layout of any object in the various screen size points. It’s like black magic compared to what we used 15 years ago.

Use the Right Tool for the Job

When all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail
Abraham Kaplan

We have all heard that quote before, but don’t always avoid the practice. Square peg? Check. Round hole? Check. I believe introductions are in order.

Another client had a series of files they would be manipulating on their workstations. Once they were done, they needed a tool to upload the files without any user interaction. For this task we wrote a small WPF application that ran at Windows startup. It had a system tray icon for user interaction in case we ran into an issue. From there it uploaded the files to a Web API service. It works like a champ.

Technologies

AngularJS

Definitely a good technology for web applications. It provides two way binding, simplifies calls to external services, and lets us write good, clean code.

Bootstrap

No-brainer. Some people complain about the weight, but with it minimized most browsers, mobile included, process it very quickly. It will help you have one web site for multiple target devices.

Web API

Long gone are the days of WCF or SOAP Web Services. Web API provides a much needed overhaul to the service technology layer. Web API can be called by any client; AJAX, AngularJS, JQuery, .Net, PHP, Java, or pretty much anything else.

WPF – or XAML Based Applications

Yes, these still have their place. There are times when we need to provide tools that run on the client computer. Obviously, these applications are not available for mobile devices, so we see the need for these types of applications slowing down greatly. Having said that, it’s still good to know how to develop with this technology and how to interact with Web API.

Summary

We’ve definitely seen a shift to web based applications over the last year; even more than previous years. One thing to remember as a technologist, no matter your role, it’s important to stay current, stay curious, and keep learning.

It will be interesting to see what’s next.