Web development trends 2024: Embracing AI, composable architecture, and more
4 min read
Last year, I wrote about the trends in web development that we would likely see in 2023. This year we'll see some repeat and likely some inflection points for things that have been bubbling for years.
AI's pivotal role
Generative AI and LLM chatbots certainly rose to prominence last year and I expect that to only cement and grow in 2024. AI has already been a driving force behind technological advancements, but we'll see it increasingly being integrated into various aspects of development, from automating mundane tasks to enhancing decision-making processes.
There will undoubtedly be a degree of push back this year on AI as expectations have been over-hyped, the technology over-invested and more often than not the impact over-promised. That said, the algorithms are becoming more sophisticated, empowering developers to create smarter, more efficient applications.
Tools that automate the build of user interfaces (UIs) can be impressive if you can wrangle that bull, but the use of summarising mass code commits, automating testing processes, and similar feel like the longer-term true benefits to developers.
Composable goes mainstream
Since 2015 and the industry's introduction to Jamstack, we've seen the landscape shift and evolve as the years pass. It was the foundation to unlocking 'headless' and provided a pathway for discovery and understanding for an evolution of the modern web (other pathways are still available).
'Composable' feels like the natural evolution of Jamstack and will be at the forefront of innovation on the web for years to come. By providing developers with the flexibility to create scalable systems by assembling pre-built, interchangeable components, a 'composable' architecture promotes reusability, making it easier to adapt to changing requirements and accelerate development cycles.
As with all technologies, there are always drawbacks and concessions - it's always about the right fit - but 2024 should see 'composable' as a key pillar when discussing the web's architecture.
The expanding universe of front-end complexity
In spite of all of the incredible developments over the past few years to front-end technologies, developing websites is more complicated than ever - due in most part to the "possibilities" these new advancements allow.
This will only continue to increase in 2024 with the uptake of React Server Components (RSC), modern CSS properties such as subgrid and :has, the View Transitions API, and so much more.
RSC in particular will continue to blur the lines between back-end and front-end development even further. The emerging popularity of Backend as a Service (BaaS) options will continue to make it easier for traditionally front-end developers to create full-stack applications with greater ease.
All about you
Whether it's through what we traditionally considered personalisation (e.g. content based on your own personal preferences) or what I suspect may become more common which is session unique content (e.g. a different welcome message each time you visit), we'll start to see a mass increase in 2024.
Primarily driven by AI, users will either see or be given access to vast amounts of "unique" content. We'll see more tools driven solely by AI, where the generation of content can be attained on a previously unachievable scale.
Whether via cybersecurity tools, shifts in deployment practices (e.g. SSG), or even potential AI services, cybersecurity in 2024 will be more crucial than ever. The volume of user data collected continues to skyrocket and safeguarding it is critical.
More regular security audits, data reviews, and hosting security requirements should be the bare minimum moving forwards.
Accessibility and sustainability continue to stay front of mind
Last year we saw the predicted increase in the importance of accessibility - albeit only very slightly. I fully expect to see a continued dedication to improving accessibility on the web.
2023 saw the latest update to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to version 2.2 which adds an additional 9 success criteria since WCAG 2.1. However, with the latest Working Draft of the W3C Accessibility Guidelines Version 3 being published in June 2023, I expect some industry wide movement to begin to review and test the new guidelines - even if the final 'Recommendation Standard' doesn't happen for a few more years.
Similarly, 2024 will continue to see advancements in digital sustainability. Last year we saw the release of the Website Carbon Rating System which was designed to measure and simplify the understanding of the environmental impact of web pages.