Where The Net Is Going

The internet has changed so much in such a short period of time, it started to take off in the early 90s with the basic static sites loving the use of frames split up the page, it was awful and created some hideous messes. We have came a long way since then, and we are long past the point of just thinking of websites as sites or pages in a book, these sites are now fully functional applications and the internet landscape continues to change. We are currently moving more and more processes and work to the client side from the server, this makes a lot of sense in this day and age with fast technology there is no need to rely so heavily on servers. This allows the work to be distributed more and also removes a lot of the slower server calls, overall this makes sites feel more like applications and much more responsive and better for users. Along with this shift we see Google pushing progressive web apps (PWAs), transforming sites into apps and shifting the focus away from downloading apps in places like the app store on mobile and instead allowing sites to download content directly instead. This is a big step and one I think is required as we are long past the mobile hype phase now and more into just using it as regular technology and as a result people are really not installing many apps on their devices anymore outside of a few social media and messaging platforms, and the obvious games this doesn't really happen. It is only logical then that sites transition into bearing the brunt of this change and PWAs help facilitate that. With this idea in mind we see more movement by web technology companies with Mozilla actually making big waves introducing WebAssembly a new way to compile code that is traditionally built using a server language such as C, C++ and use that code within JavaScript, it is pretty interesting. One of the big misconceptions it seems with WebAssembly is how people think it will eat away at JavaScript, it doesn't really directly impact JavaScript negatively as the code is compiled down to be read in JavaScript so it essentially adds more power into JavaScript via other languages. It also has the potential to really shake things up in browsers as the low level languages that it uses are much quicker and can perform operations better generally than just base JavaScript, as a result I expect some JavaScript frameworks will be written and compiled down using WebAssembly to give sizeable gains. One of the big things WebAssembly allows for is much more full applications built for the web as it facilities a very advanced new ecosystem that can be used to build out much more complex programs in browsers which is pretty interesting. Mozilla have also put together their own low level functional language Rust which can be used with WebAssembly as well and provides in many ways a modern low level language to work with that has a lot of interesting features and modern design ideas missing from the like of C and C++. The web continues to change at a rapid rate, we are starting to get close to full applications in the browser with bigger frameworks and better machines and browsers. WebAssembly and PWAs will only push this even more and we will no doubt start to see more complex 3D rendered games in browsers using WebAssembly as their base really changing the way we view browsers.

Last edited: Sept. 14, 2018, 2:03 a.m.