Enterprise web development is a thriving ecosystem which is constantly evolving. Enterprise applications are pieces of software that address the functional needs of a business. With large corporations often being comprised of different departments, each with their own unique organizational requirements for daily operation, businesses need to run many enterprise applications. These applications then need to be able to communicate cohesively to benefit the entire business. Without modern enterprise software to operate on, many businesses would face difficulty finding success in a competitive marketplace.

The ever-changing nature of enterprise web development presents its own challenges for executives, who need to decide based on a fast flow of information which latest trends in web technologies to adopt. In doing so, the risk of making the wrong choice poses a high cost to the business. 

This article will examine some of the current trends and hot topics in enterprise web development, focusing on new innovations that allow web developers to deliver secure, high-performance applications efficiently with a simplified tech stack.

Trend 1. Legacy Apps Modernization

Legacy applications based on technology that is outdated or no longer maintained are in use by many companies. These organizations may not see a reason to update their older systems. Often the reasoning is that the software has been running without any evident failure for years (or even decades) and the costs to update it in time and engineering effort outweigh the benefits of new software. However, legacy software may already be costing companies more than they realize. Running on outdated systems can have drastic real-world outcomes.

Modernizing a legacy web application doesn't need to require entirely rebuilding the product from scratch with a new technology. Legacy Ruby on Rails apps, for example, can in many cases be optimized while working with the existing legacy code.

Single-page applications (SPA) can take the approach of embedding the new SPA code directly into the same HTML document as the old one. Over time, with dedicated effort, the application can iterate and evolve its functionality. In some custom cases, even combinations of different SPA frameworks can be applied, using a micro frontend approach. For example, a new React app can be embedded in a legacy AngularJS one. 

Trend 2. Serverless as a Solution

One of the more recent trends in web development is the emergence of the Jamstack. Jamstack (previously stylized as JAMStack) is comprised of Javascript, APIs, and Markup. Mathias Biilmann, CEO of Netlify, coined this term in 2015 and it has since provided higher security and performance with lower cost to scale and improved experience for developers. This is done by delegating most of the web application logic to reside on the client side, where it is decoupled from backend logic which is deferred to third-party APIs to handle.

In recent years, the corporate adoption of Jamstack increased, to include notable companies like Nike, Mozilla, and Smashing magazine. Going serverless for these companies means allocating as much work as possible to the client side, which in turn reduces latency and server load allowing for better application performance.

A survey conducted in 2020 reported that Jamstack has a proven record of use in enabling high performance applications.

Trend 3. Static Sites Generation 

One trend in web application development that is growing rapidly is the use of Static Site Generators (SSG). While most traditional applications operate by dynamically generating the view for a page as it is requested, static site generators instead precompile a static representation of each page in advance (usually compiled at a regular release interval). This allows for significant performance and security improvements, as the simplified stack necessary to serve these static pages minimizes resource requirements and reduces dynamic code which could be vulnerable to attacks. The page can also be served quicker to the user as it has already been prepared ahead of time.

Some of the most popular SSG frameworks include Next, Nuxt, Gridsome, Eleventy (11ty), and Gatsby. 

Trend 4. Process Optimization for Enterprise Web Development

Frontend web application development faces the challenge of maintaining a consistent style when delivering products that must also promote accessibility and functionality for users. Especially in environments where many teams may be working independently on different products, it is important to establish guidelines for consistency. Companies are then faced with the task of organizing their product teams into uniform design and development approaches.

Design systems aim to address these needs by defining specific sets of design patterns and engineering guidelines (including development frameworks and component libraries) to make sure products are developed with a consistent style. This sort of system is nothing new for businesses, as similar corporate style guides have driven branding and marketing campaigns at organizations for years. As a modern approach, the style guidelines provided by design systems can be maintained with version control technology to provide transparency and eliminate ambiguity that exists with older-style documents.

The rise of cloud services, microservices, (which are systems of numerous small applications working together to compose a larger product) containers, and container orchestration platforms such as Kubernetes,  has further complicated the backend side of enterprise web development. Platform engineering teams have emerged as the standard solution for understanding and maintaining these complex backend requirements. Many organizations have formed their own platform engineering teams and are using them to enable efficient development of performance applications and prevent system intrusion. Having a dedicated team that understands the backend architecture can be crucially beneficial to efficient deployment of enterprise applications.

Trend 5. New Trends to be on the Lookout For

A major development in combining .NET Core and .NET Framework into one platform is the introduction of .NET 5. Companies should begin work now on migrating their application development to .NET 5 (or .NET 6 when that is available).

Combining efforts like this will enable companies to reap the benefits of a single development platform for multiple deployment environments. Windows or Linux, mobile apps that can run on any device (using Xamarin), or web applications that work in any browser (with Blazor). Companies with the engineering and financial resources to support development in several platforms may continue to prefer this approach, but for many others the standardization of a single .NET development platform will significantly increase efficiency.

Google's recent Flutter 2.0 release has been another major innovation for web development. Flutter provides developers with a tool that enables them to easily "create beautiful, fast, and portable apps for any platform." While its main use case is currently mobile app development, Flutter for Web will soon solve the business problems of developing for iOS, Android, and web browsers with the same code.

Trend 6. Enterprise Web Development Going Forward

A report shows that in 2021 around US$ 599 billion is expected to be spent worldwide on enterprise software. This amounts to a 13.2 percent growth from 2020. Along with most of the markets in the IT services industry, enterprise software has recently seen explosive growth. Revenues from the enterprise software market have more than doubled between 2009 and 2019 and, while the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the negative impact on the global economy resulting from it have slowed global spending on IT in 2020, experts anticipate that spending will increase in 2021 in all IT industry sectors.

Businesses that choose to evolve along with the new trends in web application technology, including investing the time and effort necessary to adapt to a market that is constantly changing, will certainly see themselves enjoying benefits not available to their competitors.

Oleksii Tsymbal
Chief Innovation Officer

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6 Enterprise Web Development Trends to Consider for 2022