Archive for January, 2013

2012 Web Development Wrap Up

Posted by Christopher Long

On this, the last day of the year, it’s time to take a second and reflect on a huge year in the Web Development realm.  Phrases like ‘Responsive Design’ and ‘Content Strategy’ entered our vocabulary. Words like ‘Flash’ and ‘Splash Page’ are exiting or, in some circles, are considered cuss words.  Here are my top 10 favorite things that happened in 2012:

1. Responsive Design: Responsive Design is a new paradigm in Web design that, through coding objects to appear at relative distances from other objects, websites are rendered extremely amicable towards the various sizes of smart devices. Responsive web design determines the resolution of the device that’s accessing the site. It is then sizes accordingly to fit the screen. Though it all started late last year, it is rapidly becoming a Web standard…designers out there best pay heed. Bridging the gap between mobile sites, WAPs & corporate websites, businesses can now service all these needs with one malleable core website.  Everyone is talking about Responsive Design, don’t be late to the table – Ethan Marcotte is a damn genius.

2. Grid Systems: A fundamental tool of efficiency, grid systems standardizes the various size metrics that a designer and developer will work within to fabricate a website. It allows flexibility and encourages correlation between web page elements, eases the integration of photos and text, and reduces significant coding errors. Saving time in communication and redesign specs, grid systems are an excellent complement to Responsive Design.  The two I’ve been tinkering with are Twitter Bootstrap coded with Less and Foundation with Sass.  At this moment, I’m leaning more towards Sass.  So would have to pick Foundation.

3. Parallax: Parallax has been used in the video game world for quite some time but is just now spilling over into the Web development world. Think back to the old scrolling Mario games of your ill-spent youth and you’ll have an idea of what Parallax is. Although the Parallax fuse has only recently been lit in the Web dev world, it is spreading like wildfire. By adding a level of perspective and dimension to a website, intriguing effects engage site visitors and encourage them to longer duration stays.   I have a feeling 2013 is going to push the envelope on what a website should look like…we are going to be seeing some sick sites.

4. Real Rockstars: Just like having your favorite bands, we all have our rockstar developers who we love to stalk. Paul Irish and Chris Coyier are my 2 top faves.  You might wanna think about stalking them yourself, but get in line.   With these guys leading with new ideas that push the possibilities and sharing it all with the rest of us…if you think about it, our dev community is pretty phenomenal.  Thanks, guys!

5. GitHub: GitHub is a code sharing and publishing service as well as a social networking site for programmers. It manages and stores revisions of projects.  Version Control never felt so good.

6. Circles in design: Lots of circles going on in Web design these days.  CSS3 makes it easy to trick out a site and make entrancing, eye-catching round frames.  I see a lot of agency sites exploiting this trend.  Even Basecamp is doing the circle dance.

7. Open Sans: A huge chunk of my clients mid-year started using Open Sans.  It’s a Google Webfont and probably one of the more decent ones they are rolling.   Open Sans is a clean and modern sans-serif typeface designed by Steve Matteson and commissioned by Google. It is especially designed for legibility across print, web, and mobile interfaces.  It also comes default in the Foundation WP theme.

8. WordPress 3.5: The WP community is so impressive.  I’ve never seen so much pride taken in a product.  The new 3.5 has a much improved media uploader and the default theme that is responsive.   I need an “I Heart WP” shirt, stat.

9. WP Plugins: Plugins that I can’t live without this year are – ACF, Custom Post Type UI, Gravity Forms, and WC Total Cache.  Did I mention I love WP?

10. Online has been around for a long time now and finally we are starting to see some new players in the online training realm. is my new fave.  You actually get to apply what you learn and take coding challenges. is another good go-to.  Also check out

Lots of killer ideas hit in 2012.  In 2013, I see a lot of refinement on those ideas and the inevitable shift toward a more tailored device driven user experience (my grandma has an iPad for goodness sakes).   In short, 2013 is going to be frickin awesome.

Happy New Year, everyone!