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3 Web Development Trends to Watch in 2018: Insights from CodeMash

CodeMash 2018

Earlier this year, eight members of our development team traveled to Sandusky, Ohio to attend CodeMash. For those of you who don’t know, CodeMash is an annual conference designed to educate developers on current trends, platforms and languages. In addition to sweeping the competition in team trivia (go CQL!), we spent two days attending workshops and getting up to speed on the latest development trends and tools. ­Read up on our developer insights from CodeMash 2018.

Refactor Don’t Rewrite

Several sessions emphasized the ability to incrementally refactor JavaScript applications using tools like React and Redux. Sometimes developers have a tendency to look at refactoring as an all or nothing approach, when in reality, these tools can be gradually introduced to improve a legacy application. React can be used anywhere without changing an entire application and integrates well with cloud-based services like Salesforce Commerce Cloud. While Redux allows you to write applications that run consistently in different environments, making them easy to test.

At CQL, we are often given code that uses the Document Object Model (DOM) for state management. DOM can be difficult to maintain, particularly for the larger e-commerce sites our clients are using. By leveraging React and Redux to develop new features, the application state can be managed as the source of truth for components of the application. The Redux store will automatically synchronize the state so all data in the application is correctly managed. React and Redux can be self-contained, allowing us to refactor or develop small features without re-developing an entire site all at once. Developing features in this way keeps the code clean and maintainable, making it easy to follow for future development. In addition to implementing these tools for our clients, we recently refactored our own CQL website using React.

Blockchain for Business

Blockchain is currently getting a lot of hype because of its connection to Bitcoin, though the concept of a tamper-proof distributed ledger can be applied beyond currency. We attended a session focused on alternative applications for blockchain technology where the speaker mentioned Dubai’s goal to have all government documentation recorded digitally by 2020 using blockchain techniques. In its current state, blockchain is ideal for legal contracts, medical records, real estate and financial tech because it’s a universal source of truth that can’t be tampered with, making it a viable choice for the Dubai government.

While there are some targeted organizations applying this technology, the speaker concluded their talk by stating that there is not a compelling, ubiquitous business case for blockchain with the exception of currency at this time. The speaker didn’t rule out the possibility of future innovation or derivatives of this technology impacting its widespread adoption – and we couldn’t agree more. At CQL, we’ve been guiding clients through emerging technologies, from infancy to application, for more than 23 years. We will be watching closely to see how blockchain develops over time as new applications are uncovered.

Problem Solving with IoT

The ability to connect devices and exchange data is changing the way we approach problem solving. One of the most important elements in this new approach to problem solving is how humans interact with machines to leverage the improving way machines interact with other machines. In one session, the speaker used a personal example to show how his solution to a real-world problem could be used as a basis for IoT human interactions. He was tasked with taking older videos and adding closed captioning to them. The speaker showed how he used Oracle Web Services (OWS) to easily convert speech-to-text for this task, and also how a combination of speech recognition and natural language understanding could be utilized for easy human interaction with smart home applications.

Another example is our work with Herman Miller in Space Utilization. Working with some of the largest companies in the world, the Herman Miller Performance Environments team tracks data with small, wireless sensors attached to furniture. The sensors transmit data so clients can measure, track, and study space usage. This data is available to Herman Miller’s workplace experts because of the Space Utilization technology we built for them.

CodeMash is always a highly-anticipated event for our developers and we can’t wait to see what next year’s conference has in store.

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