JSConf 2017 - Spotted JavaScript trends to look out for

What’s happening in the world of JavaScript?

Recently, one of our Pointers attended JSConf where multiple experts in the field took the stage and presented the most recent technologies. It was an exciting day filled with overwhelming discoveries and interesting workshops.

Here’s our Pointer’s report on the newest developments on the front.

Angular 4 & Ionic

Ionic is a mobile framework that allows extremely fast development of cross-platform applications for both Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
The app runs in your browser as a Progressive Web App and on mobile it uses the native UI guidelines and standards. Built on top of Angular 4 and Apache Cordova, it provides plenty of features to make a sophisticated app that runs on multiple operating systems.
Because of its mobile native functionalities, available in Angular, you can easily use mobile-only options.

Web-Based Mobile Apps: over and out

No longer are web-based mobile apps king of the web; Only apps like Google Docs are still equally competitive to their native counterparts.

We all tried to surpass the success of web native apps but because of too many frameworks and plugins built into them, older smartphones aren’t able to run them anymore.
This leads us to the following statement: browsers and frameworks have too many features nowadays. BUT: all features have their use and are indispensable so we shouldn’t stop using them.

What we should do, is using existing features more selectively, optimize them and use them more efficiently.

The Era of Module Bundlers

Until now, client-side JavaScript libraries had to be imported through a link with CDNJS where a file of the library was hosted. This was necessary, because modern browsers aren’t compatible with NodeJS’ require("module").

These link-based imports are being replaced by Module Bundlers. This makes it possible for the developer to keep working with native NodeJS functionalities like require. The Module Bundler then processes those modules to a file that is compatible with browsers. The biggest advantage lies with the full NPM ecosystem that becomes available within client-side applications.

Examples of module bundlers:

  • Browersify
    • Multiple plugins for optimization of JavaScript and CSS code
    • Supports Babel (through the Babelify plugin) to transpile ES6 to ES5
  • WebPack
    • Probably the most popular Module Bundler at the moment
    • Supports a wide variety of plugins
      • JavaScript and CSS optimalization
      • Transpile ES6 to ES5
      • Tree Shaking (dead code elimination within NPM modules and own code)

From Documents to Dialogue

Messaging applications are gaining ground, and apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are used more frequently than before. Mostly because people have given up on papers and forms. Users prefer to talk to a salesman (chatbots in this case) than to fill in a questionnaire.

The market on Deep Learning and Machine Learning API’s continues to increase with tools like Microsoft LUIS, api.ai, wit.ai and many more.

Even more popular are websites that use chat applications to answer and help their customers automatically.
A good example of this is SnapSale. When a user posts a picture of an item they’d like to sell in the messaging application, the following happens:

  • Chatbot asks what the user wants to do with it (price estimate, put up the article for sale, …)
  • Chatbot uses Deep Learning API’s to recognize what’s on the picture and gets to work
  • It goes through the whole process (confirmations, further information about the product) by having a conversation with the user
  • All conversations happen in Natural Language and the bot responds like an actual human being.

Final Thoughts

Which trend are you looking forward to the most?
At ToThePoint we’re all about machine learning and we can’t wait to see the newest developments unfold.
We’ll keep you posted!

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Yolanda Van Mechelen

Evolutionary Community Manager


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