Website Development: Ten Years Ago vs. Today

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If you’re closely involved with web development, you know that your website stack (the software the makes up your web development workflow) has evolved and changed since you first started. Over the years there has been a fundamental shift in the way web development has been carried out across technology stacks, frameworks, and programming languages.

These changes are often ushered in by minor advances in small sections of the development cycle, like version control, or dependency management, but with these small changes come big variations in the way that developers do their day to day work. It’s worth looking into then what has changed over the past 10 years, and what might now be a normal part of the everyday workflow for a web developer that was once brand new and cutting edge technology.

By looking at what changes over the years you might be able to see some technology that you need to take a second look at as it matures, and you might also be able to learn from the mistake of waiting too long to jump in on a new advancement. In this article we’ll show you what a stack 10 years ago looked like, and we’ll show you what one looks like today.

 

Web Development Stacks from 10 years ago

Website Development: Ten Years Ago vs. Today - Code Editors

Ten years ago web development was a different place. Node JS had not yet erupted onto the scene (being written in 2009), and most development was being done in languages like Python and PHP. We’ve compiled a (by no means exhaustive) list of technologies you might have been using ten years ago (some of which are still in use today), compared with what is popular now.

Text Editors

Text editors make up a large part of a developers workflow, and ten years ago you might have seen more use of IDE’s for website development as well. We wanted to show you just text editors because that is what is primarily used today.

  • Sublime Text
  • Notepad++

Database

The database that you use is closely tied to the expectations of your application and needs. Ten years ago the requirements were a bit more straightforward and there weren’t as many alternatives to the obvious choices like MySQL.

  • MySQL
  • Oracle
  • PostgreSQL

Backend

The backend language of your app controls the logic and important pieces that allow a user to interact with your website in meaningful ways, like creating an account.

  • PHP
  • Python
  • Ruby

Frontend

The frontend language governs the UX and look and feel of your site. Although ten years ago much of the technology was the same, the methodologies that were applied were very different.

  • HTML/CSS
  • Javascript (JQuery)

Deployment/Hosting tools

Deployment, or how you put your website online looked very different from how it does today.

  • FTP (Cyberduck)
  • Shared Hosting
  • VPS

 

Web Development Stacks Today

Website stacks today have evolved (despite using the same technology) by adopting small improvements that result in big time and performance savings. For example, JavaScript has exploded onto the web development scene, expanding much further into the backend of the stack and exploding with extra frameworks and new methods for development on the frontend.

Text Editors

The text editors used today are much more versatile, and have the ability to be extended with plugins. Most, seemingly inspired by Sublime Text, are also very pleasing to the eye. And Brackets is even available fully in a web browser.

  • Visual Studio Code
  • Atom
  • Brackets
  • Sublime Text

Database

Website Development: Ten Years Ago vs. Today - Database

Databases have largely remained the same, with the addition of the NoSQL database that stores data differently than a relational database. These databases are diminishing in popularity for traditional apps, but still remain popular for unstructured data.

  • MySQL
  • MongoDB
  • Redis

Backend

The backend environment has been completely upended by JavaScript, with NodeJS. Node has found its way into many different stacks, and with frameworks like React, even large companies (like Walmart, Amazon, Google, etc.) are now doing major backend development in Javascript.

  • Javascript
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • PHP

Frontend

The front end has remained the same in tech, but has seen an explosion of JavaScript frameworks that make it easy to couple the visual parts of your website with the backend.

  • HTML/CSS
  • Javascript (React, Vue, Angular, JQuery)

Deployment/Hosting Tools

Deployment and hosting tools have become more powerful and more complex in just ten years. And there are so many tools to choose from.

  • Grunt/Gulp
  • Webpack
  • CI/CD
  • Git (Github)
  • Static Hosting (AWS, Netlify)
  • Uptime Monitoring (Uptime Robot)

 

Conclusion

By looking at what changes over we can see some technology that you need to take a second look at as it matures, and you might also be able to learn from the mistake of waiting too long to jump in on a new advancement. In this article we’ve gone over what a stack looked like 10 years ago, and we’ve shown you what they look like today.

If you’re closely involved with web development, you know that your website stack has evolved and changed since you first started. Over the years there has been a fundamental shift in the way web development has been carried out across technology stacks, frameworks, and programming languages.

By taking a look at how this has evolved you can start to appreciate all of the smaller tools that have become an integral part of your workflow.

 

About the author

Matt Naus

I have been building web applications and other digital products for more then a decade. Currently on an exciting journey discovering the ins and outs of content marketing while growing my newest business. Dedicated to helping digital agencies and entrepreneurs around the world succeed!

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