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Free Online Design  Tools The lastest trends in photo and Web development are the use of  free online tools for Website development. Because they are online and often designed for mobile use as well, they have seen broad use in both mobile and online circles.
Above are two examples of the best “largely free” [advanced features are charged at varying price points] online photo editors. They run in all of the latest browsers and have mobile versions that work well in the large screen smartphones and most tablets. Their limitations are speed of operations, size of images that can be safely edited, and number of features offered to photo editors. In a similar fashion, free online Web development is appearing as well with such software as Weebly and Webs SiteBuilder. In addition two of the best online Blogger tools, Google Blogger and WordPress.com, have website building tools that support widgets, menus, web pages as well as blog posts - thus, they are now general Web site building tools as well. The screenshot to the left shows the Webs SiteBuilder in action online. As you can see at the bottom of the screenshot, Webs SiteBuilder provides  number of element buttons which allow for fast development using drag and drop creation of Web pages : 1)Image+Text element -a text block allowing image embedding 2)Slideshow - inserts a slideshow allowing multiple images with transitions 3)Video and Audio buttons - for adding video and audio to a Webs page 4)Google Maps - alows adding many styles of maps to a page 5)Forms - adds input forms for user interaction on apges 6)Menu Buttons - allows adding menu buttons to a page Most important most of these same features are available in Weebly, Wordpress, Google Blogger, Wix and many other modern Web Design tools. So more than ever before Website Building has become both low cost and highly effective. Now the task for both developers and users alike is to choose among some very good tools for Web development. Web Components Web components have been discussed for the past 3 years in various W3C working groups. But what is happening now is such Web Components as Templates, Shadow DOM, and Custom Elements starting to appear in browser apps and implementations  from  Firefox, Google  and Opera. This more rapid development is spurred in part from JavaScript libraries like jQuery, mootols, Angular, and others delivering similar capabilities to what Web Components offer. There are security and reliability considerations that favor Web Components but the JavaScript libraries have the distinct advantage of being Open Source and delivering features and functionality now. But software vendors see the advantage of being first with Smarty-like templates for HTML5 or where a <tree> or <grid> tag, defined as a Custom Element brings scripted and extendible behaviours  and styling to the design of a website. And with Google and Mozilla racing to provide Java Script libraries  which make Web Components available on all the popular browsers,  Web Components appear to be on leading edge of major HTML and Web Development breakthrough. SaaS-Software as a Service  and Cloud Services In contrast, to Web Components, SaaS and Cloud Services are the current perpetual rookies much like SOAP and WSDL were through the late 1990’s and 2000’s in IT development.  Both SaaS and Cloud Services have been declared as the next Big Thing in IT and Web development for  the past 4-5 years. But just as SOAP and WSDL faltered on complex, top-down models [see the chart at left],  SaaS with Cloud services could likewise stumble on the complexity of its models. Key SaaS systems suffer from a top down approach which works against current Web demands for Agile development cycles  But also considerable vendor fragmentation and proprietary methods did in SOAP and WSDL and the same is happening in key Cloud Services. For example,  proprietary technology impacts major SaaS offerings from  vendors such as Adobe, Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft  Oracle, SaleForce and SAP among dozens of vendors. The problem is not with interfacing to the SaaS and Cloud Services where standard RESTful  systems using well understood HTTP, JSON, and XML APIs are available from most vendors. The problem is in very different methods for configuring, operating and controlling each vendors SaaS apps where proprietary prevails.  But SaaS continues to prosper despite its proprietary problems because  with plunging prices of hardware and hard disk space SaaS vendors are able to offer Cloud Services at a yearly starting cost that is less than a well equipped desktop PC from 4 years ago. Also, through the magic of virtual systems, Cloud Services are able to accommodate sudden surges  and later drops in demand in demand better and more cost effectively than the customer could do in their own in-house computing facilities. As well Cloud  Services offer users real back-up, storage, and Internet bandwidth that also can be more expensive in self- provision. So already Web tools are geared towards interfacing tightly with a number of Social media systems with proprietary APIs to Adobe Cloud, Google Apps and Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter among others. Expect Web Tools to start to interface in a similar tight fashion to SaaS vendors as well for  a wide array of database and large scale business applications.  Summary The trend in Web Development is the continuing prevalence of proprietary. To this day, Microsoft maintains an IE browser that has its own proprietary extensions and which again, is well behind the other major browsers in implementing HTML5 standards. But Microsoft is not alone, key HTML5 standards for Web database, offline operations, CSS3 syntax and operations, plus Web Microdata and Application Services have widely diverging implementations among the major browser vendors. This proprietary streak is reflected  in SaaS and Cloud services where even the RESTful interfaces have variations among the vendors which become much more pronounced when doing vendor specific configuration, coding and customizations of apps on the Cloud services.. This proprietary streak has implications for promising Web Components. Right now JavaScript routines from Google and Mozilla FireFox make Web Components applicable cross browsers. This is sort of like what jQuery did for versions of IE, it brought CSS, DOM and JavaScript capabilities not available in the native Microsoft versions. So watch development of Web Components carefully as a)the standards emrge and b)how closely the major vendors adhere to those standards. Finally there is good news concerning basic web site development. There are many tools that make designing and building a website much easier to do and at low if not no cost other than time to the website owner. Xara Website Designer is exactly one of those tools - so see the review to see how well it delivers on the promise of website development for everyone.
Web trends affecting Xara Web Designer Webs Sitebuilder design tool developing a web page for
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Web Development Trends