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Q&A with Chris Klug: Web Development in 2018

Expert Web developer Chris Klug helps makes sense of today's complicated Web dev ecosystem and the tools and technologies that are emerging at a dizzying pace.

Being a Web developer is challenging. The Web dev world changes at a pace that would make most people dizzy. And if you are working in the Microsoft space and using Visual Studio, for example, the release cadence of the IDE is way too slow to keep up. You have to go outside your comfort zone and locate other tools that can help you -- tools that will do what you want, but will still work with your existing tools.

At the upcoming Visual Studio Live! conference at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash., Aug. 13-17, expert Web developer Chris Klug will present a full-day workshop to help attendees deal with that and many other issues. Specifically, Klug will detail:

  • How Web development has changed a lot in the last few years.
  • The available tools that can make life a lot easier.
  • Different technologies available to Web developers.

We caught up with Chris recently to get his thoughts on the most significant technology change in the past few years, his favorite Web dev tech, the importance of being polyglot and more.

Of course, a lot has changed in Web development over the past few years, but what do you think has been the most significant technology change or release that has affected developers, either back-end or front-end (or both)?
I think the biggest change has been the introduction of Node and npm. It opened up a whole world of things that we could do. Whether you are building full end-to-end application in JavaScript, or just running Webpack or Gulp for your builds, Node is the reason it can be done. Not to mention that we finally found a common place to store all of our client-side resources. We don't need to run around to a bunch of different locations and download scripts, or try to hack it in to a package manager like NuGet that wasn't great for that kind of stuff. Having that said, I think on the server side, ASP.NET MVC and Core has made a huge difference. I know it isn't new, but when it came out, it really changed our way of embracing the Web for what it is. Working with it instead of trying to abstract it away.

What have become your favorite Microsoft and non-Microsoft Web technologies for Web development?
That kind of ties in with the previous question. Node, npm and ASP.NET Core are my favorite things to be honest. And Visual Studio Code! It is so nice to get out of the heavy Visual Studio when doing Web. Not that I don't like Visual Studio, it's awesome, but it is getting quite heavy.

Do you develop on a .NET stack, LAMP stack, or both? Do developers need to be cross-platform now?
I'm .NET only to be honest, but being cross-platform has some huge advantages I think.

"The more polyglot you are, the more likely you are to pull in knowledge and influences from different platforms in your project to get the best solution."

Chris Klug, Senior Software Developer, Tretton37

The more polyglot you are, the more likely you are to pull in knowledge and influences from different platforms in your project to get the best solution. Different platforms have a lot of different interesting, and often opinionated ways of doing things, which can be very interesting to look at and pull influences from.

Do you have any favorite secret tools or plugins you can recommend that readers might not know about?
Actually I run my environment very clean. As I do a lot of presenting around the world, I want to have as little magic as possible so it doesn't confuse the attendees, or have them focus on "the wrong thing."

What is the one thing all Web developers should do in 2018?
Challenge themselves to try new things, such as couple of new frameworks and/or a new editor. Trying different things, and seeing other things than what we are used to is a great way to grow.

What is the one thing all Web developers SHOULDN'T do in 2018?
jQuery ... nah, just kidding! Kind of.... But to be honest, the most important thing to not do, is to not stagnate and shy away from new things.

What else do you want to share about changes in Web development ahead of your full-day workshop at Visual Studio Live! Redmond at Microsoft HQ in August?
I just want to say that anyone who is considering to attend the workshop should come well rested and with an open mind, because there will be a lot of stuff to cover in just one day.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital strategy. She also serves as executive editor of the group's media Web sites, and you'll even find her byline on PureAI.com, the group's newest site for enterprise developers working with AI. She recently gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web technology may impact publishers' bottom lines. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.

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