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Ingo Steinke, web developer
Ingo Steinke, web developer

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Nothing New in 2022?

What will web development be like in 2022?
What do I wish webdev to be for me?
What are my personal plans as a web developer?

2022 Web Development Trends 🔮❓

I started to write this article to remind myself to keep my eyes open for emerging trends and possibilities in web development and keep learning new technology in 2022.

In autumn 2021 🍃🍂🌿🍁 I visited inspiring conferences (beyond tellerrand and Never Code Alone), meeting inspiring people and getting a lot of useful tips and inspiration. I updated this post in 2022, so maybe I could rebrand it as "2023 Web Trends" now. 😆

Design Trends

Apart from technological innovations for programmers, I also wanted to keep an eye on design trends, like featured colors, palettes, typography, as well as fresh and useful UX and UI ideas. Which made me change the article's title to "nothing new in 22?"

Nothing New in Twenty-Two?

A purplish "color of the year" and green-with-purple-palettes featured by Pantone sure look nice, but where's the news? The same color combination had already been a new trend at the end of 2020.

Unlock the Fonts, Unlock the Fun 🖍️🖍🎨🎉

At beyond tellerrand Conference in November 2021, Ulrike Rausch and Bianca Berning showed how variable fonts, color fonts, handwritten fonts (using ligatures and other open type features to avoid repetitious glyphs), and even variable color fonts could be the next big trend in web design.

Accessibility 👓🧐🧏

At the same conference, Molly Watt and Karl Groves showed benefits and failed attempts at accessibility and proved the point, that most people make use of assistive technology at least once in their life.

I am wearing glasses, I have a slight hearing deficiency, but I think I should make an effort to look beyond my otherwise abled and privileged existence to understand other people's challenges as users of websites and web apps.

My own Plans for the Future

Stop complaining about bullshit tech and just get things done instead. Or at least, complain a little less and make some important decisions in the upcoming months. A little rant about bullshit tech fads can be found at the end of this article.

It seems that most of the money is paid in projects for industrial companies, marketing, and useless products. So I ended up doing some work for impact projects and ecological startups, taking time to learn new technology, and otherwise doing a lot of the usual work that I won't even mention here, but looking back on the past months I am still super happy about my decision to be a self-employed freelance web developer!

Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goal 9: industry innovation, and infrastructure

I don't plan to follow tech trends, but I will not ignore them either. I value stable and long-lasting software, especially in the open source, which is why I plan to focus even more on classic front-end technologies like HTML and CSS, as well as on Symfony-based software like Shopware 6 (still have to finish my course to become a certified Shopware 6 developer in 2022).

Apart from that, I want to contribute even more to open source software (at least by providing feedback, bug reports, and sponsorship) and support developersforfuture, and other charitable non-profit organizations and "green" (eco-friendly) startups.

At least I have never stopped learning, so I was happy to discover how my CSS, my favorite programming language, keeps evolving.

I will dedicate a small DEV blog series to CSS features that are either actually new in 2021 / 2022 or new to me, underrated, never used before, or even overlooked and not recognized until lately.

Features Missing from CSS

Parent selectors and proper container queries will land in browsers soon. Both features have been voted the most requested missing features of CSS in the 2021 state of CSS survey

missing from css: container queries, parent selector, browser support, nesting. Screenshot from the 2021 state of CSS survey

Parent-and-Child Selectors 👪

When working on front-end web projects, I often have to resort to solutions that would have been easier and more clear to code if CSS had parent selectors. After first support in Safari at the end of 2021, Chromium will probably be next in 2022.

Sustainability over Syntactic Sugar 🍂🍯

But what we need most of all, in my opinion, is more sustainability and accessibility. To me, this is far more important than another feature or framework that offers some new "syntactic sugar" or slightly more elegant coding style. No matter if you like optional chaining and arrow functions, coding in JavaScript seems to become more graphical and more compact as the language keeps evolving. That being said, the latest innovations in CSS are anything but "syntactic sugar". Take :has() pseudo classes (parent selectors) or container queries for example.

CSS :has(.parent-selectors)

You can't polyfill parent selectors and container queries with existing language features. That's like chasing a holy Albatross as Heydon Pickering has been demonstrating over many years when container queries did not even have a proper requirement specification yet.

A Wishlist as a Developer 🤓🎨

As I said, there are some upcoming features that I hope to use in 2022, especially in CSS. Apart from container queries and parent selectors, there are more new CSS features like content-visibility that I did not use in production yet.

I also wish to continue my exploration of a light-weight full-stack set-up using TypeScript and Tailwind CSS that I started as a side project in 2021, thanks to my old friend and fellow developer Andy Weisner.

Evolving Elephants of the World-Wide Web 🐘

Before I conclude my rant in the last paragraphs, some more words about PHP and the PHP community. Unlike JavaScript, which is still missing important core language features and handy DOM events (what about a native debounce function or onResizeEnd and onScrollEnd?) and still has a long way to go until its frameworks communities could agree on de-facto standards and best practices (probably never, and probably people would not even want them to converge like Laravel, Cake and Symfony did), PHP has long become a mature and stable language.

Don't move fast, don't break Things

Ironically, PHP seems to have lost its popularity before the first PSR and is still being despised for all the wrong reasons. Anyway, after all the performance improvements and feature updates of PHP 7 and 8, the next major step to consider might be the announced deprecations in PHP 8.2, so we probably will rely on using stable PHP 7.4 for a long time to make sure our customers can continue to use their WordPress blogs and plugins in the future.

WordPress Twenty Twenty-Two and Full-Page Editing

WordPress will of course release another annual default theme, Twenty Twenty-Two, in 2022, and continue on its roadmap enabling users to do full-page editing with the Gutenberg block editor without resorting to WordPress page builders like Elementor, Divi, or Semplice. WordPress 5.9 will also improve PHP 8 compatibility and intrinsic web design.

As this useful development, at least useful for non-technical low-code end-users, is still part of the first two phases of WordPress’s Gutenberg editor roadmap (easier editing and customization), we will probably not see native multi-language support in WordPress at least not in 2022 yet.

Open Source and Sustainability 🌎🐬♻️

I hope that diagnostic tools for Web Vitals and sustainable web development will offer more details and transparency than WebsiteCarbon currently does. Still it might be a good idea to integrate WebSiteCarbon into Lighthouse, like Robin Osborne suggested on perfPlanet. But I still have mixed feelings about Robin's suggestion as it makes Amazon Web Services look nicely greenwashed despite Amazon being one of the evil companies that we should not support when we have a choice. See this article by Pauli Poisuo about Amazon's founder Bezos for more background on that problem.

I also oppose Chrome's domination of the browser ecosystem. While I mainly use Vivaldi, which is based on Chromium, I keep using alternative user agents like Firefox and Edge (which is also based on Chromium). At least the alternative Chromium-based projects refuse to blindly follow every bad idea that comes from Google, like FLOC or the forceful deprecation of alert() which had already shipped to Chrome releases in 2021.

But just when you start considering using Firefox more often again, Mozilla ends 2021 with a shitstorm about its Bitcoin/Ethereum announcement on Twitter!

Last and Least: the Web3 Fad 🤮💵💸

Here we are! After struggling to make people understand and embrace the decentralized, accessible, and non-commercial potential that has been an essential feature of the internet from the very beginning, after trying to make sense of "Web 2.0" (was it AJAX, "social media", rounded corners, or just another marketing fad), enter "Web3" with a ton of bullshit claims about the history of the web mostly issued by young fanboys trying to make money while actually being pawns in a game played the the real villains like Mark Suckerburg.

Apart from some potentially interesting innovations and actual use cases for augmented reality in medical technology and smart contracts for digitizing public administration, most of those "new trends" seem to move in the wrong direction.

Crypto, NFT, metaverse and other useless capital bullshit threaten to create a digital dystopia, wasting energy and sucking people into an imaginary cyberspace, instead of rebuilding actual communities, saving our planet and rediscovering humanism!

The web doesn't have version numbers and it had been all about decentralized networking from the very beginning. Doesn't anyone remember Usenet? I enjoyed newsgroups more than web 2.0 forums, slack and discord these days!

About time to sign the web0 manifesto!


I wanted to write an article with "2022" in its title before the new year begins, in a naive attempt of some additional low-effort search-engine optimization, just to see that nobody seemed to care anyway, and in the end I am very happy about it (about the fact nobody seemed to care).

Software development and digital innovation does not follow annual cycles, even less in times of continuous development.

Just do your thing, follow relevant news channels, and connect with fellow developers.

Top comments (5)

ingosteinke profile image
Ingo Steinke, web developer • Edited

A "2023 Web Development Trends" post would be the exact same article, except that I might add some talks from late summer's conferences and meetups, although I sadly missed beyond Tellerrand Berlin due to covid, and I did not get tickets for Smashing Conf, Fronteers Conference, and CSS Day either. I could also add some color names, as Pantone decided to follow up 2022's "Very Peri" with another purplish tone called "Digital Lavender" as color of the year 2023.

I noticed that some bloggers literally do nothing but update the year in their blog posts titles about upcoming "web trends of the year" while the URL or some paragraphs below still show that their "2023" article has originally been written years ago, so no need to wonder about the chatbot fad still mentioned as a would-be trend, together with "the metaverse" and subtle Neumorphism 3D button effects vs. colorful maximalism vintage retro style typograhpy.

ingosteinke profile image
Ingo Steinke, web developer • Edited

Added more links and fixed some spelling errors in January 2022, and added some more recent web3 rant / discussion aspects like Mozilla's twitter shitstorm, Hidde's "The web doesn’t have version numbers", and a link to the web0 manifesto.

ingosteinke profile image
Ingo Steinke, web developer

As a first update to my plans and predictions for web development, I added some inspiration that I got at beyond tellerrand conference 2021 earlier this week.

Not all of it is new, but some of it has been underrated or not been supported or popular enough until now, like using Open-Type font features for more realistic handwritten effects or color font animations, as well as trying to combine variable fonts and color fonts.

Also added CSS parent selectors and container queries even before the official outcome of state of CSS 2021 and official browser feature roadmaps.

I will keep updating this post until the end of the year, and probably add some review on my early predictions once 2022 has begun.

grahamthedev profile image

So sad I missed this article when it came out, the rant on Web3 was perfection! ❤

ingosteinke profile image
Ingo Steinke, web developer

I will have to adhere to your magic release timeline in the future!