As 2012 drew to a close, it left a lot of exciting developments in digital technology in its wake. With the dawn of 2013 slowly rising, the mere thought of adapting our development practices to stay ahead of the curve is a very exciting prospect indeed.

In this article, we will discuss but a mere fraction of the emerging digital technologies prevalent in the digital landscape today.

Zend Framework 2
http://framework.zend.com/

Released in September 2012, Zend Framework 2 is the much anticipated evolution of the original Zend Framework, a successful PHP framework with over 15 million downloads originally released in 2007. It provides the tools to lay a solid back-end foundation for web applications and contains dozens of components designed to handle common development tasks in a consistent and logical manner.

Graymatter employs several Zend Framework Certified Engineers, while the tool is not backwards compatible with our existing Zend Framework applications, we look forward to using it to produce web applications and sites for new projects in the future.

Composer
http://getcomposer.org/

Composer is a package manager for PHP libraries. When developing custom web applications, we regularly make use of third party modules and libraries, but the process of keeping those libraries updated over time can be tricky. Composer addresses this issue by allowing the developer to configure which third party libraries a project will use, and composer will handle the installation and updates for those libraries.

Composer came to light early in 2012, and has quickly been adopted by many large PHP projects, including the Zend Framework. It can be configured to keep your packages up to date with the latest releases and security updates, or to force a specific version for applications that rely on older versions of certain libraries for compatibility reasons.

Angular JS
http://angularjs.org/

Over the past few years, the term ‘Web App’ has sprouted from relative obscurity to become almost a household name. The concept of providing software through the web browser has evolved to the point where products such as Google Drive are providing viable and cost-effective alternatives to expensive industry heavyweights like Microsoft Office.

The development of complex applications within the confines of traditional web frameworks has highlighted many limitations of traditional html, which was originally drafted for declaring only static documents. This is where Angular JS steps in. Developed by Google, its intention is to expand upon traditional html syntax to clearly and semantically define your application components. Using this, combined with strong data dependency injection and 2-way data binding, it will allow complex ‘Web apps’ to be developed quickly and structured easily.

Put simply, Angular JS is set to revolutionise complex front-end web development in 2013, giving developers the tools they need to make some fantastic browser based applications, whilst applying the programming patterns they know and love.

Foundation 3
http://foundation.zurb.com/

The growth of mobile devices and tablets has been phenomenal over the past few years, to the point where mobile internet usage is approaching 50% in the UK (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14731757).

Bearing such statistics in mind, it would be very prudent to ensure that your website can be accessed easily by everyone who needs it, with regard to the device they use to access. It is around this very mantra that the Foundation Front-end frameworks was developed.

By using Foundation 3 as the basis of a site, it allows developers to quickly develop responsive websites that will look great on any device.

It does this by providing a flexible CSS grid system that allows elements on a page to be best positioned to use the available screen real-estate to its full potential. In addition to this, it provides a comprehensive library of add ons, such as icon sets and pre-styled forms, to help embellish the finer details of a site.