Just when you think the toolset available to the web developer is going to sttle down for a while, a new technology emerges to create its own revolution. Despite the success of the iPod and the iPhone in radically changing the music and mobile phone sectors, the impact of the iPad was not widely predicted. It appeared to be a solution to nobody's problem and was dismissed by many as just an oversized iPhone.
Yet in just eighteen months, Apple sold 40 million iPads and websites observed a dramatic shift towards mobile devices. Despite the growth of Twitter during 2009, by June 2010 people still spent 50% longer on the web using desktop and laptop computers than on mobile devices but by April 2011 the figures were level. In the whole of 2011, as Apple's rival fought to catch up, smartphones and tablets outsold desktop and notebooks for the first time. So fast has been the change - and so unpredicted by many large technology companies - that there have been unforeseen casualties. Adobe's Flash platform was virtually universal on desktops and laptops so a developer could rely on it being available. But there is no Flash on the iPad and despite a valiant rearguard effort to save their technology, Adobe announced in November 2011 that they had killed mobile Flash. Desktop Flash is virtually dead too - who will use it now they know it won't work on the iPad? The potential survivor from the wreckage will be Flash Builder, if Adobe can plot a course for it.
So what now? At present, the answer is jQuery. For now, it is moving in the same direction as the overall move in technology towards HTML5 and - for now - its success is assured. ABC delivered its first jQuery-based modeller in 2012, specifically targetting the iPad. In 2013, an increasing focus has been responsive design, ensuring that all our websites work as effectively on mobile devices as they do on the desktop.