The 2012 Web Development Year in Review

Our annual ‘Web Development Year in Review’ returns for a look back at major news events in the Web development industry in 2012.


  1. Microsoft officially kissed goodbye to its much-maligned browser Internet Explorer 6. As of last month, IE 6 was still being used by 6.0% Internet users worldwide and it might take a couple of more years since IE 6.0 is completely eradicated off this planet.
  2. For the first time, the open source web server, Nginx (pronounced “engine-ex”), overtook Microsoft IIS to become to second most used server on the web. Apache still remains the most popular server with over 57% of the market share but Nginx continues to grow steadily.
  3. On January 18th, several web sites including Reddit, Wikipedia and many others blacked out their content in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). For 12 hours, these sites encouraged their users to contact their congressional representatives and urge them to oppose the legislation.


  1. Mozilla released Firefox 10 whereby which its built-in tools for web developers received a handful of improvements and new features. This included a richer DOM inspector and a tool for viewing and modifying CSS properties.
  2. Google released Dartium, a Chromium-based browser that has native support for Dart, the new programming language that the company created. Dartium is meant for developers who want to take advantage of the Dart virtual machine to test their code without having to compile them each time.
  3. The Apache Software Foundation released Apache 2.4, a major upgrade to the popular web server since 2005. This new version brings a lot of performance enhancement as well as the introduction of several new modules.


  1. Adobe released Adobe Shadow (now renamed to Adobe Edge Inspect), a tool that makes mobile testing easier. It works by allowing you to review your mobile design from multiple devices wirelessly right on your desktop and inspect and debug them accordingly.
  2. Mozilla released Firefox version 11 with some additional developer tools, better support for certain standards and the ability to sync add-ons between different devices running Firefox. The 3-D code inspector made its official debut in this version.
  3. Microsoft announced that it is opensourcing ASP.NET MVC 4, ASP.NET Web API, ASP.NET Web Pages v2 (Razor) under the Apache 2.0 license. While the source for ASP.NET MVC was made available since its release, community contributions were never included in releases. Microsoft will now ship community code inside ASP.NET in upcoming versions of Visual Studio.


  1. Jacob Nielsen published his recommendation for building mobile sites based on usability testing done on hundreds of sites. His suggestions sparked a lot of controversies in the web design industry.
  2. GitHub, unveiled Page Generator, a tool that allows developers on GitHub to publish visually enticing project pages. These pages are hosted for free and can be published from the Github site, the GitHub Mac app or from the command line.
  3. Adobe launched Adobe & HTML, a site that showcases information surrounding Abobe’s work with web standards, along with events the company is working on.
  4. Twitter announced on its engineering blog that its work with MySQL will now be available to all under an open source license. This is pretty big since Twitter is basically built on MySQL from the interest graph and timelines to user data and the tweets themselves.


  1. Mozilla released Webmaker, a non-profit initiative that allows users to create an online presence through tools, projects and a global community of creators including developers, educators, filmmakers and journalists.
  2. Mozilla Thimble was launched in May 2012 as a simple tool to help people learn to code for the Web. You can write and edit HTML and CSS right in your browser and preview your changes instantly. Once done, it also gives you the option to host and share your finished pages.


  1. Facebook launched App Center, a place for people to find social apps. The App Center also gives developers an additional way to grow their apps and creates opportunities for more types of apps to be successful.
  2. CSS3 Media Queries became official W3C recommendation. Media queries are at the heart of responsive web design whereby which you can use them to specify different stylesheets to use when the browser’s size reaches a certain width.


  1. Apple released Safari 6, which boasted a number of new and catch-up features, including a unified address bar, visual tabs, iCloud tabs, sharing and an offline reading list.
  2. Opera, in its State of the Mobile Web Report, reported that its mobile browsers Opera Mobile and Opera Mini reached 200 million users. This represented 47% year-on-year combined growth.


  1. Amazon launched Amazon Glacier, a low-cost storage service that provides secure and flexible data archiving and backup. Amazon Glacier is optimized for data that is infrequently accessed and for which retrieval times of several hours are suitable.
  2. Twitter celebrated one year of Bootstrap with an update. Bootstrap is a popular front-end toolkit for rapidly developing web applications. It consists of a collection of CSS and HTML conventions.
  3. Google released PageSpeed, an online service that automatically speed up loading of your web pages. PageSpeed Service fetches content from your servers, rewrites your pages by applying web performance best practices and serves them to end users via Google’s servers across the globe.
  4. W3C, the group that oversees the HTML standard, published the first editor’s draft of the HTML Responsive Images Extension. The proposal is just a draft, but it points to one possible solution for the responsive image conundrum.


  1. Adobe announced Edge Tools and Services which is a suite of design and development products, as well as Typekit and PhoneGap.
  2. Firefox browser turned 10 on September. Mashable has compiled a timeline with fun facts and notable accomplishments.


  1. Microsoft announced TypeScript, a new language for application-scale JavaScript development. TypeScript extends JavaScript syntax, so any existing JavaScript programs work with TypeScript without any changes.
  2. The W3C, the international body that oversees open standards for the Web recently launched a web developer documentation project – ‘Web Platform Docs‘. Currently in an early alpha phase, this new project is presented in the form of a collaborative wiki.


  1. Google announced some updates to Google Cloud SQL, which will enable users to work with bigger and faster MySQL databases. Google has increased the amount of available storage to 100GB, which is ten times more than before.
  2. Mozilla released its new Social API. The API is included in the latest desktop release of Firefox, along with a preview of social integration with Facebook Messenger for Firefox.


  1. Mozilla released the Firefox OS Simulator in preparation to the Firefox OS slated for release early next year. The simulator, available as an add-on, is meant to help developers get acquainted with the HTML5-powered OS and start developing and testing their apps.
  2. The W3C has published the complete definition of the HTML5 specification. HTML5 isn’t an official standard yet, but the move to what the W3C calls “Candidate Recommendation” (CR) status means that the spec is largely stable, features are frozen, and testing can begin.