We asked web builders that we admire the same question: What is one thing you learned about building websites this year? Here's what they told us.

We would like to thank our ❥ sponsor Automattic for making this site possible. They make many great software products that we use, like Jetpack, WooCommerce, and WordPress.com.

What’s Old is New

This year, I learned a lot about how “old” tricks can solve a lot of modern problems if you use the right tools. Following the growth of Jamstack-style development has been both a learning experience, while also a nostalgic one. It’s been amazing to see how you can power plain ol’ HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with the rise of headless CMSes, API-driven databases, e-commerce services, and modern frameworks.

I feel like the biggest hurdle that all of the different framework developers and hosting providers are trying to overcome is the fine art of caching. There are so many different approaches to how to serve the most performant, accessible, user-friendly, fast websites.

I love seeing the “hot takes” on this because some of them are old, some are new, and some are combining the old and the new into really interesting ideas.

Conversations around “stale-while-revalidate” and incremental static regeneration and hybrid applications are fascinating to me, and they’re all the right answer and the wrong answer depending on the project.

I’m very optimistic about the future of web development right now. There are a lot of smart brains experimenting with these technologies, and there’s a lot of education happening in the space right now. It reminds me of the phrase, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” We’re all trying to build the best websites we can right now, and though it might seem like it’s competitive, I’m very hopeful about how much we can be “lifted” together by collective learning.