9 Years of Technological Transformation at Swipe iX: A Journey Through Time

March 31, 2023

9 Years of Technological Transformation at Swipe iX: A Journey Through Time

On 1 April, we celebrated Swipe iX’s ninth birthday! It’s incredible how quickly time moves, especially in the world of technology. That pace reminds me of Moore’s Law, the insight made by the late Intel co-founder Gordon Moore. In 1965, he observed that the speed and power of our computers would double every two years while becoming cheaper.

Sadly, Moore passed away late in March. But his prediction was very prophetic, and it’s become a shorthand for different types of technological progress. If I just look at the past nine years since Leo Redelinghuys and I left our cosy corporate jobs to start our own business, I'm amazed at how things have evolved.

Even in our specific industry, focused on digital design and development, the years since 2014 have introduced a legion of new and maturing technologies that continue to shape our world. Whenever I think of these advances, I think of Moore’s Law.

So, to celebrate Swipe iX’s ninth birthday and in honour of Gordon Moore, I wanted to revisit those years and see just which technologies made their presence felt at Swipe iX and with our customers. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore the leading technologies, programming languages, and UX/UI frameworks that have shaped our industry and work over the past nine years.

2014: Containerisation and Cloud Beginnings

As Leo and I started Swipe iX, Docker democratised containers through open source, sparking a big uptake in cloud systems. Node.js, launched a few years prior, continued growing server-side Javascript adoption while AngularJS made it much simpler to build single-page applications and highly interactive interfaces. Bootstrap, the open-source framework from Twitter, did the same for UI/UX development.

2015: Microservices and Mobile Growth

Swipe iX developed and sold WeChat Builder, a WeChat official accounts manager, to Multichoice, and signed up our first international client, Discovery Channel. Facebook released the first React library, hugely improving user interface design. Express.js became a popular way to use Node.js for web application development, and microservices architecture started coming into its own as part of modular, agile development.

2016: Serverless Computing Emerges

A big year for UI! Vue.js launched at the end of 2015 which brought a lot of excitement to the start of 2016, adding a formidable framework for building user interfaces and single-page applications. Semantic UI, another prominent UI framework, also gained ample support. AWS Lambda, which emerged in 2014, picked up in adoption. This effectively marked the start of mainstream serverless computing and less frustration for development teams. At Swipe iX, we embraced these capabilities as we moved office, grew our team and signed on several more enterprise clients.

2017: GraphQL and Progressive Web Apps

The cloud/web app/agile era went into full swing. Django, the Python web framework first released in 2007, became very popular, as did GraphQL, an alternative to REST APIs launched in 2016. Those technologies helped progressive web apps (PWAs) become the norm, supported by new visual modular web design frameworks such as Bulma. More enterprises embraced these advances, and several joined Swipe iX’s growing client list.

2018: Kubernetes and AI Integration

Four years after the launch of Docker, containers have gone mainstream, with the Google/Linux-backed Kubernetes leading the pack. Serverless architectures expanded to include Azure Functions and Google Cloud Functions; at Swipe iX, we embarked on a cloud technology upskill programme and launched our Cloud Innovation Unit. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence came to web applications with the arrival of TensorFlow.js.

2019: Serverless Expansion and AI-Powered Experiences

As Swipe iX expanded its operations into Europe and North America, including a growing slate of multinational customers, the larger hyperscalers’ serverless computing boosted the delivery of scalable applications. Nest.js, a server-side application development framework launched two years prior, gained wide support. So did Flutter, Google’s UI toolkit launched in December 2018, and the development prototype tool Framer X.

2020: Edge Computing and No-Code Solutions

As the pandemic pushed companies to change how they work, Swipe iX evolved into a fully remote-office employer. The cloud also started embracing remote corners as edge computing took off, processing data and functions closer to where needed. Adobe launched its vector-based XD collaborative mobile design tool, while frameworks Fastify accelerated API development and Next.js added server-side rendering to React-based web applications. Swipe iX joined the News24 family through an acquisition by New Media.

2021: The Rise of Jamstack and WebAssembly

The web application world reached a new era of maturity and efficiency, reflected by the universal appreciation for cloud-based development platforms such as Vercel and Netlify. Svelte's Javascript performance framework went mainstream, and a new React library called Chakra UI enhanced the building of web applications. Our developers and designers adapted to these advantages while Swipe iX expanded and completed our merger with New Media.

2022: AI and ML Advancements Meet the Metaverse

The virtual Metaverse entered public discussions, driven through new intelligent and data-driven tools like PyTorch. Swipe iX cemented our focus on progress as we launched the Swipe Innovation Unit. Web application development continued to grow with the broader use of Flutter. Flutter is Google's portable UI toolkit for crafting beautiful, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. For the first time, we finally have a mature technology that can publish to iOS, Android and the Web from a single codebase.

2023: Expanding AI Capabilities and Web3 Integration

Technology started talking back as the GPT AIs opened a new branch between humans and artificial intelligence. Swipe iX expanded even more with new hires and clients, with one eye on the emerging possibilities of AI – embracing new productivity tools such as GitHub Copilot X and exploring other ways to unlock greater insights, increase productivity, and build better systems through new next-gen technologies.

Gordon Moore’s prediction still holds today. It’s incredible to think that containers had just started to come into their own less than a decade ago. Since then, the cloud has become ubiquitous, applications and the web are inseparable, and we see the start of the Web3 and blockchain languages – all powered by a constant stream of open-source tools, frameworks and libraries.

The years since 2014 have been some of the most exciting and fast-moving in the history of digital technology. Swipe iX keeps adapting to these changes, incorporating the latest innovations that make sense to our customers. As we mark our ninth anniversary, we look forward to continuing our journey of growth and innovation, always striving to deliver the best possible solutions for our clients.

Here’s to the next nine years and beyond!

Jacques Fourie

Deon Heunis

Co-founder and CTO

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