Software development along with web and mobile development is one of the industries that fuels its own progress. The ever-improving technologies, new frameworks, more advanced hardware, and all sorts of acceleration tools lead to better products which ultimately lead to better production.
Constant self-improvement, optimization, immense creative talent pool, and the passion side the tech industry, make an enormous tidal wave that you can’t afford to pass on, but need to ride in order to stay relevant. Some trends emerge and become a staple. Some are just fun for a while but disappear unnoted. And some you just can’t believe noone has figured out yet.
Software Development Trends of Early 2017
Even though the year has just started, in this article we’ll uncover what we believe will drive the industry of development for the upcoming months.
Open Source Development
Once introduced to the public, the open source technology became an integral part of every developer’s toolkit. The strong network of knowledge builds a powerful community that collectively benefits from the strengths of its individuals.
Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.
― Bill Nye
The idea of a beneficial open source collaboration led to more and more companies and solutions providing their APIs to empower developers and startups to integrate the solutions and discover the hidden potential. Open source communities operate by their own laws and knowing what exactly is going on might give you an edge on competition and bring your integration to another level.
Trends to keep an eye on:
- Application Delivery Controller (ADC). An ADC employs algorithms and policies to determine how inbound application traffic is distributed and actively monitors to ensure requests are sent to available servers.
- Security. All the major social, retail, and tech giants suffered security breaches last year. Obviously, a lot of money will be spent on security enhancements this year, so keeping an eye on what comes up in an open source community is definitely worth it, considering the fact that sources like Linux improves its specialized security distributions for better protection.
- Headless content management systems. These are gaining popularity due to their architecture that allows both – merging the website experience with an interactive web application flow and multi-channel delivery which is a prevalent method of publishing in our age of device versatility. There will be a significant increase of headless usage in creatively diverse open source communities.
Cloud Computing Factor
Scaling resources to gain efficiency has led to the first wave of cloud service boom with original Amazon’s Web Services. Now many believe we are entering something like a second wave and as business software and web is moving towards big data management, the more diverse and cloud data centers come into play.
Cloud represents the maturation of the IT industry.
― Mark V. Hurd
Trends to keep an eye on:
- Smaller and regional providers. As reported by the Forrester analyst Dave Bartoletti, with market giants like Amazon.com, Microsoft, Google and IBM, which have established themselves as “mega-cloud providers”, in 2017 you can expect more new data centers and concessions, such as Microsoft’s agreement to have T-Systems manage its cloud in Germany to meet data localization requirements. “But the big players won’t be able to service every unique request, which means smaller regional players will see an uptick in adoption in 2017. Bartoletti recommends: “Keep your options open and don’t be afraid to use multiple providers,” Bartoletti says.
- On-premise solutions. It’s all about cost and resource optimization. Reducing load of complex cloud services on weekends, holidays, and other days off when there is no need in them, can cut costs significantly and leverage resources for other priorities. As an example Amazon OpsWorks is an integrated management experience for the entire application lifecycle including resource provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, monitoring, and access control.
- Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). Dealing with third-party cloud vendors and entrusting business information to them requires solid security, virtualization, standardization, automation, self-service access, and resource monitoring. These are hard to put together is a conventional system, so HCI was developed to aid that. HCI solutions offer preintegrated transaction and storage resources that help organizations get their cloud implementations running faster. As put by Clint Boulton of CIO, “enterprises should consider HCI solutions as the foundation for their private cloud development, particularly for new workloads that demand rapid, automated scale-out.”
- Cloud containers. 2016 was a year of infrastructure as a service. 2017 is expected to become the year of “platform as a service” and that’s where cloud container services can shine. Container technologies, made popular by Docker, allow companies shift to a multi- or hybridcloud model and provide software with smooth transitions across platforms. Innovative things in the world of containers are predicted to be done by Google in particular.
Artificial Intelligence Expansion
The shift towards AI expectations in future projections happened quite some time ago, but as of now, it seems that AI is finally getting there. Anticipatory design, chatbots, and immersive UX rise that we witnessed last year have all the chances to take it further this year.
By 2029, computers will have emotional intelligence and be convincing as people.
― Ray Kurzweil
AI is widely used in search engines, IPAs, chatbots, apps and information services operating with big data, like Wikipedia that uses AI to debug articles. Most AIs at this point use experience integration algorithms to anticipate user behavior and analyze possible outcomes. AI begins to apply to all spheres of daily life, even as perceptual and creatively personal as music, for example, Mubert is online music composer that uses maths algorithms and music rules to generate a constant flow of unique and non-repetitive audio sequences, technically music.
Trends to keep an eye on:
- Reinforcement learning. A historic example of AI’s learning curve is AlphaGo’s victory over Lee Sedol in the game of Go. It took decades to teach a computer animal-inspired skill of learning that certain behaviors result in certain outcome. A machine reinforces trial and error approach in deciphering the best way to solve a problem without using instructions or examples. One thing where AI beats humans is definitely the relentlessness in iterations and experiments it can run. This approach allows developers to initiate an exponential process of computer acquiring knowledge and by combining methods and techniques, basically, teach itself further. Self-driving cars, industrial robotics, and data management are the primary source of experimentation material for reinforcement approach in AI development.
- AI data synthesis. The AI’s ability to generate data relies on its Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN). GANs consist of two systems: one deploys training mechanisms to learn the principles of data creation, and the other validates the generated data, thus synthesising a very realistic set of data for specific needs, like 3d graphics, designs, data restoration, etc. A significant idea behind GAN is the fact that once a computer gains momentum in learning unlabeled and unprogrammed data, it can develop an unprecedented intelligence level without a programmed core value system.
- Skynet? Terminator has put a staple for every AI doom scenario. James Cameron’s vision feels strikingly realistic as we approach the human-machine symbiosis plot outside sci-fi world. If computers do obtain the ability to learn something we don’t teach them, and then teach themselves, is it possible that the 1984 iconic movie scenario has truth to it in 2017? Fabio Cardenas the CEO of Sundown AI, believes it is. As we keep on delegating more and more complex operations to the machines, once the AI takes control of the financial transactions, supply chain, human resource management, etc., it will become a matter of time that the entire globe becomes connected throughout different industries via neuro-like connections made and run by a non-human intelligence. Of course, we are far from the AI beating humans in conventional wisdom, but the power of AI’s self-improvement can be used by hackers and other villains.
As Roman Yampolski of Cybersecurity Lab at the University of Louisville puts it: “The most interesting and important trend to watch in AI, and the one I am now closely tracking, is: AI failures will grow in frequency and severity proportionate to AI’s capability.”
Mobile Platform Evolution
For the past decade, the world has been increasingly dominated by mobile devices, and we have submerged ourselves with the functionality and convenience brought by the app-based experience, that our desire for similar fluent experience translates to browser expectations as well.
Your mobile device has quickly become the easiest portal into your digital self.
― Phil Nickinson
Trends to keep an eye on:
- Companion Apps. Every major brand’s M.O. includes a great deal of content generation. The main purpose is this content reaching its target audience, that’s why you need an effective delivery medium. The common practice has been building an app that either replicates a website, or represents the basic functionality and the essence of your business. Depending on the business complexity, apps tend to get cluttered with stuff, compromising usability and appeal. Companion app concept is there to help. In late 2016 there has been a noticeable increase in companion apps development, bringing enterprises a focused and distinct approach to content distribution. A good companion app is functional, fast, visual, and fresh.
- Bring-Your-Own-Devices (BYOD). Blending the app fluidity and corporate duties is the idea behind the BYOD culture. A lot of enterprises come up with mobile apps that engage their employees with the hybrid experience. If you can maintain privacy, flexibility while utilizing the full potential of a mobile platform to the benefit of your business, the BYOD culture is a promising asset to look at.
- Customer Experience. Building customer experience is transmitting products you produce into services, “bringing their true nature to light faster with lesser emphasis on deliverables and greater focus on a shared understanding of the actual experience being designed,” says Jeff Gothelf. This means movement towards human-centric design and mobile UX with customer journey being mapped out across the channels.
- Wearables. Not only smart watches and fitness trackers. Snapchat has dropped their spectacles and 2017 is the year we’ll evaluate the success of this startup. The so-called “Invisibles”, the hybrids of technology and pocket dump stuff are expected to make a splash. And, of course, tech giants like Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi will most likely contribute to the market.
Mobile development trends are on the crossroads of technology, imagination, business vision, and fashion. Either of these segments might hog the blanket to themselves and define the general mobility trend for the coming months.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Considering the rise of customer satisfaction and customer experience (CX) trends, it makes total sense that companies will be looking for new ways to improve their business opportunities, boost sales, increase loyalty, and reliability of their products and services. There is no better way to do it rather than implement internet technology to where there was none at all.
Internet of Things is a movement towards connecting things to the internet that normally would not be present online. Things like your fridge or a toaster, a car engine, or even parts of your house can send and receive data.
If you think that the internet has changed your life, think again. The IoT is about to change it all over again!
— Brendan O’Brien
With the innovation opportunities that IoT brings, there are fair concerns about security and privacy issues. Along with the growth of this movement, developers will have to make significant changes in the way we perceive data protection online.
Trends to keep an eye on:
- Blockchain. The Blockchain technology is seen by mane as a means to solve scalability and security problems of device interconnection. Blockchain is already capable of running billions of connected devices at a lower cost, in a controlled environment with solid security and efficiency. More potency is expected from Blockchain once it merges with IoT principles to the benefit of both.
- Connectivity. IoT is impossible without the next-gen connectivity options available anywhere anytime. Along with the familiar connection technologies like Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, 4G LTE, Bluetooth, and Ethernet, new promising technologies like Li-Fi, emerge laying the groundwork for IoT availability to come.
- Watson API Explorer. IoT needs acknowledgment. Watson APIs bring IoT closer to reality with the potency of development opportunities they provide. Watson API families include the following: Natural Language Processing (NLP) API Family enables solutions to understand natural human language. Machine Learning Watson API Family utilizes new data processing through user input and result, analyzes correlations to use in future. Video, Image, and Text Analytics API Family identify abstract visual and textual data, understand, and decipher content behind them.
- Platforms. IoT platforms have some distinctive features mostly in their ability to scale horizontally, handle data, and provide smooth transactions. The “IoT Software Platforms, Q4 2016” report published by The Forrester Wave™demonstrates the basics of every major IoT platform, how they match against each other, and what their market perspectives are.
Web Development Predictions
With all major businesses, service providers, and influencers having strong online presence, it becomes the matter of perception of their presence and the quality of content they generate. The web development and design talent demand is high like never before and with the growth of technologies, we can expect the bar raised in 2016 to be taken higher this year.
Before software can be reusable it first has to be usable.
– Ralph Johnson
Trends to keep an eye on:
- Angular 2. Angular is a JS front-end application framework, powered by Google that is currently present in its second version. In 2017 Angular is expected to leverage ECMAScript 6 features and utilize a component-driven architecture. More updates are expected every 6 months with Angular’s new release plan, which sets the tone for upcoming new features introduction.
- Rails 5. The latest Ruby on Rails framework version as released in 2016 and is expected to gain momentum this year as it matures and makes its way to the big stage. The 5th version of Rails is improved in terms of single-page web application development, new ways to use websockets for realtime apps, and API-only application development by means of Rails API Gem.
- ECMAScript 2017. The newest version of the ES standard is scheduled for mid-2017 and expects to introduce a set of new features that will solve a lot of problems.
Technologies evolve and change the game at a rapid pace and while there is no way you can ignore the trends of the industry, gambling on some of the ideas is a risky road at times. Analyzing the market and keeping your hand on the pulse of innovation, along with experience can give you an edge on competition and wisdom in the decisions you make.