Software Development Trends: What’s Hot In 2019
The evolution of software never stops. As a result, it can be challenging to stay on top of every trend in the industry. Unfortunately, ignorance isn’t an option either. In software development, if a critical update passes you, you could not only lose your product but may also have to watch as your skills go stale. With that in mind, we thought it would be nice to bring you up to date with the latest trends in software development. This isn’t a complete list, but it should give you an idea of where the industry is headed.
Let’s begin with a not-so-new technology – blockchain. You’ve likely heard of the term blockchain and even used blockchain digital currencies such as Bitcoin. What you may not be aware of, however, is just how entrenched blockchain is and the role it could play in software development going forward.
Lauded for its privacy, transparency, and security, Bitcoin is just an example of the high potential in blockchain development. When combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain allows developers to create decentralized applications (DaAps) and data that are intelligent, secure, and far more accurate than what’s available today. Indeed, several financial and legal developers are already tapping into the two technologies to create robust FinTech solutions and next-generation smart contracts.
One of the key benefits of employing technology in software development is the fact that ledgers and records of any kind can be generated and traced indefinitely. The data cannot be changed. This makes every piece of data on the blockchain more secure and accurate than the money you can touch with your fingers. For this reason, we could see more and more developers consider technology when developing applications for clients in different industries. From healthcare to finance and the legal industry, it’s the technology that could finally streamline transactions.
Many experts see Artificial Intelligence as the next big thing, perhaps even bigger than the invention of the internet. Machine learning, for example, is already making entry into our lives, with facial recognition and handwriting recognition software being notable use cases. In fact, Deloitte says that at least 65% of mobile phone owners have used an app featuring AI, sometimes without realizing it.
We expect even more development in this area. Already, Google is building its own AI chips to make on-device AI processing faster and more secure. Then, we also have Microsoft working on innovative AI toolkits to enable developers to incorporate AI into their apps more easily. One of Microsoft’s AI toolkits, known as Cognitive, makes it possible for developers to incorporate AI into their designs with just a few lines of code. The primary motivation for this toolkit is to make AI a vital part of the software development process and not an afterthought.
Some of AI’s most notable contributions so far include chatbots, predictive text, route suggestions, voice assistants, translation apps, voice-to-text converters, and voice searches. In software development, the technology is currently used to automatically debug code, automatically generate code, and in automated testing.
One of the most significant innovations in software development, virtualization has been a godsend, enabling developers to run operating systems, software, servers, and storage in virtual environments. Unfortunately, virtualization also consumes vast amounts of resources. To run a virtual software or hardware, you need tremendous amounts of processing power, RAM, and hard disk space, not to mention that the best virtualization software only runs on high-end machines. Containerization could be the solution to this problem.
Instead of requiring an entire virtual machine to run your application on a virtual environment, containerization involves encapsulating an application in a container with its own operating environment. This provides most of the benefits of loading an application into a virtual machine since the application can be run without any worries about dependencies. The result is an app that’s portable across multiple platforms, developed using far fewer resources.
Containerization has gained significant prominence recently with the launch of Docker, an open-source platform that builds packaged software tools for Windows and Linux. Docker containers are designed to run on everything, from physical computers to bare metal servers, virtual machines, public instances, OpenStack cloud clusters, and more. The containers are popular among organizations seeking to scale up at a reduced cost.
More third-party APIs
Finally, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are another creation we’ve seen before. Salesforce and eBay, for example, allowed access to their APIs close to 20 years ago, and many organizations were tinkering with the idea of making their endpoints accessible to third-party clients way before then.
Another good example is social media APIs. YouTube APIs, for instance, allows developers to incorporate YouTube functionality into websites and applications with minimal effort. The same applies to the Twitter API. Developers can make use of the Twitter REST API to access core Twitter data and the Search API to create applications that interact with Twitter search and trends data.
This capability saves developers valuable time and resources and promises a future where developers will only need to build new solutions from the ground up when it’s absolutely necessary.
The above trends; blockchain development, AI-driven development, containerization, and sustained growth in the API sector will be the critical drivers in software development for the next few years. We also expect to see progressive web applications that are entirely different from traditional mobile apps. However, it could be a few years before that technology becomes mainstream. Other trends to look out for include deep learning, neural networks, and mixed reality.