PJ Bishop, Vice President of Partners, Services for Sage Africa and Middle East, explains six trends that will shape the future of software development.
Software development has experienced multiple changes over the past few years, with a shift towards a cloud-first world, the advent of the mobile internet, the rise of development and operations (DevOps), and a move towards more user-centric development methodologies and practices like design thinking and minimum viable product (MVP).
Now, in the wake of the pandemic, change is accelerating in response to evolving user requirements. Software developers will be challenged to support evolving business needs, such as the pivot to remote work, higher levels of business process automation, and the need for software solutions that are more flexible and agile than ever before.
Here are six trends we can expect to see over the next few years:
1. User experience first
Software-as-a-service companies and internal software development teams are focusing more than ever on the design of customer or user experience. Using techniques such as design thinking and the data they collect about how people use their products, software developers are looking at how they can put the user experience at the heart of their products and services.
2. Rise of progressive web apps
Progressive web apps are expected to become a $10.5 billion market by 2027. They are built using web technologies and can be distributed without involving an app store. They are meant to be easier to build and offer a smoother user experience. They can also send real-time alerts, even when the app is not running, and integrate with other functions on a device such as payment information, an address book, or a camera.
3. Speeding up development with serverless computing
‘Serverless’ is a misnomer – there are servers involved in this mode of cloud computing, but it relieves software developers from the need to manage them. This could help speed up application development and simplify operations for developers. Global Market Insights forecasts that the market for serverless architectures will exceed $30 billion by 2027.
4. AI everywhere
Artificial intelligence (AI) is key to the future of software development, both as an output (a product or feature in a product) and as an assistant to software developers. From computer vision, chatbots, and e-commerce recommendation engines to cybersecurity and accounting products, most software today has some AI and machine learning as part of its core functionality. This will only grow as AI matures.
In addition, AI tools are playing a growing role in helping developers automate testing, debugging, and routine development tasks. There are AI platforms that help coach developers with helpful advice. In time to come, developers may build AI-powered software that can learn and evolve to meet changing end-user requirements.
5. Growth of low code and no code
Low-code and no-code development options are growing in popularity. As the name implies, they reduce or even eliminate the need to write code in the configuration or development of some software features. Some of the tools are meant to help business analysts or users with no coding expertise to manage and deliver software features, taking pressure off the development team. Others help developers deliver applications faster.
6. Continuous integration and delivery
Cloud-based continuous integration and delivery automates the building, testing, and deployment of software into production. The practice creates rapid feedback loops that accelerate the speed of software development while maintaining quality. This helps identify and resolve bugs early and before the use of automated pipelines for technology deployments to continuously deliver value to customers.
Fast-tracking the move to cloud
The one thing that is clear about the future of software development is that it will need to be more customer-centric and agile than ever before. At Sage, we have accelerated software development via Service Fabric, the backbone of Sage Business Cloud. The Service Fabric is a set of capabilities required across multiple Sage products, which enables us to deliver reusable services at speed across our cloud portfolio. Innovations such as this are key to keeping pace with an evolving market.