More apps, more data, more devices. What does it mean for app dev?

More threats, More pressure, Move faster….But where's the help? Oh, sure, just put it in the cloud, that will take care of it.

Sound familiar? As developers, we live in a world that is dominated by pace and change. Gone are the days when IT was viewed as a cost center. If you are fortunate (at least I think it's fortunate) to work for an organization that expects the development team to turn technology into a competitive advantage, then you have to deliver fast and deliver continuously.

So now that we have outlined the business trend - using technology to outmaneuver the competition, what is happening on the technology side? Even though I hate to jump on the bandwagon, there is no escaping cloud, mobile devices & big data. But don't worry, this post is not a rehash of those topics, it's just a starting point for consideration when thinking about the new world of application development.

These trends offer new alternatives to bring value but they also raise the expectations for dev:

Trend

Opportunity

Expectation

Cloud

New business models

Fast application delivery with low cost

Mobile

Greater user productivity

Support for BYOD

Big Data

Leverage un-tapped data

Analysis at your fingertips

For developers, regardless of these trends, it's largely about building and delivering applications that provide business value. At the end of the day, it's about cranking the development lifecycle to churn out new applications and to enhance and support existing applications. The good news is there are a number of development approaches that can help us realize these goals: Agile development + DevOps, and Component-based development + Open Source. Let's consider these technologies and how they relate.

Agile Development + DevOps

  • Agile has been around for a while and continues to gain traction.
  • Quick turn development cycles have replaced 12-18 month development releases. 
  • Agile drove the need for DevOps - because if you can't deliver what you build then short cycle development loses its steam.

Component-based Development + Open Source

  •  To meet demands and deliver fast, applications are constructed not built.
  •  Research shows that majority of developers feel their apps are at least 80% components.
  •  8 billion component downloads from the Central Repository in 2012 provides further evidence.
  •  Development & production needs to be managed using a supply chain approach.

This approach to application development can be used to support these dominant technologies trends:

  • Regardless of where an application is deployed (cloud, on-premise, hybrid) - applications have to be built quickly and reliably.
  • Regardless of the consuming device (laptop, phone, tablet, embedded device) - applications have to meet user requirements.
  • Regardless of the data (transactional, analytical, big data) - applications have to ensure data integrity and security.

These are exciting times for development. I'm happy to start this blog series so that we can start a dialog about what is happening in the development world. I'll be addressing aspects that relate to component-based development using artifacts sourced from open source communities, internal development efforts, partners and ISVs. And while the promise of components is significant, I'll also be addressing potential obstacles. Security, IP licensing, software quality issues can sabotage not only your applications, but your entire business. Stay tuned as we address open source usage, DevOps considerations, security & development collaboration.

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