How Software Development has changed in the Past Decade
When we consider the dramatic ways technology has improved over the past decade, our first inclination is to think of hardware or the Internet. However, software development has changed just as dramatically as all other aspects of technology. The fact is that we approach software development much differently than we did a decade ago. That is because the world has dramatically changed since a decade ago.
Software development is a highly complex process and requires a team to build it correctly. A programmer doesn’t just sit down and write code to create an envisioned application. For many years, the creation of a software application was approached, much like the manufacturing of an automobile. The project phases traditionally were planning, design, architecture, development, testing, and release. Once launched, the support and maintenance phases started as application developers then repeated the entire process to create version 2.X and so forth. It was typical for the period between planning and product launch to exceed a year or more. This elongated process is outdated today in a world of digital transformation that demands total agility and responsiveness.
Below we have outlined some of the significant changes witnessed in software development over the past decade. It is essential to realize these changes and understand why the traditional approach to development is no longer applicable today.
Faster Deployments through Virtualization and Containers
It is hard to believe that a decade ago, many organizations still relied on physical servers to host applications. Each physical server hosted a single app. Physical servers proved extremely costly due to inefficient resource utilization. Then to compound the problems of a single point of failure, there were expensive hardware redundancy architecture, time-consuming upgrades. As you can tell, let’s just say it was far from an ideal situation.
Then, came virtualization and the software development world suddenly sped up. A single server can now host a multitude of virtual machines, thus maximizing resource utilization. Virtual machines are then members of large server farms that enforce automated redundancy. Virtualization began reducing server deployment from months to minutes. Reducing the implementation time for application host structure reduces software deployment time as well. This lead to the natural transition to containers and microservices. The introduction of containers further isolated applications from their hosted environments. Each container hosts all of the external dependencies required by its contained application. This dramatically increases flexibility as containers can be migrated amongst different hosting platforms and sites. It also simplifies API development for programmers in a platform-neutral environment.
The Expansion of Audiences and Platforms
Fifteen years go, the majority of applications were business or productivity based. In the past decade, we have witnessed the prominent rise of the consumer app. Follow that by the proliferation of mobile devices that launched an insatiable appetite for these new apps. Applications are not just for desktops anymore, and the client-server application model no longer restricted to only PCs. The app is now the communicative epicenter that companies use to interact with their customers. In order to satisfy this need, applications are now released to accommodate a multitude of computing device platforms.
The Scalability and Flexibility of the Cloud
The demand for browser-based and mobile apps has skyrocketed in the past decade due to the consumerization of IT. This has stimulated expanded distribution channels in which consumers can access app stores to download apps on-demand in real-time. This scope of scalability is only available in the cloud. The cloud certainly was the gamechanger that launched the app revolution. What’s more, containers and virtual machines can be easily migrated to demand between on-premise and cloud environments. The availability of cloud services has completely changed the way that developers provision, build, and deploy applications and the external dependencies they require.
DevOps and Agile Methodology Impact on Software Development
The culmination of the velocity of deployment, the high demand for new apps, and a seemingly limitless audience and distribution network demanded a new approach to software development. Innovation can no longer wait for the traditional waterfall approach to software development in which each subsequent phase of the development process must wait for its predecessor. Instead, a new holistic approach was necessary to encourage communication, collaboration amongst software operators and developers. A new agile development process was adapted greatly accelerated the development pace to accommodate faster releases and improve the quality of code releases. A new DevOps method was incorporated, in which qualitative assurance was incorporated as automated progressions into the entire development process. Thanks to DevOps and Agile management practices, speed and quality are now amalgamated into a single expectation level.
Third-Party Software Developers
In the same way that developers utilize third-party software components to increase the speed and quality of development, companies are turning to third-party development teams for the same reasons. It is challenging to retain the high-level talent required to create multi-platform applications at the velocity required today. Technology drives innovation today. Bringing in third-party developers that have a wide array of technical skills and experience can bring much-needed expertise and innovation. That can not only overcome impending challenges but inject added value as well. Our other recent blog talks about the importance of injecting third-party developers to your team.
Let Xcelacore show you how we continue to assist companies in adapting and excelling to not only the change witnessed over the previous decade but the impending breakthroughs of tomorrow as well.