8 Latest Trends in Software Industry
I’d like to start with a short disclaimer. I am not a fortune-teller and I don’t have a crystal ball that shows me which new trends in the software industry will go viral. Nevertheless, as a tech person, I deal with various experts on a daily basis and thus, know when their focus shifts from one area to another. So, I can only make predictions about software development trends that are going to shape the market in the coming years.
The IT industry is a dynamic one. Year by year, we see new tech trends come and go, each promising to bring a paradigm shift. But it rarely happens. As a result, we use all the same approaches with a slight improvement.
Let’s conduct a quick test. Type “trends in software development” in the Google search bar. When you open several articles, you’ll see all too familiar solutions — blockchain, IoT, voice UI, cloud computing, VR & AR. Is this something new? Hardly so. But these solutions are still widely used by developers, which makes them trendy.
Below is the list of areas that I’d recommend focusing on if you are planning to develop a digital product. They include new software architecture trends, trends in application development, and industry-wide innovations.
1. HEADLESS CMS
As you know, digital products consist of frontend and backend. Frontend is something users see and interact with. As such, that’s a design made functional for end-users. And backend dictates how a digital product runs behind the scenes. It is responsible for data storage and management. Separating backend from frontend is one of the latest software development technologies and comes with tangible benefits.
What is headless CMS? Literally, a headless CMS is a content management system that doesn’t have a “head”, i.e. frontend. In other words, it’s a content repository separated from the presentation layer. The purpose of a headless CMS is to store and deliver content, and not provide its visual representation. Why would one use it then?
A headless CMS delivers content directly where you need it by interacting with APIs (learn more about this software industry trend below). It means one content repository can serve multiple channels — mobile apps, websites, etc. This is especially useful in the era of omnichannel experience.
A headless approach allows developers to create the frontend of their choice, using any framework and paying no regard to the backend tech stack.
Some examples of a headless CMS include Strapi, Ghost, Netlify, Directus. They are all open-source headless CMS platforms.
2. SERVERLESS ARCHITECTURE
No digital product can function without a server that executes its code. Traditionally, it was a tech team’s responsibility to manage the underlying server infrastructure, including configuration, storage, patching, load balancing, etc. But you can remove this burden from your in-house developers. And here comes the first software industry trend — i.e. serverless architecture, where the server management function is delegated to a third-party vendor instead. Basically, your primary role is to produce quality code and then, hand it over to the vendor who will make it work.
Although the term ‘serverless’ may sound fresh, it shouldn’t be treated as one of the brand new trends in software architecture. Going serverless means hosting your digital product on the cloud. With it, you are not limited by resources and capacities, so you can run multiple applications at scale. Also, you don’t have to pay for idle time when your application is not running — you pay only for code execution.
There are 2 latest software architecture trends or, I would say, models — Backend as a Service (BaaS) and Function as a Service (FaaS).
- BaaS offers more comprehensive serverless functions as it takes care of the entire backend functionality, i.e. processes that run behind the scenes of your app and are not visible to the user — geolocation, authentication, push notifications, etc. APIs and SDKs serve as a bridge between the frontend and the backend in this case.
- FaaS is based on an event-driven architecture and is good for serverless microservice environments. It runs separate self-contained functions of your application, i.e. bits of code. They are triggered in response to individual user requests or events.
Top trending software platforms of a BaaS type include Google’s Firebase and Microsoft’s Azure. FaaS is provided by AWS Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, Apache OpenWhisk, etc.
3. Low-code/No-code apps
This one is certainly among the breakthrough software development trends of recent years, and for a good reason. The aim of low-code/no-code tools is to remove complexity from the development process and help non-techies create apps on their own. How is this possible?
As the name suggests, low-code and no-code solutions do not require that users have manual coding skills. Such platforms come with integrated development environments that include ready-made functionalities, modules, code templates, interfaces, etc., and as a rule, work on a drag-and-drop basis. It means you can create an app using simple visual construction kits.
Although both low-code and no-code platforms have much in common in terms of their operation models, low-code solutions give more freedom for customization and scalability as they allow for manual code tweaks. Thus, by cooperating with an IT team, you can create complex enterprise apps or integrations fast and at a lower cost.
4. API-FIRST DEVELOPMENT
API is short for an application programming interface. It allows software products or elements to communicate with each other — just like humans communicate using language, emotions, gestures, and so on.
API-first development has gained its spot among software development trends as the industry is transitioning to real-time data processing, continuous delivery, and microservices. APIs are used to integrate more functionality into the application and also help it run on a per-function basis.
Say you operate an online shop. For a customer to be able to pay for goods, your store needs to have payment functionality. If you are looking to add PayPal as a payment option, you need to integrate an API that will serve as a bridge between your store and the PayPal processing system.
The same principle works for a microservices app where the app is basically a set of multiple independent features. In this case, APIs help these features interact with each other.
Commonly, developers start coding the app first and then, upon the app’s implementation, add APIs as a way to extend functionality or enhance automation. But this may result in reworks, fragmented experience, and inconsistencies. These issues have made way for API-first development that sits comfortably alongside other software trends. Within the API-first approach, developers initially create the API that serves as a foundation and then, add functions as independent services. It provides more flexibility, scalability, and control.
5. DevSecOps practices
You may have heard about the DevOps approach to creating products that automates and integrates two domains — development and IT operations. DevSecOps, on the other hand, connects three areas — development, security, and operations respectively. Just like DevOps, the DevSecOps approach is designed to remove the walls between different teams working on the product and shift focus toward a cross-functional development philosophy.
Under the DevSecOps model, all engaged teams work collaboratively or there’s one single team with multidisciplinary skills. The aim here is to automate and integrate processes between teams, as well as add the security aspect to every stage of the software lifecycle from the very outset. This makes security everyone’s responsibility. By performing continuous security checks throughout the development pipeline, you get a product with truly built-in security.
6. MULTI-CLOUD ENVIRONMENT
As you might have guessed already, cloud is the new normal — and the more clouds, the better. This has given rise to multi-cloud computing, another addition to our list of current trends in software development. A multi-cloud environment implies that you have distributed your apps, assets, and software across several cloud providers. And the most obvious reason to do so is to avoid the potential risk of vendor lock-in.
There’s no such thing as perfect. No vendor can be a one-stop-shop for all your business needs. Well, it can be, but up to a certain point — the point when your needs start evolving. So, it’s only natural that different functions require dedicated cloud services. Besides, it is a more secure approach. As the old saying goes, “Never put all eggs in one basket.”
With a multi-cloud environment, however, comes the need for the right approach to multi-cloud architecture and deployment. Basically, there are 2 types of deployment — redundant and distributed.
- Redundant deployment allows for avoiding single points of failure. In simple terms, it means that the same assets are run by several clouds. So, if one cloud provider fails, you won’t experience downtime or data loss. The apps can run simultaneously on all clouds. Or, they can be active on one cloud, while other clouds are in standby mode. The major drawback of redundant deployment is it may be costly.
- With distributed deployment, each part of assets is run by a different cloud. That way, you can allocate the apps according to their type, complexity, or function. For instance, you can separate frontend from backend. There are also public, private, and hybrid multi-cloud approaches. You’d likely want to transfer sensitive data and mission-critical apps to a private cloud, while other apps can be hosted by public clouds.
Although multi-cloud computing is certainly among the hot software trends, moving to such an environment requires much consideration in terms of strategy and planning. Only experts can do this.
7. Metaverse development
The metaverse is a hot trend in the software industry on its own, yet it is somewhat vague for many. Broadly speaking, it is a network of interconnected virtual worlds where users can interact with each other, as well as computer-generated environments in real time in a highly immersive way. The metaverse is still in its infancy, that’s why it requires lots of development efforts to move forward.
To create metaverse solutions, developers largely rely on AR/VR technology, semantic web, and AI. Since the metaverse is a virtual version of the real world, it also has its own economy powered by digital currency and NFTs. So the metaverse developers must be knowledgeable in blockchain technology as well.
Some of the most popular metaverses today are Roblox, where users can already join millions of virtual experiences and even create their own, and Horizon Worlds by Meta, which is a collection of virtual spaces for users to share. Although both examples are of a gaming nature, the metaverse opens up fresh opportunities for e-commerce, advertising, and entertainment.
8. SWITCHING FROM COMPLEX TECHNOLOGY
Software is a complex product at its core. So, making it even more complex through the use of innovative tech is never a good idea. That’s why simplicity should be at the core of any latest technology in software development.
Any software project comes with essential and accidental complexity. Essential complexity is inevitable. This is a set of requirements that the software has to meet in order to solve a key problem. On the other hand, accidental complexity is unintended and should be avoided. It arises when developers try to solve unnecessary problems or use a too complex tool for building a product. This results in more code, ambiguous architecture, and little value to users. And this, in turn, is a reason for missed deadlines, budget overruns, and security flaws.
There’s no need in reinventing the wheel. Keeping things simple is a surefire way to create an effective, smoothly running product.
Good developers are aware of the latest software development trends, but they do not follow them blindly. They know how much complexity is enough for a particular product, and thus, select the appropriate tech stack for building it.
Summing up, here’s my final advice — forget about current trends in software development. Being trendy doesn’t mean being appropriate. You should integrate new tech into your business process for a certain reason. If this tech doesn’t solve any burning issue that your business faces, you just don’t need it.
Audit your business processes, workflows, and team roles. Once you spot critical flaws, try analyzing tech solutions available in the market. And go for the one that fits your needs best. If you are struggling to do that, get a tech-savvy team on board.
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