Evolution of Software Development and the Latest Industry Trends
For the past three decades, technology has advanced at an unprecedented pace. Technological advancements have brought changes to homes, industries, small businesses, and just about anything you can think of. However, people at the receiving end of technology might not be aware of how things have changed on the other side as well. Take the example of software development that has gone through revolutionary changes to become as effective as it is today. Had these changes not occurred, you would be looking at quite a few failed software and applications in your life today.
From Waterfall to Agile
While several small changes have taken place in how software used to be developed in the past, the biggest change has been from the waterfall development method to agile. The two strategies take a completely different approach to developing software and its applications. In the past, it was the waterfall software development method that used to prevail. For that reason, it is also referred to as the traditional method of software development. It worked fine for the way things were more than 20 years ago. However, as technology advanced and the rate of technological advancements increased, it was clear that the waterfall method was not going to work anymore.
In this method, teams would get together to make arrangements for the requirements of developing software. They noted everything down and then proceeded with the development. The development had different sections or development phases. These development phases were separate from each other like the coaches of a freight train. For a new stage to begin in this method, the first stage had to come to an end. After it was certain that the work in the first stage was complete, the development would proceed to the next stage. So, the design team would work on the design first. Once the design was complete, the software moved into coding and unit testing.
The problem with this method was the lack of adaptation. What if there was still a design flaw after the design team completed its task? It would remain in the software and be discovered only by the end-user or in the last testing phase. Finding and fixing the flaw was extremely expensive, laborious, and time-consuming. By the time the final product was delivered to the end users, their requirements had already changed. Agile promoted collaboration among teams at every stage of software development. Testing was a constant part of every phase. Teams work simultaneously on various parts of the project rather than each completing its task first and then forwarding it to the other team.
Waterfall’s biggest downfall is rigidity. Agile’s biggest strength is flexibility. In the world of software development, Agile is the most used method due to its different variations. However, that was just the evolution of how software was developed. Today, software developers face new challenges. Those new challenges have resulted in new trends in the software development industry. Let’s take a look at them.
The Latest Trends in Software Development
Internet of Things
The biggest challenge that software developers face today is the Internet of Things. Shortly written as IoT, the Internet of Things is about devices communicating with other devices without any human involvement. Technology companies want this to happen because they want devices to take better and faster decisions in certain situations. A security system in the house should not be limited to telling humans about some suspicious activity outside the house. In fact, by using clusters of data to identify an activity as suspicious, it should be able to communicate with various sensors in the house and close the doors automatically if they are opened.
A refrigerator should know it is time for the homeowner to get off from work and it should then send the homeowner a list of items that he/she should bring on their way home.
Now, think about all the appliances inside the house communicating with each other and the security issues arising from that. With custom software development, companies are now paying attention to all the new challenges that face the software development industry.
Software developers have to keep the blockchain in mind when they create applications today. The world is becoming more and more aware of this technology and its benefits. Blockchain ensures that no application and its data are stored on one central server. Instead, it takes advantage of users’ computers to store the data. At the moment, it is the financial industry that is seeing a revolution as intermediaries lose their position and users are able to connect with other users directly through blockchain in any part of the world. Financial transactions can now take place without middlemen.
As time passes, more industries will see the benefits of implementing blockchain technology. Software developers have to keep these changes in mind when they develop new applications today.
Artificial intelligence is on the rise. It is now present in places where users would have least expected it. For example, artificial intelligence is playing an important role in how smartphone cameras work today. Companies like Google are at the forefront of this technology and making it viable in the world. You have driverless cars on the road today that learn from their experience on the road.
The more these cars roam about the road, the more the software becomes aware of what decisions to take in what situations. That’s called machine learning i.e. machines learning things on their own and without the involvement of humans.
Progressive Web Applications
Progressive web applications are the new thing and they are definitely gaining momentum at a fast speed. These are applications that find a way between websites and mobile applications. The problem with mobile applications is that they are difficult to develop and maintain. Not to mention, they are purely mobile applications and cannot take advantage of the web. On the other hand, progressive web applications combine the strengths of mobile applications and the web in one place. When users use these applications, they feel like they are using a smartphone application. However, the web is also taking advantage of the web.
You have huge companies like Google that have started to get serious with PWAs. And when large tech companies start following a trend, the smaller ones have to follow suit naturally. The developers have to adjust to these changes as well. They have to understand that their skills are needed to develop PWAs just as much as they are needed for developing a mobile application.
You can see that a lot has changed for software developers in the last three decades. Most developers that belonged to the years before the start of the 21st century are aware of how waterfall software development worked. Many new developers might not even be aware of how it worked as they are more used to terms like Agile and Scrum. Large businesses have to realize the importance of software and software development. They even have to learn the importance of software development and IT outsourcing services that can now take the pain of software development and maintenance away from businesses.