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The next big trends



Mobile apps, touch-screen interfaces, gesture controls and platform interoperability are a few of the areas that software developers need to be aware of when designing solutions. MALCOLM RABSON of Dariel Solutions takes a closer look at some of the trends to watch out for.

In the 90s, the rapid rise of the internet led to a renaissance in software development with many aspiring programmers looking at ways to harness the power of browsers, come up with interesting Web page designs (remember Geocities, frames, and animated gifs?), and leverage the functionality of bulletin boards that evolved quickly into significant community forums.

However, things rapidly changed after the dot com crash in the early 2000s. Many would argue that it forced companies to take an honest look at technology and how they were implementing it to drive business strategy. This more realistic approach saw a shift in how software development was approached,‚” say Rabson. ‚”Suddenly, companies of all sizes were demanding software that was inexpensive and faster to deploy than the more cumbersome ‚’traditional’ solutions. Programming methodologies needed to be simplified to provide an alternative to the ones that had significant legacy baggage. Also, this period saw the concept of consumerisation of technology coming to the fore.

To the uninitiated, this refers to the shift that has happened with technology being first adopted by consumers before migrating to companies. Previously, companies would first use technology before it filtered down to consumers. Think of things such as instant messaging, cloud-based email systems, and social networking. All these and more have infiltrated corporations. Today, business value is derived from how best these consumer-focused solutions are integrated into business strategy.

Part of this, has become the growing importance of mobile solutions. Even in South Africa, people are becoming used to being connected 24×7. We use smartphones, tablets, WhatsApp and other solutions to not only interact with one another but to stay abreast of the latest news, views, and trends globally,‚” adds Rabson. ‚”HTML 5 is gaining momentum but it will be interesting to see how the battle for Web standards and platform interoperability develop in the coming months. Android, iOS, and Windows Phone are creating significant shifts in the market with businesses watching developments closely before looking at how best to align themselves to a specific platform.

Big Data is another bit of industry jargon that is steadily gaining in prominence. It deals with data sets that are so large that it cannot be processed using traditional database management tools. Going forward, developers would need to find ways to harness this data and extract intelligence for companies and clients. This needs to be integrated into current systems in real-time for Big Data to really be as effective as possible.

With the rise of mobile apps and social networking, companies are also backed into an ever-tightening corner when it comes to protection of information and management of privacy. Granted, many consider privacy to be a thing of the past, but organisations need to meet regulatory compliance to ensure that company (and client) data stay protected.

Irrespective of what side of the software development fence you are on, there are exciting times ahead. Technology has moved past the tipping point and has permeated every facet of our lives. It is up to the software developers to make this an interesting journey.