Top application development trends to watch in 2019
Soaring component based customization, practices that improve UX and tools that help modernize the software paradigm to improve development efficiency: these are the highlights of a desk research on key blogs and reports talking about application development trends in 2019.
The need for digital transformation dominates business strategy today. The obvious consequence is a rise in the demand for web applications. The other (trickier) effect is that application development practices must evolve themselves to ensure higher and higher speed, proven agility and better customer experience.
To help you devise and implement the best strategies to edge competition, we’ve performed a research on the the key trends in application development, looking at 20 sources. Below we’re pointing out the most relevant topics.
The rise of AI
While the IoT, mentioned as a hot trend in the 35% of the mapped sources, seems to be getting pushed to the edge and entering the phase of consolidation, the Artificial Intelligence industry continues to witness momentous growth. From chatbots to advanced analytics, from algorithm based automation to content contextual targeting, A.I. has been highlighted as a trend topic in 70% of the articles we mapped.
Blockchain, from hype to prototype?
Blockchain is the second most mentioned trend in application development for 2019: 65% of the articles had at least one paragraph on it. The initial use cases in blockchain were heavily focused within financial services, but it looks like this technology is also gaining traction for other user scenarios such as supply chain, healthcare, government and more. With more companies looking to explore blockchain tech in the coming year, the need for developers in this sector will rise exponentially in 2019.
Cybersecurity to shape the CIO agenda
Cybersecurity is top-of-mind for every enterprise, organization, and government in the world, which means resources that will be flowing to develop new solutions and application development will have to consider security challenges (mention rate in the article’s panel: 40%).
More than three quarters of the other trends fall in either of the following two categories: customer experience and development agility.
Today’s app needs to be customer focused
Customer Experience is a topic that will take different names in 2019. Enriched Design (engaging graphic contents increasingly being used in place of text contents), Single Page Apps (long, scrollable page which provides full information of the respective site to its users without moving towards), Progressive Web Apps (bring together the best of worlds of browsers, websites and mobile applications), sophisticated Motion UI (to add styling and make your site unique among thousands of others), AR/VR/MR (providing practical benefits to businesses and amaze their customers). All these trends have in common one thing, upon which the success of many business applications hinges: delivering a better, effective, distinctive user experience (=brand experiences) to customers.
Development agility is the label that addresses the more operational trending tools and processes bringing more efficiency and speed to the applications’ time-to-production. Component based architectures, Cloud Computing, Containers, Agile, CI/CD, Devops, Low Code, Microservices, Serverless, JAMstack: all of them are modern tools that aim to transform how the world builds software, especially in the direction of accelerating development time and supporting applications’ agility. This quote shows an interesting view, stating that speed itself is not enough, if this is not paired with quality of production code: “In 2019, developers should shrink their code, let computers do the testing, roll out new features to a subset of users, and measure success not in terms of speed but in terms of how smooth a release is.”
In the perspective of rebalancing IT for innovation, between the lines of all the articles read, we then intercepted three further fils rouge.
Succeed with component based customization
When enterprise applications only started becoming common, developing and launching an application was a rather complex and long process for many businesses to consider. Then we saw the rise of frameworks, templates and platforms, whose promise of a less fragmented and wasteful technology ecosystem was irresistible to both digital and technology operations teams. The issue is that platform features are available to all competitors while memorable, distinctive journeys - in terms of look, feel, functionalities - should be catered to individual needs: enterprises’ needs, customers’ needs. The next step of this evolution is custom enterprise apps with pre-made but customizable modules, that ensure the right balance between development efficiency and customer effectiveness.
Relentless demand for modernization
Most App Dev projects are maintenance rather than innovation: 63% according to an extensive field research. This means that mature IT departments typically have to devote a lot of their resources to “keeping the lights on,” and not innovation.
This opens a big challenge on leveraging and modernizing legacy applications; for example, as far as the portal is an old concept…we’re seeing an increasing demand for portal modernization, to make them lighter, easier to maintain and more user friendly.
Fortunately, there are now some solutions able to connect existing applications and offer an easy way to communicate. A response to that need is using new UX/UI layers that can rejuvenate old software or even act as a UX/UI integration layer of old systems into newer applications that pull data from existing sources, with no need to change them.
Kubernetes marking the turn toward “modern”
Containers have been largely adopted, but this year the conversation will inevitably turn to container management and orchestration, meaning turning to Kubernetes. We’re seeing that Kubernetes, the open source platform that automates Linux container operations, eliminating many of the manual processes involved in deploying and scaling containerized applications, is becoming more and more popular. Its large popularity is due to having been stabilized, having become the industry standard for deploying containers in production, having been proved relevant for both infrastructure and developers. But, most importantly, it helps businesses become more agile in two scenarios: they can use it to build new, cloud-native applications, but also able to migrate existing applications into containers and run them in Kubernetes. This explains the huge potential of the platform, whose usage we see growing day by day.