Software development is a constantly evolving field, creating numerous challenges for development teams. Some trends define creative new solutions to significant problems, while others offer more style than substance and disappear the following year. Development teams must incorporate the innovation and avoid the fluff to be successful.
Let's look at five software development trends this year and how to incorporate them into your projects.Software development is constantly changing, creating challenges for development teams. Here are some trends that you may want to consider in 2022 and beyond. Click To Tweet
#1. AI in Software Development
Artificial intelligence isn't replacing developers quite yet, but the technology is augmenting developer capabilities.
For example, GitHub Copilot draws context from the code you're working on and suggests whole lines of code or entire functions to help engineers be more productive. The OpenAI-powered model uses public source code to create a virtual pair programmer that provides creative and time-saving insights directly within a developer's code editor.
In addition to GitHub Copilot, Microsoft's Visual Studio IntelliCode can help refactor existing code. The tool uses program synthesis to watch for code changes in the IDE and make suggestions that eliminate repetitive patterns. The result is cleaner and easier to read code that doesn't contain a lot of unnecessary repetition or other errors.
Many developers are already using these tools to improve their creativity and productivity. However, AI-driven software development remains an early-stage endeavor, and developers still need to use a lot of discretion when using AI-generated code. It's best to treat it as a recommendation from a mid-level colleague rather than an automatic solution.
#2. Innovative New Frameworks
The framework that you choose to develop an application has a significant impact on its long-term outlook.
Most developers are familiar with battle-tested frameworks, like Ruby on Rails, React, or Django, but new and exciting frameworks are coming out every year. While many of these new frameworks are too early-stage for production use, there's a sweet spot between cutting-edge features and production readiness that development teams must reach.
Some unique cutting-edge frameworks include:
- Svelte takes a new approach to build user interfaces by introducing a compiling step that surgically updates the DOM when app state changes—providing far superior performance.
- Phoenix leverages Elixir, a functional programming language, to build fault-tolerant interactive web applications that include LiveView as an alternative to SPAs for state management.
- Inertia makes it possible to build SPAs without having to create an API. Instead, you can use classic server-side routes and controllers that are typically easier to build and more maintainable.
On the other hand, development teams shouldn't dismiss old frameworks because they have been around a long time. For example, Ruby on Rails and many other older frameworks are consistently adding new features and capabilities. In fact, many of these frameworks borrow concepts from new cutting-edge technologies when they seem mature enough to adopt.
#3. Progressive Web Apps
React Native and other mobile development frameworks opened the door to developing iOS and Android apps using a single code base.
Progressive Web Applications, or PWAs, use service workers, manifests, and other web platform features with progressive enhancement to give users an experience similar to native apps. As a result, you can build mobile experiences with the same underlying languages as web applications, helping everyone collaborate better.
In addition to being easier to develop, PWAs support home screen icons, push notifications, splash screens, geo-locations, offline mode, background sync, and the use of various devices features, including the microphone, camera, and more. As a result, you can still build fully-featured cross-platform apps with these technologies.
Despite these benefits, there are some reasons to consider native mobile apps over PWAs. While PWAs benefit from SEO and content marketing, many companies have found it easier to market apps on App Stores with less competition than on the web. There are also some native device capabilities that PWAs cannot access.
#4. Blockchain Technologies
Cryptocurrencies have generated much hype, but their underlying blockchain technology could be more fundamental.
The blockchain is simply an immutable data record held across a network, ensuring security and transparency. Participants can easily verify records on the blockchain, but it's impossible to alter or delete records. While useful as a currency ledger, it could be even more helpful to store data that must be secure and shareable at the same time.
Depending on your application, blockchain technology could be worth adopting at an early stage. For example, smart contracts have made it possible for two parties to agree on terms and guarantee payment. At the same time, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have powered digital collectibles and other businesses where digital ownership proof is needed.
On the other hand, blockchain technology isn't a solution for every problem—or even most situations. Typical business use cases are better off with conventional databases with lower costs, greater speed, and better overall efficiency. Moreover, many concepts built on the blockchain also remain early-stage—such as smart contracts.
Cybersecurity is a growing problem for every application, particularly as tech stacks rely on third-party libraries.
DevSecOps is the idea of building security into every part of an application's lifecycle. Rather than an occasional audit, the process involves everything from security testing within the Agile development cycle. For example, you should write tests covering authentication and authorization features to ensure they're always working correctly.
At the same time, DevSecOps should address network security. All environments should be standardized with centralized user identification and controls. Microservices should be isolated from each other, and the network and API gateways should leverage secure authentication and authorization principles to avoid man-in-the-middle attacks.
For larger companies and high-value projects, bug bounties and penetration testing can help provide an added layer of security. Take a look at our guide on the 7 common security vulnerabilities to watch for in your Django app for further reading on the topic of application security.
The Bottom Line
Software development is a constantly evolving field, and it's challenging to sort the trends from the fads. When choosing between different tools, frameworks, and technologies, it's essential to revisit your business use case and select the solutions that best fit the problem. And, most companies don't need to live on the bleeding edge of innovation.
If you need help choosing the best options for your project, contact us for a free consultation and learn how we can help you plan out your application.