2015 was incredible. Tools and solutions came forward to do all the right things: security, Agile, CI, CD, etc. but real-world use lagged behind all the opportunities they presented. What do people need to do to adopt these technologies? Can we truly take advantage of all this?
Digging into the stories, punditry, and buzzwords of last year, a few common threads emerged for us to assess and take stock of how prepared we are for an even bigger and faster 2016.
Security goes incremental
With growing application complexity comes more permutations and combinations of attack vectors to compromise any system, from the Bluetooth network in your car to the backend database in your server farm. It’s a foregone conclusion that holistic build testing and real-time event management are necessary precautions but they aren’t enough to combat vulnerabilities buried deep inside code. If it isn’t happening already, be prepared to see security testing extend inwards towards the developer’s desktop and forced to accommodate flaws discovered in both old packages and new code.
Real time runs rampant
The very definition of “real time” has become diluted over the years but the principle remains the same — for software systems and development processes alike. With input velocity on the rise, whether it’s sensor data or new product requirements, processes must be able to quickly assess and respond with the correct actions to better service the user or the customer. Hard real-time systems have been doing this for years, DevOps and CI are just getting started, and we’ll take what they’ve already learned: the only way to rapidly adapt to changing inputs is by evolving not only the core but the core’s relationship to and the behavior of all stakeholders, whether it’s an interconnected system or another development team.
The internet of algorithms
Demand pricing, machine learning, autonomous cars, we’re on the verge of an algorithm-based society where every action is recorded and every reaction is predicted to provide smart and optimized user experiences. As network connectivity reaches out to grasp the wearables on our wrists (what Gartner calls the “digital mesh”) and businesses consume more data, demand for advanced analytics with blazingly-fast answers (in “real time” perhaps?) will rise, even as complex algorithms are pushed down to the client devices.
Open source gets real
Open source software is already the de-facto standard for many organizations and, as some open source providers have demonstrated, it’s expansion into different monetization models means that enterprises will have to treat packages the same as commercial software. Meaning they are purchased, tracked, supported, and maintained to protect business value and reputation.
The developer strikes back
As this and any other “top” list illustrates, there are myriad techniques and trivia to research and even more tasks to prioritize for those on the front lines of code. It’s hard to say whether this will come true or not but we’re at the point where developers are saying, “I’m at my best when I’m coding” and we must forego dumping all these trends onto their laps and focus instead on the tools that make them better. For 2016, this means building cultures and development environments that service the developer, letting them create, track, and fix code without onerous processes and too-long set up times. Trends are important for business leaders to adapt and grow, but developers work best when allowed to focus on what matters.