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Software development trends have always been evolving, but the ongoing pandemic has further propelled the changes. What seems to be an acceptable practice in software development today may no longer be so in the near future.
Startup founders need to be well-informed of where software industry trends are heading and strategize accordingly when building an app. For example, there is a growing interest in low-code development platforms, with the market revenue expected to hit $46.4 billion in 2026.
Here are the areas that founders need to keep their eye on as they plan for a new app.
Flexibility With Anywhere Operations
Mobile apps are redefining how physical businesses operate in a community that is shifting towards the digital space. Anywhere operation is a model that empowers companies to extend their services and products to clients beyond physical premises.
It is not about displacing physical setups with cloud solutions, but rather enhancing customer experience by providing a digital alternative. For example, on-demand delivery apps are in huge demand as the pandemic forces people to remain at home. In the US, 37% of US citizens reportedly spend more on delivery apps due to the coronavirus.
The flexibility of allowing customers to engage with businesses has also seen apps like Aspiration booming in recent years. Aspiration provides a digital alternative to conventional banking and allows users to track carbon footprints generated in their transactions.
Startup founders can get started by building an on-demand delivery app like UberEats, Netflix, or DoorDash to leverage on the growing appetite for the anywhere operations model.
“A successful anywhere operations strategy should be people-centric and location-independent.” -- Stephen Moss, VP of Mid-Market Sales & Delivery, Insight
Cybersecurity Demands A Different Strategy
As the world becomes more digitally interconnected, startup founders cannot afford to take cybersecurity for granted. Ransomware attacks are expected to cost businesses an astounding $6 trillion by 2021.
Therefore, startups need to take a different approach to address cybersecurity concerns. Conventional methods like establishing a perimetric ‘firewall’ or anti-malware application are no longer sufficient.
Malicious attackers are operating with smarter techniques and this calls for a cybersecurity mesh to be implemented during development. Cybersecurity mesh is where security measures are introduced and test upon each distributed network access module on the app. In this strategy, DevOp teams include security testing during the development to ensure that no vulnerabilities are introduced in the process.
Given that cybersecurity is likely to be a growing concern in the foreseeable future, security apps like VIPRE, Nox, and Lookout are decent ideas for budding startups.
Remote Operations With Distributed Cloud
Distributed cloud technologies are one of the major forces shaping application development trends. While cloud computing isn’t a new concept, the way that cloud is applied in a distributed manner has enhanced user experience in recent years.
Instead of hosting backend services on a single cloud server, startups should adopt the distributed cloud topology, where services run on different cloud providers and at different geographical locations.
The immediate benefit of the distributed cloud is felt when apps remain operational even when there’s an issue in one of the servers. The high availability prevents service disruption and cloud redundancy features prevent data losses.
Startup owners could gain valuable insights by studying the success of existing cloud-based apps like Dropbox, Salesforce, and Vimeo.
Internet of Behavior (IoB) For Personalization
Expect software trends to lean towards personalization, particularly with the Internet of Behavior. Internet of Behavior, or IoB, is the extension of the Internet of Things (IoT). Besides gathering data from devices, IoB tracks and analyzes people's behaviors as they interact with apps and devices.
While IoB has yet to gain mainstream traction, Gartner predicted that 40% of the worldwide population will have their behaviors tracked by 2023. The data gathered via IoB proves to be useful to create a personalized user experience.
Startups can pick up examples of IoB in action from how YouTube is showing personalized video feeds based on how users react. Similarly, Facebook is using the same concept to display ads that are likely to gain more engagement from the users.
Total Experience For Improved Conversion
Customer experience is more important than ever as far as software development trends are concerned. According to Forbes, 96% of customers cited experience as the key to instilling brand loyalty. That’s where total experience, or TX, kicks in for app development.
Instead of focusing on customer experience, user experience, employee experience, and multi-experience as separate entities, TX provides a central point where they intersect. With total experience, startups not only ensure that their customers receive the best experience but also empower the support team in their job.
The key to TX lies in unified communication, and that means getting the right customer support technologies. It’s important to have cohesive communication between customers and support personnel, even if the latter is stationed remotely.
VPN providers that offer 24/7, responsive live-chat support is the perfect example of total experience.
Continuous Delivery Is No Longer A Competitive Advantage, But A Must-have
Continuous delivery is where the development team always keeps a deployable version of code. With changes happening at a rapid pace, apps need to be constantly updated and released to users. DevOps.com reported that 31.7% of developers release an update between 1 to 4 weeks.
By adopting continuous delivery, it’s possible to implement feedback and identify issues more efficiently and at a lower cost. Therefore, it’s important for startups to engage development teams capable of working in shorter sprint cycles.
Optimizing Cost and Efficiency With Low-Code Development
Low-code development enables companies to build applications with minimal coding. It simplifies the otherwise tedious process with flow-chart, drag and drop tools, and visual interface. Enterprises can easily integrate business logic into an app with low-code development tools.
The idea of building apps with little or no coding involved has gained traction in recent years. Markets capitalizing on low-code development are expected to hit $187 billion in revenue by 2030. 45% of businesses favor low-code development as it reduces dependency on skilled experts.
For startup founders, low-code development is perfect to quickly idealize business ideas and test them out with the users. Requirement changes can be quickly implemented with low-code tools in a relatively inexpensive manner.
The Best Of Both World With Progressive Web Apps
Progressive web apps, or PWA, are the next big thing in mobile technology. It offers the best of native mobile and web apps. Literally, PWA is web applications enhanced with modern browser capabilities. It removes the need of downloading an app while enjoying a native-like app experience on mobile.
There’s been a growing interest in PWA since Google first introduced it in 2015. In one study, PWAs recorded a 36% higher conversion rate than their native counterpart. PWAs are generally more responsive and cost less to build and maintain, making them an interesting choice for startups.
Leverage The Right Experts With Software Outsourcing
More companies find software outsourcing a more attractive option than establishing an in-house team. According to Delloite, 70% of respondents surveyed cited cost reduction as a major reason to outsource.
Startups, particularly, have everything to gain by outsourcing their software development needs to an external development firm. The move allows startup owners to tap into proven skills and experience without being burdened by salaries and IT costs. Also, outsourcing is the better option compared to hiring freelancers if the startup founder isn’t ready to take on the CTO role.
Companies like Skype and Whatsapp outsource part of their development to 3rd party software companies. The move allows them to hire the right talent and often at a fraction of what it would cost with in-house recruitment.
Often, software development trends are influenced by programming languages, libraries, and frameworks.
- React is a popular open-source framework for developing front-end interfaces. It’s ranked 2nd by Stack Overflow in a survey conducted in 2020.
- Go, an open-source language introduced by Google ranks 5th in a recent survey of developers developing or planning to develop with the language.
- Kotlin was selected by Google as the official programming language for Android. To date, it has surpassed Java in terms of popularity.
- Swift was introduced as the replacement for Objective-C for building apps for macOS and iOS. It will continue to be the dominant language in this niche.
Software development is a dynamic industry influenced by technologies, consumer behaviors, and other underlying factors. With a better understanding of the latest software trends, startups are better prepared to turn their ideas into apps.