Technology continues growing at an exponential rate — and so do various technology trends. When it comes to software development, certain trends come around for a few years while some become mainstays of the developmental landscape. In some cases, it’s years before a technology trend can become mainstream — after it has been adopted by enough industries. In this article, we discuss the next big trends in software development.
Containerization is inevitable because it has already been implemented to a vast degree. Application containerization refers to a method of OS-level virtualization that runs various applications simultaneously without launching a complete virtual machine for each of those applications. This essentially allows developers to run various individual applications on the same host with access to the same OS components. Currently, the most common technologies for app containerization are Docker and CoreOS. However, in the future, most software developers will be using containers because of their heightened efficiency and utility.
Artificial Intelligence is perhaps the single most obvious and touted technology trend that’s sure to become mainstream in the 2020s. With AI, computers can learn from past behavior and learn about the world in the same way as humans do — they learn from their own experience rather than having to be specifically programmed. The sudden and phenomenal explosion of computing power and data in recent years has sent artificial intelligence barreling forward. In fact, we have already started using AI in various everyday tasks in the form of Siri, Amazon Echo, and other technologies. Artificial intelligence can be used in a number of different fields, such as chatbots to interact with customers and in the field of data analysis to make accurate reports. In the future, most industries are likely to be dependent on artificial intelligence in one form or another.
This point leads straight from the previous one on artificial intelligence — but it deserves a spot all of its own. Chatbots based on artificial intelligence has become so mainstream that most websites, eCommerce platforms, and businesses use them to interact with customers. Instead of hiring employees to answer repetitive questions over and over, this task can be automated so companies can direct their human resources to essential tasks. This vastly increases productivity and efficiency. In the future, this is likely to go a step further. Chatbots are capable of understanding emotions and human speech patterns as well, which is why they will also be used in telephonic customer service. Pretty soon, when you call customer support, you’re likely to be met with chatbots! Examples of current chatbots include Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, and Samsung’s Bixby.
The way we shop completely transformed thanks to e-commerce. We no longer have to go to physical brick-and-mortar stores to buy the things we want but can simply order them online with a few clicks. However, touch commerce is a software development trend that takes it further — it merges touchscreen technology with shopping. Basically, in the future, more and more companies will integrate systems wherein you can simply order things online with a touch, with a fingerprint. That will take you through the whole checkout process so you don’t have to constantly enter your details, address, etc.
Companies often need completely different frontends for their web presence, iOS availability, and Android availability. This is an extremely inefficient means of doing things because you have to set up separate platforms for all of them. However, in recent years, several solutions like Flutter, React Native, 500and Xamarin have attempted to merge iOS and Android application development to streamline the process. While there’s no solution yet to merge all three — web, iOS, and Android — the future is likely to see a breakthrough in this multiplatform UI development as well. In the backend, this will be upheld by containers and microservices.
Blockchain still feels like technology in its infancy. It’s something most people know about, but few people (in mainstream society) understand what it really is. However, blockchain holds an immense potential that’s likely to be unleashed in the 2020s. Currently, only a few industries are actively using blockchain technology, but it’s likely that most industries in the future will be blockchain-dependent. There are already developments in place to expand blockchain functionality to industries like healthcare, farming, city planning, advertisement, and various others. Software developers will have to focus on disruptive and advanced solutions that can leverage blockchain capabilities to enable smart contracts, cryptocurrency payments, and increase transparency in the online space.
Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of functions that allow different applications to communicate with each other, i.e., access their features, operating system, and other services. We are already seeing a trend wherein customers are seeking third-party external API integrations — this saves immense time in custom development and is cost-effective as well. In the future, software developers will mostly rely on third-party API integrations so they can focus on integration between different services instead.
The public is losing faith in online reviews and ratings generated by humans. There are too many different ways to manipulate them. A company can create several accounts to leave positive reviews. People often hire third-parties to fix their online image by burying bad reviews. And there are a number of other ways for companies to fake good reviews. That’s why the future will see software that generates objective reviews and ratings based entirely on objectively measurable user statistics. This will increase the level of transparency and reliability in the online space.
Edge Computing is the practice of processing data at the very edge of the network instead of in some centralized location or warehouse. Basically, this allows the processing of data in the very source in which it’s generated rather than in centralized systems. This will be a cornerstone of software development in the future because it will allow computing at the very source of initial data capture, thereby reducing or completely eliminating processing workload from the servers.
We’re on the brink of an exciting time as far as technologies and software development are concerned. Disruptive technologies like the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Blockchain are all set to take center stage in the 2020s. These technologies promise to bring forth a technological revolution similar to the dot com revolution of the 90s. However, in order to leverage the capabilities of these technologies, software development will also have to advance and grow — which will be done through trends such as containerization, functional programming, multi-platform UI development, and various others. Software developers across the globe have an exciting path ahead of them in terms of bringing forth these changes.