Organisations that want to thrive in these trying times have to evolve, while remaining true to core tenets and capabilities. At the heart of it all today is cloud. However, when looking at the next generation of application development and development platforms, there are four other enablers.
First, developers need to be able to work and collaborate remotely, without being permanently connected to the cloud. Teams may work on planes, from home, or in an office using cloud-enabled application life cycle management to handle complex code bases and differential input.
One of the key benefits of cloud computing is that scalability and multi-tenancy can be built into the platform from the ground up.
Cloud development has to be able to cater to multiple computing languages and frameworks, especially when you consider that applications are going to be composed of application "shards", components or services that may need to work together within the same cloud.
As well as enabling mobile development, applications have to be developed with mobility, on a range of devices, in mind. I have read that paid mobile applications will this year generate more revenue than the entire mainframe market, including hardware and software.
Often the business logic back end lives in the cloud, with the front end being able to hop from one device to another. Content can also be personalised according to device type, user location, context, or similar.
For example, a factory supervisor may carry an iPad that can source and display statistics about the operational equipment as he or she walks around. Today's applications also need to be able to handle huge volumes of data spanning a variety of media. Much data is also unstructured, difficult to store and difficult to index.
Businesses increasingly need to spot risk patterns and potential threats, as well as identify sales opportunities. However, with more data being streamed at us all the time,we need to analyse and act on it more quickly.
The next piece of the puzzle is how to integrate and benefit from social media as an organisation. User collaboration can be enhanced via interfaces with social media.
The next-generation development platform that attracts the most users will be the one that delivers an ecosystem around every stakeholder. This includes the developers, the people who deploy their applications using this platform, and the people who look at the services within this ecosystem.
A robust and complete ecosystem will encourage easy collaboration and knowledge sharing, which are both key for increasingly mobile development teams as well as the enforcement of best practice within organisations. All this is key to delivering true enablement.
John Bates is chief technology officer at Progress Software
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