What Trends Define the Future of Software Development in 2022?

The software development industry continues to expand as more businesses incorporate digital tools into their product lines and operational processes. If you want to know where the future of the IT sector lies, keep an eye on these trends.

1. Blockchain

Blockchain refers to the use of a decentralized distributed network to automatically verify activity, eliminating the need for manual checking and greatly reducing the possibility of fraud. Blockchain forms the basis of cryptocurrency, but is now also being used in fintech, healthcare, entertainment, supply chain management, and more.

2. Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity refers to tools that protect IT systems from threats such as cyberattacks or data breaches. Techniques such as cryptography, biometric reading, and other emerging technologies are all used to secure data against cybercrime.

3. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

The sheer scale of systems that deal with large amounts of complex data makes them almost impossible to process by humans, but computers can do it much, much faster. That’s why companies are increasingly turning to machine learning and artificial intelligence to process data sets and help make decisions in complex scenarios.

4. Remote Software Developers

Remote work became mainstream during the pandemic and is here to stay. This is particularly good for software development, as your business can contract a team of developers from different locations to expand the talent pool while keeping costs down.

5. User Experience Design

User experience, or UX, refers to design that centers user interactions and satisfaction. A skilled UX designer can make your software much more enjoyable and useful for customers, boosting adoption and brand loyalty.

6. Omnichannel Experiences

This approach unifies a business’s services such as web, mobile, IoT, telephone, etc., into a seamless experience for users, which increases customer retention and satisfaction.

7. Outsourcing IT Solutions

All kinds of businesses are going digital, whether that be by offering a full-featured website, mobile app, or other product using the above software trends. To achieve this, they are increasingly partnering with experienced custom software development agencies to create these products for them, benefitting from the experience of established IT experts.

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Software Development Trends: What’s In and What’s Out

The world of software development may not quite be as fickle as the fashion industry, but there is a definite trend cycle, with certain tools and platforms becoming more popular and others falling out of favor. Although some purported innovations and disruptions do turn out to be over-hyped, most of the time when an industry practice is gaining popularity, it’s because it works.

The industry is always looking for ways to improve efficiency and security, and a company that adopts an improved methodology earlier than its competitors gains a valuable market advantage.

To find out what’s hot and what’s not, it pays to consult the experts. Here’s a quick rundown of the current trends.

What’s In

Containers

Kubernetes, Podman, and related tools are gaining traction, especially on larger projects like Gitlab. These are based on containerization, a new way of structuring software into different reusable containers with distinct responsibilities in powering the software.

Low-code Development

Growing in popularity since the pandemic, low-code development offers a means for less tech-focused business departments to build parts of the software they use, streamlining enterprise operations and placing less pressure on central IT departments.

Software Engineering Innovation Culture

Organizations are recognizing the value of their software engineers learning new skill sets, and enabling their engineers to change teams and roles with the support of the company. This way, the engineers learn new techniques and practices from across their industry and professional networks.

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Is the Popularity of the ‘Shift-left’ Software Strategy Compromising Security?

One software trend that has risen to prominence in the IT industry is the shift-left strategy. In a nutshell, shift-left refers to the practice of implementing testing from the early stages of the DevOps cycle (i.e., the ‘left’ side if you imagine chart progression from left to right). This approach does come with certain advantages; however, there is a potential human cost to this labor-intensive strategy that may end up compromising the security and compliance of the software.

A recent survey of 600 C-level tech executives carried out by CloudBees showed that the majority (80%) favored the shift-left strategy in their software development process and considered it important for their companies. However, the burden for this early testing falls upon the developers, and over half of the surveyed executives reported that their development teams felt strained and overworked. Possibly as a result of this developer burnout, only 88% said they felt that their software supply chain was secure, down from 95% last year.

Balancing Priorities in Software Development

By initiating testing in the earlier stages of the software development life cycle, shift-left can make the development process more efficient by catching defects early on, rather than later in the production stages when they would be more time-consuming and expensive to fix.

The catch is that implementing shift-left with an existing team gives the developers more work to do. If the workload is not properly managed with adjustments to the timeline, or by upscaling the team, the pressure can lead to developers reconsidering their current job situation–especially during the IT industry’s ongoing talent shortage.

Security Compliance and Shift-Left

Security compliance is another pain point for the shift-left strategy. Recent cybersecurity guidelines from the NSA and CISA specifically cover the development process and the software supply chain. Under the shift-left paradigm, this places even more responsibility for security on the developers, as they must take compliance into account during testing.

Most CEOs surveyed still prioritize security over speed, but to strike a balance, the human element of the development process must be taken care of. Developers need to be rested and to feel valued in order to effectively perform their tasks and produce secure, high-quality software.

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How To Choose the Right Blockchain Development Company

Blockchain has risen from obscurity to become one of the most talked about tech trends today. While this is mostly due to its association with cryptocurrency, the fact is that many businesses are waking up to the potential for blockchain to transform their industry, especially in finance, cybersecurity, supply chain, healthcare, and sectors that deal with sensitive data sets.

To make the most out of blockchain for your business, you’re going to want to understand what the technology can do and partner with a software development company that has specific expertise in blockchain. This guide will help you choose the best one for your needs.

How Blockchain Works

A blockchain is a digital ledger maintained by a decentralized distributed network of computers (called nodes) around the world. The ledger contains a record of activity on the network (e.g., cryptocurrency transactions) and is accessed, checked, and verified by every single computer on the network. This means that it is impossible to delete, alter, or falsify the record unless one controls the majority of nodes on the network.

Business Uses for Blockchain

This high standard of security makes blockchain attractive to the banking sector, as distributed ledgers can be used to prevent fraud and quickly process transactions, while offering a high level of transparency. Automation cuts out the need for third parties in transactions, as the blockchain network can verify transactions in smart contracts to approve loans, sales, remunerations, and other financial products.

Other business uses of blockchain include anything that requires cybersecurity; this includes mobile apps that process sensitive information and healthcare systems and enterprise platforms. Supply chains, which need to manage detailed inventory over many locations and combat fraud, can also greatly benefit from blockchain.

Finally, blockchain is being used for the creation of virtual objects in Web3 projects, such as virtual reality metaverses, with NFTs and cryptocurrency for trading digital items.

What to Consider when Choosing a Blockchain Development Company

Scalability

Scalability is an ongoing issue in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. The more activity on the blockchain, the more processing power (and electrical power) is used by the system if the blockchain uses proof of work as consensus – but there are other methods with the aim of reducing carbon footprint. However, the latest blockchain projects are more scalable. When consulting with a potential blockchain partner, make sure they detail their plan to handle growth.

Programming Expertise

Before committing to a blockchain development company, ask vendors which programming languages they specialize in, and how they’ll make sure your system is fast and responsive. The coding framework used should be able to perform both parallel and non-parallel operations.

Technology Expertise

The development company should offer a full-stack team with specific experience in blockchain and any technologies related to the project (e.g., virtual reality, cybersecurity, online payments, cryptocurrency, mobile, etc.)

Consultants

A successful software project needs more than just programmers. Partner with an agency that also offers a dedicated consultant that can manage your relationship with the product, advise, and take your feedback.

Methodology

Which development methods should the company use? The Agile development methodology, which specializes in fast iterations and frequent feedback, is generally preferred for blockchain.

Reputation

The company should have an established reputation for delivering projects on time and within budget. Check their reviews and case studies to verify that they do.

Cost

Some blockchain platforms, such as Ethereum, charge transaction fees for operations on the network. This can be worth it, but make sure to discuss this and factor it into budget and scalability planning.

How to Choose a Blockchain Development Partner, Step-by-Step

To find the right blockchain development company, it’s important to choose one that meets your goals.

1. Outline Your Business Needs

Most software development projects that fail do so because of poor communication or ambiguity between parties. So the first step is to clearly draw up your business needs, including the end goals, intended uses, desired features, budget, and deadline.

2. Reach Out to Companies

This can be done by posting your requirements online or looking up blockchain development companies and contacting them directly. Schedule consultations with prospective partners and discuss your project.

3. Consider Offers

Interested vendors should send you their bids. Shortlist only those from reputable companies that detail expenses, legal compliances, and policy covering delay or other issues.

4. Choose a Partner

This stage involves carefully comparing the bids to your criteria drawn up in step one. Before fully committing, schedule another consultation with your preferred candidates to work out any fine details.

5. Get Started

Work can start now, but don’t be completely hands-off. Stay in control of the project by liaising with the project manager and using a client dashboard.

A Blockchain Solution that Suits Your Needs

Integrating blockchain into your company should be carried out with the help of experts so that it becomes a genuine asset to your organization, instead of simply trend-chasing.

At AccelOne, the expert blockchain developers in our hybrid US/Nearshore team have extensive experience in creating blockchain, Web3, and crypto products for industry-leading companies.

Contact us online or call 800.863.6814 to find out how we can craft a blockchain solution to benefit your business.

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Why Agile Is Becoming More Popular in Software Development

The Agile methodology of software development is becoming increasingly popular compared to competing models. One of the newer software development models, Agile is notable for being structured around frequent iterations and feedback sessions. It is characterized by its flexibility, as developers can make changes quickly without halting or re-doing the entire project.

How Does Agile Work?

In the context of the Agile model, iterations refer to short development cycles that can quickly be repeated if needed. First, the timeline and agenda are set for the cycle, then the developers work to deliver the desired functionality. During the testing phase, feedback is collected from the development team, the project lead, and possibly the client. The next cycle is then planned in a quick meeting that incorporates any changes or issues that came up in the feedback.

Frequent cycles mean that required changes can be made quickly during the development process, rather than in traditional Waterfall methods, in which feedback is collected in the later stages of a project and therefore may demand a complete do-over of earlier development stages. In Agile development, the client stays involved and the developers can quickly implement necessary changes.

Agile also encourages collaboration between team members. Every project, whether a small mobile app, a huge enterprise blockchain ledger, or an immersive VR simulation, requires programmers, UI designers, UX specialists, QA engineers, and more to work together and build its functions. By delivering functions in iterations, the whole team works closely together and stays cohesive throughout the life of the project.

The V-Shaped Model Combines the Benefits of Agile and Waterfall

The V-shaped model combines elements of Agile and the more traditional Waterfall method in an attempt to benefit from both. The V-shaped model uses the speed and flexibility of Agile and the detailed documentation and structure of Waterfall. It is becoming popular among medium-to-large size companies as an alternative to pure Agile or Waterfall, as it offers the best of both worlds.

Agile Is Here to Stay

Trends may come and go in the tech industry, but Agile has only become more widely adopted since its formal debut more than 20 years ago. Businesses looking for a fast and flexible methodology for their software projects should consider either using Agile or incorporating some of its features, as is the case in the V-shaped model.

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How Nature Provides a Model for Machine Learning

The Madison Central Library in Wisconsin is hosting a series of talks on current tech topics as part of its Codecinella/Women In Tech event. The next scheduled talk, titled ‘Machine Learning Algorithms Inspired by Nature, should be particularly interesting for anyone intrigued by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which have a number of exciting applications in modern software development.

The talk will be hosted by Naveen VK, Technical Director at nvisia and veteran software developer in JavaScript, .NET, and other frameworks. In this talk, attendees will be introduced to how machine learning algorithms are inspired by the behavior of plants and animals found in nature, referencing real-life examples and use cases for ML derived from observations of the natural world. The goal is to give attendees an idea of how machine learning has evolved, and how it might develop from here.

Much of AI research has to do with teaching a computer how to interact with the real world. For example, in spatial computing, robots and appliances need to be able to sense and react to objects and environments around them, just as natural living beings do. Machine learning is a technique for computers to mimic what organisms learn through natural selection and experience. For example, a large amount of self-driving cars would create considerable traffic, and ML tools, such as particle swarm optimization, that are based on the mass movement of animals, such as flocks of birds, schools of fish, and swarms of bees, have been developed for this purpose. So-called genetic algorithms have also been modeled on the process of cell reproduction in the survival-of-the-fittest phenomenon of natural selection.

Interested parties can attend in person in the First Floor Conference Room of the Madison Central Library or join in online via Zoom from 6.15 p.m. on October 19.

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How Much Does Custom Software Development Cost? An Overview

The cost range for a custom software development project is vast, and can span from $20,000 to $500,000. While a number of factors affect the cost of any given project, knowing the direct and indirect costs is essential for budgeting for the project.

Below we outline some of the main factors that can affect the cost of a custom software development project.

Software requirements

Initial meetings with a software development vendor should include a rundown of project requirements, client budget, and cost estimation. A simple app with low-level requirements could range from $20,000 to $80,000, depending on specific tech needs. Expect 600-700 hours of development time at the very least.

High-end apps that work on multiple platforms with heavy server-side demands could even reach six figures, as high as $500,000.

Company Size

Businesses of different sizes have different software needs.

A startup will have a lower budget and more pressure to get a product to market, and typically will not be able to commission a minimum viable product (MVP) above $45,000.

Small and medium enterprises can afford more expensive products of up to $100,000, and are more likely to be able to invest the time needed for a quality custom solution that stands out from the competition.

Large enterprises with thousands of employees need to pay particular attention to security and compliance and require more expensive solutions that can go as high as $500,000.

Product Type

Each type of software has different requirements that should be factored into costs, for example, a simple mobile app that displays text with simple colors would be cheaper than a virtual reality game with immersive graphics, or a blockchain-based Web3 platform. Certain product types, such as healthcare apps, will require more specialists on the team, whose skills command a higher premium.

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What Does a Software Development Life Cycle Look Like? 

Developing a quality software product takes time and effort, with several steps to clear from concept to launch. These steps are called the Software Development Life Cycle, or SDLC.

Software development companies can use SDLC to maximize efficiency, make changes when needed, and more effectively manage time and resources on the project. It also allows the client to follow the development process in a logical way, monitor progress, and make sure development stays aligned with their goals.

Phases of the Software Development Life Cycle

While different software development companies may consolidate or extend the process into more or fewer stages, all SDLCs tend to follow a similar progression, split up into around 6 to 8 steps.

1. Planning

In the initial phase, all stakeholders (i.e., the client and the project leaders of the software development team, as well as potentially sales reps, marketers, and potential customers) meet to determine the scope and goals of the software product. Questions that are answered during the planning phase include, “What is the product supposed to achieve, and on what scale?”

Based on this outline, the project leads will calculate human and material resource needs, coming up with a timeline that should include milestone targets and an estimation of costs. The planning stage also involves setting up the team structure and assigning roles to developers, engineers, project managers, and other specialists.

2. Define Features & Requirements

The next step involves defining the requirements of the software application. In this phase, you’ll want to answer the following questions: What does the app need to be able to do (what features do you want the app to have)? What needs to be done to implement the app’s features? Features include things like messaging, social media integration, payment processing, graphics, photo and video, geolocation, search functions, and so on.

Once the features are defined, the development team outlines the requirements needed for the project. This can include hardware, such as headsets and controllers for virtual reality apps, or appliances for testing smart home software.

3. Architecture, Design & Prototyping

In the design stage, the development team will model how the software application will work and define certain aspects.
This can include:

  • Architecture: Which programming languages (e.g. JavaScript, Python) will be used for the project, and which methodology will be followed during development.
  • Platforms: Software platforms, such as Apple, Android, Windows, Linux, web browsers, or gaming consoles, have different requirements for your software to run smoothly on them. Mixed and hybrid applications are possible, but it’s important to define the desired target platforms in the early stages.
  • User Interface (UI): Designers will model the graphical interface that users will engage with to interact with the software, which includes layout, colors, buttons, inputs, feedback, and more.
  • Integrations: How the software product will interact with other software platforms or apps.
  • Security: This could include encryption, password protection and storage, single-sign-on, multi-factor authentication and more.
  • Prototyping: A no code prototype is an early version of the software with the basics of the UI and functionality. It serves as a proof-of-concept for stakeholders and a useful tool for early testing. Experimenting with prototypes helps identify and address potential issues early on.

4. Software Development

At this point, the developers will write the code for your software application. The team will usually use source code management and static code analysis tools to track changes to the code and ensure quality. Good software development agencies also offer a monitoring platform for the client to track progress and provide feedback.

During this phase, the team should create documentation of the coding process in the form of notations or a user guide to facilitate testing and updates in the future.

5. Testing

The software should be tested before launch to make sure it performs as intended and meets expectations for speed and reliability. QA specialists should make sure the testing process is thorough, and any bugs or glitches are quashed before deployment.

6. Deployment

This is when the software is made available to users. For example, an app is submitted to the Google Play/App Store or made available on the company website or digital storefront for download.

Enterprise software deployment can be more complex, as the software is rolled out across an entire organization. It is recommended to have the dev team on hand to manage any issues with integrations during the launch.

7. Maintenance

Your application is up and running, but it’s likely that users in the real world will find bugs that weren’t discovered during testing. You might also come up with ideas to improve your product based on user feedback or market performance. A good software development company will offer long-term support for fixing bugs and expanding features, so that your software will continue to improve over time.

Partner with an Experienced Software Development Company with a Clearly Defined SDLC

At AccelOne, our hybrid US/Nearshore software development team has a proven track record of creating powerful software solutions for industry-leading businesses.

To learn more about how we can help you create the perfect software product for your needs, contact us online or call 800.863.6814.

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Experts Recommend Following These 3 Software Development Trends

Software development is constantly evolving, with new technologies and methods being adopted by innovative developers and companies. The convergence of websites, apps, e-commerce platforms, IoT, cloud computing, and other technologies, means that it is no longer possible for developers to stay relevant by specializing in one programming language. Rather, companies and individuals need to incorporate new industry trends to future-proof their work.

Industry experts have identified three current IT trends worth following in software development.

AIOps and MLOps

These terms refer to the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into DevOps workflows, to streamline the process. GlobalData researcher, Charlotte Dunlap, highlights how these tools can offer developers the benefits of sophisticated data analytics to provide actionable insights into their workflow efficiency.

Srini Kadiyala, CTO of data governance consultancy OvalEdge, recommends the use of AI-enabled coding apps to automate certain elements of the development cycle, enhancing the speed and accuracy of the process.

Spatial Computing

Spatial computing involves the interaction of computers with the physical world, giving software applications awareness of real space and the ability to detect and react to objects. Nils Pihl, CEO of Auki Labs, an augmented reality technology company, points out that the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21 spurred demand for and adoption of AI, VR, AR, and IoT solutions.

Pihl highlights how tech giants such as Amazon, Google, and Apple are investing considerably in these technologies, but the industry is still in its early stages, with plenty of room for innovation

Low-Code and High-Code Skills

Onymos CEO, Shiva Nathan, notes how IT media hype alternates between low-code and high-code methods, but neither solution can do everything. Instead, a balance must be found between these approaches, as they are both needed.

Instead, analysts foresee engineering teams using combined high-code, low-code, and no-code on their projects.

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Why Flutter beats React Native for cross-platform app development

Smartphones have become the primary way most people engage with the internet, whether it’s for social media, shopping, entertainment, or business purposes. But the mobile software market is split between two competing platforms: iOS and Android. If you’re planning to create a new mobile app for your services, you can choose between native and cross-platform development. Choosing the latter is highly recommended, and considering hiring developers with expertise in Flutter to undertake the project.

Native vs cross-platform development: what’s the difference?

Native refers to an app developed specifically for one platform, e.g., iOS or Android. Each platform has its own SDK, which uses different programming languages. Android uses Java and Kotlin, whereas iOS native apps are built with Swift and Objective-C for iOS. A native app only works on the particular platform it was developed for. If you only care about one mobile platform, this is a straightforward choice.

On the other hand, cross-platform applications work on multiple platforms. If you wish to reach the widest portion of the market, this method saves both time and money compared to developing multiple native apps. The best way to determine which framework to use for any development project is to consult a professional software development agency.

Why choose Flutter over React Native?

Flutter and React Native are both popular frameworks for developing cross-platform apps. React Native is a JavaScript-based framework created by Meta, and is noted for its ease of use.

Flutter is a free and open-source framework based on the Dart coding language. It has several advantages compared to React Native, the first being that apps created using Flutter takes up very little storage space and typically perform even faster. Flutter also has many built-in widgets that let you test and check the effects of your code in real time. It excels in the development of the UI (user interface), which is key to engaging the end user with your product.

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