How Developers Are Serving up the World to Software

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How Developers Are Serving up the World to Software

The future is now!

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Serving up the world on a silver platter.

Serving up the world on a silver platter.

Marc Andreessen wrote his now-famous essay “Why Software is Eating the World" eight years ago. Watching and living the evolution of software since then, we can now clearly see how his prediction has come to pass. Today nearly every business — and industry — is on the path of software/internet-driven transformation and in many cases, outright disruption. And throughout this ever-evolving period, software developers and the tech they have created have played a central role in accelerating this global transformation.

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Software and Its Insatiable Appetite

Despite the widespread adoption of digital transformation in business, we may be heading for even bigger changes ahead. A digital-first strategy has been adopted by 89% of businesses. Companies are challenging age-old patterns, transforming products into experiences and restrictive ownership into open access, all while catering to users with a personalized, hassle-free experience. Evidently, consumer attitudes are at the heart of these trends with 80% of customers believing that the experience is just as important as the products and services themselves.

Developer Skills Feed These Growing Appetites

In addition to being intimately involved in shaping customer attitudes and company strategy, developers are playing an enormous role in accelerating the digital reinvention of business and customer expectations. Technologies are swiftly aligning with developer skills in several areas, and this is having a dramatic impact on the pace of software-driven change.

For example, cloud computing is undergoing rapid evolution into serverless computing, which has transformed the focus for development and dramatically changed time-to-value for software. With serverless, the obligation to apply critical time and design focus on deployment is lessened. In the past, there was a separation within development teams with backend skills often being awarded a premium in the development world. Serverless redirects developer attention to application innovation and customer experience, widening the developer base applied to pushing forward software-driven business transformation.

Also accelerating software’s takeover of the world is the return to a universally-accessible, standards-based ubiquitous application platform. After a long-winding divergence, driven in large part by the mobile app explosion, web apps are nearing feature parity with native apps in terms of performance, feature richness and flexibility for the vast majority of users and use-cases.

The unabated pace of evolution in web standards are bringing more native app capabilities to the world of web apps, reducing the parallel development tracks of the past and enabling greater leverage of developer skills and development efforts.

World Eating Apps Get More Like Us

Although we are tied to our mobile devices, there is still a significant gap between the virtual and the physical world we inhabit. Our nature is to use our eyes and ears to experience the world, yet our digital tethers demand our attention as an operator and using touch, reading and typing takes attention away from our physical world.

Yet here too, developers are driving changes that will enable the use of devices as an extension of our physical self, bridging the digital and physical worlds. Applications are beginning to use the camera and audio capabilities from our mobile devices. Visual and voice-driven UI will become a mainstream feature of apps and a preferred experience for users as visual and audio tech progress.

Advances in image and speech recognition technologies are rapidly being brought directly into devices as standard functionality. Developers increasingly adopt and utilize these capabilities as they build the next generation of world-gobbling software applications.

Content Gets Richer With Visuals

No doubt our digital world delivers massive amounts of content to us, with more than 4.6 billion pieces of content produced daily. Humans process visuals much more easily and quickly, visual media can help us navigate the increasingly dense digital world. Visuals represent 90% of the information that our brains process, and we remember 80% of what we see versus 20% of what we read.

Developers are adopting visual media to transform applications and visual storytelling as a means to more effectively engage with app viewers. Combined with the coming advances in visual and audio UI, new application forms will emerge to deliver richer, denser content in ways that we can more easily consume.

Bridging the Digital Divide

Developers are quickly moving to improve information and functionality access for those who haven’t had the privilege of participating in the software advances of the last decade, e.g. the next billion users. The Internet was supposed to be the great equalizer, but the race to deliver richer app experiences formed chasms between the users of applications. The disparity in devices and communications infrastructure created a world of haves and have-nots.

Today developers are embracing accessibility, usability and user experience as core principles in app development. While not new, continued focus on Progressive Enhancement promises better access to all app consumers even if not all functionality is available consistently across all devices and networks.

Developers Serve Up The World To Software

With these relentless advancements in development technologies, the prediction that software will eat the world is even more relevant today. The simplification of cloud computing via serverless and the advancement of web app standards are boosting productivity and creativity. Developers are occupying the pilot’s seat in driving software innovation.

The delivery of the next generation of visual and audio-driven apps will further accelerate software used in business transformation with richer, more intuitive interfaces. These apps will not only foster greater use but will also shape customer preference for software-enabled experiences.

As developers continue to passionately pursue accessibility principles, we will see a software world that is expanding access to innovative apps more broadly than ever before. Developers are truly serving up the world to software like never before.

Further Reading

DZone's Guide to Developer Programs

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