After all the hype in the news about FlipBoard yesterday, I downloaded the app to take a look at what it could do. Even though there were some issues with the service being over capacity, what I was able to use was very impressive. Indirectly, the app reminded me why now is such a great time to be a software developer.
The Devices Available To Us
For a start, the number of devices that we can deploy our software on has risen exponentially over the last 10 years. We've gone from mobile development being a specialist area, to one that almost anyone can create an app for the most popular smartphones. Without doubt, the rise of the tablet devices, in particular the iPad, is one of the most significant technology changes in the last year. When I was in college, I had a few ideas for applications that needed the tablet form factor; I was just missing the device. 10 years later, I'm in a position where the device is available, and it's even easier to program for the device.
The Tools & Technologies
We have a huge number of technologies at our disposal now, and most are pretty easy to pick up. After all, once an initial programming language is learned, most software developers can easily switch to different languages. Even if we just stick to pure Java, no matter what you want to do, there's probably a library for that. On the web, technologies like GWT and HTML5 have opened up new possibilities for how we create websites. Free IDEs with limitless plugins are taken for granted now.
All of these advances have made the role of the software developer much more exciting. Even if your day job doesn't involve the newer trends, there's nothing to stop you from exploring what is possible with all the latest advancements. With everything that is available to software developers right now, I think the rate of killer apps both on mobile devices and on the web, can only increase.