ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...
|By Todd Anglin||
|August 9, 2010 09:00 AM EDT||
"Technology makes it possible for people to gain control over almost everything, except technology." - John Tudor
As software developers, our mission is to deliver positive, technology-based solutions - software that provides both the means and the method for working faster, performing better, achieving more. There is little doubt that the technologies we create provide users with the control and functionality needed to be more efficient and productive. However, what happens when the tools we use to produce these solutions get out of control?
Evolution in the technology ecosystem has accelerated to the speed of light - blink and you may miss something important. The software development landscape has mushroomed with near-exponential growth; new products and innovations are flooding the market on a daily basis. It begs the question: does this swift evolutionary pace represent a positive stage in the maturation of software development or are we moving too quickly for our own good? What does the future of software hold for us? It is an open question that can only be answered with time.
All of this warp-speed evolution and growth means that today's world of software development is bigger and far more complex than at any time. With the sheer volume of diverse technologies and products hitting the market, compounded by truncated beta-to-release delivery cycles, it is all too easy for developers to become overwhelmed and feel as if they're falling behind. In the Microsoft space alone, there are hundreds of emerging technologies regularly being released to market. However, this rapid evolution and explosive technology proliferation isn't limited to any one market segment. Rather, it's endemic to software development as a whole - and represents a mounting challenge that must be addressed if developers want to maintain a base of knowledge that is current and timely.
How can software developers keep apace of relevant new developments without becoming buried beneath an avalanche of information about superfluous tools and technologies that are only marginally related or beneficial to their own projects? How do you separate the wheat from the chaff and really zero in on those technologies that are truly important and valuable? While there's no simple answer to this riddle, one method that may prove useful is staying on PAR: Proactive, Abstraction, Refinement.
Going Proactive: The Waiting Game Is a Losing Game
In the early days of .NET development - the "good ol' days," so to speak - new tools and technologies were released at a relatively disciplined pace. During those first six to eight years, developers benefited from new releases and updates being brought to market at reasonable intervals. It was not only possible, but a logical, intelligent choice for software developers to take an extended amount of time to research, review, evaluate, and perform a hands-on trial of these technologies in order to accurately determine whether they were relevant to either project or individual goals. On rare occasions, this process would begin with technology betas but more often than not, teams could afford to wait for release candidates or near-final software before conducting their evaluations. In other words, the waiting game was one that paid off in the long run.
Fast-forward to today: the waiting game has become a losing game. Technology is now moving along at a much faster pace than it was a mere decade ago. The shifting software landscape touches a far broader spectrum of technologies - enterprise, Web, cloud, and mobile, for example - than ever before, resulting in an increasingly wider cross-platform, cross-technology software footprint. Yet though this swift acceleration of evolution and expansion might be unsettling to some, the pace is appropriate for the scenarios and world that we as developers, must serve.
The last two to three years has seen a rapid acceleration in the introduction of new technologies and updates - beta-to-release-candidate cycles are now compressed so that it often feels as if new technologies are being introduced every month. For the average .NET developer, this means the luxury of time has evaporated; sitting by the sidelines, just waiting for updates and new technologies to come along is a sure path to obsolescence.
Software developers who want to avoid the obsolescence trap must become more proactive. In practical terms, this means breaking free of the conventional "wait-and-see" mentality, and instead reaching out to embrace coming change: identifying which emerging technologies, irrespective of the buzz factor, best serve current and future project needs, actively seeking out the latest demos and information from experts and project teams, and engaging in the discussion before the final release hits the market. Success is based on one's ability to be nimble and adapt quickly to evolving conditions. Software developers willing to make the effort necessary to become more proactive will find themselves well equipped to not just survive but to thrive in the rapidly shifting technology ecosystem.
The Art of Abstraction
Being proactive rather than reactive is a critical element for success in the modern-day world of software development, yet, it also poses a formidable challenge; out of the multitudes of new technologies hitting the market, how do you decide which to pursue? How do you determine which ones will be viable and evergreen, and which will fall by the wayside? As it is virtually impossible to predict which technologies will establish themselves as indispensible, developers often find themselves under increasing pressure to adopt a "learn everything" strategy. However, becoming a "jack of all trades, master of none" can be just as detrimental to success as sitting by the sidelines and waiting for the dust to settle.
As developers are generally not blessed with a crystal ball and its predictive abilities, an alternate method for preparing for a successful future is needed. The art of abstraction - reducing and factoring out specific details and minutiae in order to focus on critical concepts - is just such a method. By adding a layer of abstraction between themselves and the shifting technology environment, developers can effectively select, gain a broad understanding of, and manage a wider variety of relevant technologies without feeling as if they're being forced to fully learn every new niche technology that comes along.
Software developers can achieve the level of abstraction that best suits their individual situation in any number of ways. For example:
- Identify someone who can act as a technology expert - such as project or team leader, or industry analyst - and provide a learned, level-headed, and objective view of a given technology. After identifying an expert, take the time needed to really get to know the person. Much like vetting a vital service provider like an accountant, attorney, or even an auto mechanic, it's critical to validate the veracity of any expert opinion.
- If finding and identifying an expert is impractical or impossible, find a vendor that is trustworthy, one who has demonstrated its worth in the past. It's less risky to bet on a company with proven, dependable technologies delivering added value than on a new, not yet proven technology.
- Leverage the power of abstraction tools, like Object Relational Mapping (ORM) suites. With their unique ability to act as an equalizer of sorts - allowing software developers to work effectively within multiple diverse environments without requiring specialized knowledge of each database system - ORMs are an efficient and effective means of capitalizing on emerging technologies without requiring learning from the bottom-up.
No matter how it is accomplished, applying the art of abstraction within the development environment enables developers to insulate themselves from the turbulence and volatility of the shifting software landscape.
Refined Vision: Seeing the Forest for the Trees
Like that old adage "you can't see the forest for the trees," when faced with a veritable torrent of new technologies, it can be extraordinarily difficult for software developers to clearly see the whole picture as it relates to their situation - which new innovations may have a material impact on existing or future projects, and which technologies are on the verge of obsolescence and the annals of computer history. Having this clearer view is essential to both individual developers and development teams as a whole, if they want to succeed. Achieving a more focused view requires a bit of filtering; however, it also makes it possible to see the forest despite the trees.
Refined vision doesn't necessarily mean putting on blinders or selecting just one or two technologies to follow. Despite the grandstanding of various technology pundits, there is no single absolute set of technologies that every software developer must learn in order to be successful. It is true, however, that there are definitely right and wrong tools and technologies that should be learned for specific scenarios; determining which technologies are the best fit is the first step in the refinement process.
Performing a thorough evaluation of the unique needs of a particular development environment enables individual software developers and development teams to identify current and near-future project needs. Armed with a better understanding of project needs in turn facilitates the filtering process - the location and pursuit of those relevant technologies that deliver the greatest added value, while ignoring the "new toy" buzz surrounding technologies that will have little or no bearing. Getting your feet wet and learning more about a new technology than just its name means spending a few evenings becoming familiar with it through in-depth research, hands-on interaction with demos, and engagement with experts in the space. By refining their vision, software developers can identify which new technologies should be added to their short-list, thereby keeping their skill set up-to-date and fresh.
The Future of Software Development
There is no end in sight to the deluge of new technologies being delivered to market, making it fundamentally impossible to accurately predict the future of software development. What can be predicted, however, is the continued mounting pressure on developers to readily accept and quickly adapt to accelerated technology evolution cycles. If there is any one concept or idea that software developers must absolutely comprehend, it is this: it really is okay not to know it all. In truth, software developers should be less concerned about knowing the ins and outs of every new niche technology and more with figuring out what is best for their own development practices and environment in order to remain nimble enough to adapt to quickly evolving conditions. With genuine understanding of this concept, developers will find that it is truly possible to keep their skills current while keeping their sanity intact.
Dec. 19, 2014 05:00 AM EST Reads: 1,908
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
Dec. 19, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,910
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:45 PM EST Reads: 903
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 11:30 AM EST Reads: 941
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
Dec. 18, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,127
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Dec. 18, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 2,257
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Dec. 18, 2014 10:15 AM EST Reads: 2,081
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,787
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,231
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
Dec. 18, 2014 06:00 AM EST Reads: 754
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:15 PM EST Reads: 1,283
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 11:00 PM EST Reads: 1,351
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,322
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Dec. 17, 2014 06:30 PM EST Reads: 1,231
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:45 AM EST Reads: 1,453
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Dec. 16, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,291
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Dec. 15, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,658
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Dec. 15, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 6,869
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,951
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,626