Programming – what it is and where it’s going
Programming as a concept is still as it has always been – the process of writing computer programs; taking algorithms and encoding them into a programming language so it can be understood and executed by a computer. However with the rise of Cloud computing, improved internet connectivity, the smart phone revolution and our shifting habits of wanting more things more quickly the world of programming has evolved rapidly over the past 10 years or so. With all the options available now businesses have even more to consider when planning their next software project and developers have even more solutions to offer.
Software development covers a multitude of digitally based systems and software ranging from phone & desktop apps through to web portals, integration and database based systems. Despite this variety all projects start from a defined business need or a problem that needs fixing. This includes improvement projects such as wanting to automate processes, improving communication, efficiency or improving customer experience.
Typical programming options today
Database Development – The most efficient way to develop databases involve building the database and it related tables in something like SQL Server and then using a language to sort through the data and pull it through to a form based on a query.
Web services/ API development – This is where devices communicate with each other via the web. XML and JSON are commonly used so the devices can read the data. Web API’s (application Programming Interface) is a development in web services to move to a simpler way of communicating this data – it does not require XML based protocols to support its interface.
Middleware – This is essentially a function that helps you integrate systems together, building a bridge between two or more systems and enabling them to talk to each other. Middleware helps you increase efficiency.
Desktop apps – This is a program installed on a PC, often businesses require programs to be customised to fit their processes which is largely where development comes in. Typically these customisations are written in C, C++, C# and Java.
Mobile apps – This is a program designed to sit on a phone or tablet. These often require a different skill set when compared to desktop apps due to the wide range of operating systems. Java, Objective C and C# are popularly used here. However there is in an increasing requirement for cross platform tools which is making HTML5 popular.
The future of programming
Software as a Service better know as (SaaS) has caused a huge shift in expectations, this shift is only going to continue as the SaaS revolution gathers pace and more people & businesses become aware of its potential. SaaS enables rapid scalability and has mobilised systems meaning they can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection. For developers this often brings the pressure of developing programs in multiple languages.
We are also starting to see the rise of very clever, visual interfaces and apps that generate code themselves meaning some people may not need the services of developers – this is still also in its infancy and using this approach there is only so much you can do, however in the future this is only going to become more functional and will span a wider area than it does now. This will help to enable self-service application development to help businesses manage processes.
The next 2 big concepts on the horizon to change software development are predicted to be the concepts of “The Internet of Things” and “Big Data” – you’ve probably heard of these terms already and it’s likely that future developments will need to factor these solutions into them to meet the needs of their business and their customers’ expectations.
We also have to consider AI, again this is only getting better, I’m not going to predict a terminator style dystopian future where machines rule over us but machine learning is likely to improve our processes, analysing them for waste and suggesting or even making improvements themselves autonomously.
Whatever the future holds for the software & systems development it will still be key for businesses to engage with a dependable developer/ development company to make the changes and build the systems that businesses need in this ever evolving environment.
N.B Red Robot are going to launch a Jargon Article series where we are going to discuss concepts mentioned here including SaaS, The Internet of Things and Big Data. So if you are unfamiliar with these terms be on the lookout for our upcoming guides. Until then you’ll just have to pretend!