In the software world change is the only constant and technology is the wind in its sails. New technologies and devices are becoming obsolete at an accelerating pace. For a software engineer, it is a challenging world to continually fine tune expertise and develop skills to build a go-to market product.
But the more the software world changes, the more it harkens back to its basics. Throughout history experts have tried to tame the unruly process of writing software. Developers have moved from the early Waterfall models, through Iterative Development and Extreme Programming to reach the current DevOps processes to ensure products with high level of customer centricity. New technological advances like Component Architecture, Modular Design and the most recent API based development or Micro-Services all contribute to the same goal – small individual software parts interconnected to make a functional whole.
Once we filter out all the jargons and hyperbole, the focus of software development still remains the same – Building tools to perform assigned tasks with an easy and defined process.
So, what has changed in software development? Technological blitzkrieg with newer programming languages, great libraries, web support, cloud and database processing has completely changed the development process. Today all it requires are a few good men or women to successfully build systems of greater complexity and sophistication.
Agile is the way to go
In the earlier days software engineers imported operational paradigms from the shop floor. The Waterflow method (thankfully defunct) focussed on a single linear sequence of design, development and a monolithic release. But software projects are constantly evolving and need tweaking to meet the customer needs. So, agile processes ensure that software development happen in continual iterative process which ensures componentization with quicker and smaller releases. This engenders higher level of automation and better collaboration with client ensuring a relevant go-to market product.
Movement towards DevOps
Agile Development has blazed a trail to significantly impact the software development lifecycle. The external customer demands are determining the internal timelines and vendors can instantly make changes to the cloud delivered software. The development cycles have become extremely flexible and are broken into smaller timelines to incorporate customer requirements. Silos are shattered and development and operations are integrated as never before.
Micro-services and Docker for seamless operations
Everybody in software industry is talking about micro-services and containers, particularly Docker. This disruptive methodology is an evolution from monolithic architecture where a single application is fragmented into a smaller suite of services that can be independently deployed. Each service is developed and deployed separately, delivering immense scalability and fault isolation capabilities.
With micro-services gaining popularity, containerization has gained further traction. Docker aims to automate the deployment of applications inside portable containers independent of hardware, language and OS constraints. It further delivers high level of application portability and resource optimization with every container running as an isolated process on the host OS. With lightweight containers, more can be run on physical servers leading to higher levels of resource utilization.
Docker environment with its high-performance metrics, scalability and agility will emerge as a major disruptor in the era of cloud and virtualization. Blue Chips like IBM, Redhat, google and Microsoft are becoming more positive about their Docker partnerships, this is the space to watch in the future.
With the operational environment becoming more integrated with the customer, developers should adopt to the new tools, processes and innovation focus. Focus should be to build it small, simple and visible to deliver a sophisticated and resilient end product.