The ongoing global pandemic has irreversibly changed the rules of the software development game. Businesses were often forced to pivot to new digital business models, putting pressure on development teams to deliver innovative digital products and services as quickly as possible.
The tendencies we are observing are focused predominantly on building infrastructures that are both scalable, secure, and, unsurprisingly, resilient to sudden changes. At the same time, CTOs look for even more innovative ways to boost performance and generate savings in the era of growing uncertainties.
In this article, we summarize seven software development trends businesses should monitor in 2022. Read on to understand what to be prepared for in both the short-term and long-term future, and make informed strategic decisions in the upcoming months.
Proliferation of cloud-native technologies
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has wiped away any uncertainties about shifting to the cloud. Office-based infrastructures gave way to remote or hybrid work environments, and so traditional data centers had to follow suit. We should expect the cloud to grow rapidly over the next few years.
According to Forrester, half of the North American enterprises will adopt cloud-native technologies in 2022, making it the core of their cloud strategy for the years ahead. What’s more, Gartner forecasts that by 2025, as much as “95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms.” That will be a steep increase from 2021 when less than a third of these workloads were cloud-native.
The coronavirus pandemic also highlighted the importance of the ability to scale. Yet, businesses like Uber and other businesses in the transportation and tourism industries were forced to scale down to remain competitive. On the other hand, e-commerce and online services had to scale operations before their competitors did.
Cloud-native applications guarantee the flexibility necessary in uncertain times. They allow companies to increase or decrease resources with ease and in a timely manner in response to evolving market conditions and customer demands, so it’s a necessary investment in this day and age.
Coexistence of monoliths and microservices
Monolithic architecture has been the standard approach to building large, enterprise-scale solutions for decades. However, with noticeable limitations in modifying or scaling up the legacy systems, microservice-based architectures became the next best thing in enterprise software development.
Since microservices guarantee more flexibility than monoliths, many software developers believed legacy systems should be refactored into microservices.
Businesses are noticing it is possible to have the best of both worlds and use microservices alongside legacy monolith systems.
What is the key to creating such hybrid monolith-microservice architectures? Enterprises should take a pragmatic approach and refactor into microservices only where they will bring significant business benefits, not just for the sake of having them. Security mechanisms, updates or areas that require frequent scaleup may be a good direction to go for most companies.
Basecamp implemented The Citadel, a hybrid monolith-microservice approach. It retains the Majestic Monolith at the center, however, it supports it with The Outposts. The Citadel allows for the system to extend if an application has a chance to become a large-scale app.
Embracing Web 3.0
Web 3.0 is the most widely debated concept in today’s digital world. It’s a new phase of internet evolution, characterized by decentralized control, enabled by technologies like blockchain, cryptocurrencies and NFTs, automated through the use of smart contracts.The promise of Web 3.0 is that people will maintain ownership of their own data and won’t have to rely on 3rd parties like Facebook, Google or Apple to make connections. That doesn’t mean however, that Web 2.0 will cease to exist completely.
The central points of control, currently dominated by tech giants, will exist in parallel with platforms like Ethereum that allow people to interact with each other directly and more securely. They will offer users the ability to make transactions directly with each other and own digital assets.
With Web 3.0, users may enjoy uninterrupted services and better access to information.
Web 3.0 will also rely on AI to leverage information linking, offering more semantic, accurate and adequate search results and even more personalized browsing experiences.
We’re already seeing different use cases of Web 3.0 online. Digital marketplaces like OpenSea where people are selling digital assets in the form of NFTs are gaining attention - this market has grown by a staggering 321% just in the first half of 2021. There is also Gitcoin, which allows users to make money through open-source public projects and claims to define “the future of the open web.” Nevertheless, Web 3.0 is still a niche.
In order to succeed, Web 3.0 needs to lead the way with more mainstream and pragmatic use cases.
The rise of GPT-3 community
GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3) is a Generative AI (GAI) model that uses machine learning to process input data and yield a text of such high-quality it’s hard to imagine that it wasn’t written by a human being. It was created by OpenAI, a research laboratory founded by Elon Musk and a number of other individuals.
The current contribution of GAI to text production is just a tiny 1%, but Gartner expects this figure to rise to 10% by 2025. With the recent public release of GPT-3 by OpenAI, software development companies and other industries will certainly get busier.
GPT-3 has 175 billion parameters and learns almost without human supervision. This artificial intelligence model is predicted to impact industries as diverse as marketing and communication, new drug development, and of course, software development. Current use cases include:
- Code generation
- Accelerating daily writing tasks
- Creating chatbots that enable human-like interactions
These are only a few in a sea of examples that you can browse on GPT-3 DEMO.
However, GPT-3 may as well be misused for disinformation and manipulation, political coercion, fraud or even identity theft. Indeed - it’s the most powerful language generating model ever built.
More personalized experiences with the Internet of Things
Over 30 billion different devices (computers, smartphones, tablets, among others) now accompany our daily lives and industries, collecting incomprehensible amounts of data. This number is expected to rise to a staggering 125 billion by 2030, according to IHS Markit.
The retail industry already uses IoT analytics to offer personalized shopping and improved customer experiences in various ways. With the ongoing pandemic, there is a great emphasis on enabling contactless transactions. They will increasingly be facilitated via personal wearables that are currently used predominantly for self-monitoring and personal health. Retailers are currently experimenting with delivering personalized offers through such devices as well.
We are also observing even more IoT use cases focused on improving asset management and operations (vs. supply chain management, which dominated IoT adoption in the recent years). Here, wearables can also help manage the inventories and operations in factories or warehouses and increase workforce productivity.
IoT solutions have also been developing in the healthcare area, which isn’t surprising given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This is a very broad use case that spans from devices that monitor social distancing to wearable trackers that record key healthcare indicators in patients to help manage health remotely.
The developments in IoT bring us to the next trend - edge computing.
Edge becomes ‘edgier’
Edge computing and IoT go hand in hand together: edge is what enables the ‘smart’ in devices like phones, laptops, industrial robots and sensors. Currently, around 10% of data generated by enterprises is processed by Edge technologies. Gartner predicts that this figure will rise to 75% by 2025.
With the increase in the number of IoT devices, we will inevitably observe more computing power and storage capacity in the edge that will also enable 5G - the next generation mobile communication network requires entire edge servers to reduce latency issues and ensure quality of data.
However, the potential of the edge computing goes beyond IoT itself. Edge computing solutions can take a multitude of forms and secure access service edge (SASE) systems are currently gaining momentum, especially as the number of IoT devices grows and edge workflows get heavier.
SASE platforms include e.g. Cloudflare Workers - a solution can be used to ensure compliance of IoT devices, like, e.g. payment terminals. Zscaler Internet Access improves performance and scalability and Akamai’s EdgeWorkers allow to create specific business functions right at the edge - there are more examples of such security controls in different categories and their number will likely increase.
DevSecOps tighten cybersecurity measures
As businesses are shifting more and more assets to the digital sphere amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they become more vulnerable to cyberattacks than ever before. Not only does the attack surface keep on expanding, but the attacks also become increasingly sophisticated and unpredictable, putting even greater pressure on CISOs and cloud providers alike to ensure the most effective security measures.
According to Gartner, as much as 88% of security leaders now recognize cybersecurity as a business risk (not a technological one) - a figure which rose by 30% over the past five years. This means organizations are rethinking their approach to cybersecurity and look for even more effective security mechanisms.
Secure-by-design organizations understand that security measures must be implemented already at the outset of software development lifecycle, to prevent attacks, rather than counter them.
Modern enterprises increasingly rely on DevSecOps to strengthen the cybersecurity mesh by introducing security processes, tools and methodologies at every stage of the software development lifecycle.
Software development trends to observe in 2022
Without a doubt, digital businesses will be busy in 2022. Software development trends indicate that enterprises and IT teams will observe the proliferation of cloud-native technologies that offer the flexibility required in today’s unpredictable times. Monoliths will coexist alongside the increasingly popular microservices, extending business’ capabilities.
IoT devices will multiply and so will edge computing. That means risks and threats will continue to grow in number and complexity, so cybersecurity teams will have to get even busier and explore the potential of DevSecOps in their organizations.
We also expect that the rise of GPT-3 and a visibly growing interest in Web 3.0 will further change the dynamics in the software development world. Keep on monitoring these developments when planning to create new apps and solutions.