5 big enterprise web application development trends for 2017

EducationSummary: As web application development evolves, old development methods will not address the needs of the modern business. In the near future, those who keep up with changing development trends will have an advantage over those who don’t. So, where is enterprise application development headed in the coming year? Learn more in this article.

photo credit: sntgmdm via photopin cc

photo credit: sntgmdm via photopin cc

It’s an exciting time in the world of enterprise application development. How so? Let me share a few of the biggest reasons. These days, enterprise web application development is:

Rapidly evolving: Web application development is going through major changes. Tactics are evolving. Tools and libraries crop up on a regular basis. New standards have emerged that will dramatically improve web application capabilities.

Becoming more powerful: With these changes come new capabilities. Tasks that were never possible with web apps just a few short years ago are now commonplace. Web application capabilities have grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years.

Playing a greater role in the business world: As the business world becomes increasingly web-based, your business applications play a growing role in your success. The research firm, Forrester, sums it up nicely with this quote: “The software you deploy, and especially the custom software you create, will increasingly be part of your competitive edge.”

As application development plays an increased role in business, companies that keep up with modern development trends will have an advantage. Companies that don’t will fall behind.

So, how is enterprise application development changing? What big trends can we expect in the coming year? While this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, here are some of the most important trends to watch in 2017:

1. Businesses get back to the security basics

photo credit: JavadR via pixabay cc

photo credit: JavadR via pixabay cc

Despite the fact that it’s been a major trend over the last few years, you just cannot leave security off of this list. After all, cyber attacks are on the rise. Security breaches occur on a seemingly daily basis.

But, here’s the real problem: Most applications still contain common vulnerabilities. Despite the growing need for security, most applications still suffer from widely known (yet preventable) security vulnerabilities.

The problem is, companies aren’t taking security as seriously as they should. Take the Yahoo data breaches for example. Former employees say that security often took a backseat to other projects. I don’t think they’re alone. As a former Yahoo employee mentioned in the article, “When business is good, it’s easy to do things like security. When business is bad, you expect to see security get cut.”

As security breaches increase, I believe that business leaders will finally give security the attention it deserves. We’ll see an increased focus on the security basics in 2017, as businesses finally recognize it’s not an issue that can be ignored.

“We’ve seen far too many cases of security breaches in the last few years,” says William C. Fisher, President at Quicksilver Software, Inc. “What’s truly unfortunate about most of them is that they could have been prevented or mitigated through careful, common-sense architectural practices and smart data segregation techniques. For example, some of the most egregious breaches took place because sensitive files were stored on servers to which anyone with appropriate credentials could gain access — and those credentials were easy to co-opt via various forms of attack. A simple Linux “secure copy” command, or the Windows equivalent, is all it takes. Next thing you know, your files are somewhere overseas in a place you’ll never find them.”

2. Http/2 drives an increased focus on application speed

photo credit: geralt via pixabay cc

photo credit: geralt via pixabay cc

Over the last few years, we’ve seen the need for application speed increase–driven by two major factors.

First, web users have become increasingly less patient. According to these statistics, humans now have shorter attention spans than your average goldfish. In fact, over the last 13 years, attention spans have dropped by 4 seconds. The fact is, users won’t wait around for your slow application.

Second, page speed is good for business. Google spearheaded this trend when they announced that they used page loading speed as a ranking factor. Slow pages get penalized in search results.

What’s being done to address this? Back in 2015, the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) was finally revamped to work with the modern web–with the release of HTTP/2. In 2017, we’ll see growing adoption of this new standard, which is built to deliver significantly faster applications.

“In 2017 web application developers will benefit significantly by leveraging the http/2 as it starts going mainstream,” says Janyer Dominguez, vice president digital media at iPartnerMedia, Inc. “Http/2 is a major update of the http protocol which has been in use since the birth of the internet more than 25 years ago. The main focus of http/2 is performance, as it will allow for multiple stacks of requests at the same time as opposed to having to wait for round trips on each request as http/1.1 does currently. This upgrade in the protocol will allow the internet to work much faster without users having to upgrade hardware, infrastructure or connectivity which will enhance the overall user experience. We wouldn’t be surprised if Google adds http/2 as a new signal to their search algorithm.”

3. Self-service development becomes commonplace

photo credit: geralt via pixabay cc

photo credit: geralt via pixabay cc

Citizen development. Low-code development. Self-service development. While this trend goes by many names, there’s no denying its growth. More and more, development tasks are shifting away from the IT department and into the business units.

What’s driving this growth? We typically see this driven by a couple of factors.

First, there’s the growth of easily accessible, third-party solutions. If the business users don’t get the solutions they need quickly, they’ll license these solutions themselves–bypassing IT altogether.

This practice–known as “Shadow IT”–is growing faster than business leaders realize. In fact, a recent survey found that Shadow IT usage was 15-20 times higher than CIOs estimated.

Second, there’s the need for speed. We live in an “instant” world. The modern business runs on the web. Users demand solutions quickly. They won’t wait months for new solutions, as they did in the past.

The problem is, IT departments can’t meet this development demand fast enough. The increased demand for both web and mobile apps has grown faster than IT’s ability to deliver.

How bad is it? Gartner shared this surprising statistic at their recent Application Strategies & Solutions Summit: “Through 2021 market demand for app development will grow at least 5x faster that IT capacity to deliver it.” The fact is, business demands on the IT department are increasing…but IT departments are still hampered by old systems, processes, and a lack of resources.

“Today’s companies are burdened by siloed, difficult-to-use business systems that complicate processes and hamper operations,” says Nick Candito, CEO of Progressly. “According to IDC, companies lose 20 to 30 percent in revenue every year due to inefficiencies. 2017 will see organizations using adaptable, easy-to-build processes managed by the business users themselves, eliminating the reliance on IT.”

As businesses try to reduce their reliance on IT, we’re seeing an increased push towards self-service. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen businesses turn to user-driven development platforms as a way to counteract these trends. These platforms let users create their own applications, while giving IT control over data and user access.

In the coming year, I believe we’ll see this trend pick up steam. As development platforms improve, and users expect instant solutions, self-service development will become commonplace in the business world.

4. Progressive web apps gain ground

photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay cc

photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay cc

Originally proposed by Google in 2015, progressive web apps have become quite popular in a short amount of time. What are progressive web apps?

As defined by Google, “Progressive Web Applications take advantage of new technologies to bring the best of mobile sites and native applications to users. They’re reliable, fast, and engaging.”

In short, it’s a push to bring native power to the web.

As explained in this article, “A progressive web application takes advantage of the latest technologies to combine the best of web and mobile apps. Think of it as a website built using web technologies but that acts and feels like an app.”

The big question: Why is this trend important? Aren’t native apps working just fine? Does this mean the progressive web apps will replace native apps?

Not necessarily.

Sure, native apps still provide the best overall user experience. However, as shown in this chart, they’re also the most expensive and time-consuming option. That’s where progressive web apps come into play. They offer a result that’s similar to native apps, with simpler deployment and maintenance. We can expect this trend to expand in the coming year.

5. The demand for new application types creates a skills shortage

photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay cc

photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay cc

Do you remember how the rise of mobile changed application development forever? All of a sudden, we went from building applications for one screen to building apps for many devices, screen sizes, and operating systems. It popularized the rise of adaptive and responsive design, and forever changed app development strategies.

Guess what? It’s happening again, just on a much larger scale. We’re facing an ever-growing number of devices. From wearables to connected things, these devices have different functions, different screen sizes, and generate different types of data. We’re seeing new devices crop up on a seemingly daily basis.

As new devices emerge, we’ll see the need for modern development skills arise. These new technologies will drive the need for different skills. However, as explained below, we’ll also see increased demand for existing skills that apply to many areas.

“With more companies exploring and building products to support the possibilities unlocked by the latest technologies (i.e. virtual/augmented reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, etc.), there will be a corresponding demand for software developers that can develop code to support them,” says Shawn Drost, Co-Founder, Hack Reactor. “There is a great opportunity for experienced Javascript developers to immerse themselves in these technologies to meet the demand.”


These are just 5 enterprise application development trends, but the list could certainly be longer. If you would like to add anything to this list, I’d love to hear it. Feel free to share in the comments.

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