TL;DR: Software is complex — to design, develop, deliver, and maintain. Everybody knows that, right? New app-development approaches and fundamental changes to the way businesses of all types operate are challenging the belief that meeting customers’ software needs requires an army of specialists working in a tightly managed hierarchy. Focusing on repeatable results and reusable APIs helps take the complexity out of the development process.
What’s holding up software development? Seven out of 10 software development teams have workers in different locations, and four out of five are bogged down by having to accommodate legacy systems. Life does not need to be like this. The rapidly expanding capabilities of cloud-based technologies and external services (like our very own Database-As-A-Service) allow developers to focus more time on application development. The end result: better software products.
The results of the 2014 State of the IT Union survey are presented in a September 9, 2014, article in Dr. Dobb’s Journal. Among the findings are that 58 percent of development teams are comprised of 10 or fewer people, while 36 percent work in groups of 11 to 50 developers. In addition, 70 percent of the teams have members working in different geographic locations, but that drops to 61 percent for agile development teams.
A primary contributor to the complexity of software development projects is the need to accommodate legacy software and data sources: 83 percent of the survey respondents reported having to deal with “technical debt,” (obsolete hardware and software) which increases risk and development time. Software’s inherent complexity is exacerbated by the realities of the modern organization: teams working continents apart, dealing with a tangled web of regulations and requirements, while adapting to new technologies that are turning development on its head.
The survey indicates that agile development projects are more likely to succeed because they focus on repeatable results rather than processes. It also highlights the importance of flexibility in managing software projects, each of which is as unique as the product it delivers.
Successful agile development requires discipline
Organizations are realizing the benefits of agile development, but often in piecemeal fashion as they are forced to accommodate legacy systems. There’s more to agile development than new tools and processes, however. As Ben Linders points out in an October 16, 2014, article on InfoQ, the key to success for agile teams is discipline.
The misconception is that agile development operates without a single methodology. In fact, it is even more important to adhere to the framework the team has selected — whether SCRUM, Kanban, Extreme Programming (XP), Lean, Agile Modeling, or another — than it is when using traditional waterfall development techniques.
Focusing on APIs helps future-proof your apps
Imagine building the connections to your software before you build the software itself. That’s the API-first approach some companies are taking in developing their products. Tech Target’s Crystal Bedell describes the API-first approach to software development in an October 2014 article.
Bedell quotes Jeff Kaplan, a market analyst for ThinkStrategies, who sees APIs as the foundation for interoperability. In fact, your app’s ability to integrate with the universe of platforms and environments is the source of much of its value.
Another benefit of an API-centric development strategy is the separation of all the functional components of the app, according to Progress Software’s Matt Robinson. As new standards arise, you can reuse the components and adapt them to specific external services.
The Morpheus database-as-a-service also future-proofs your apps by being the first service to support SQL, NoSQL, and in-memory databases. You can provision, host, and deploy MySQL, MongoDB, Redis, and ElasticSearch using a simple, single-click interface. Visit the Morpheus site now to create a free account.