Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Best Technologies and Trends for Enterprise Application Development

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The importance of web and app development cannot be understated in today’s marketplace, especially for enterprises who rely on applications to keep everything running smoothly. If there’s a need — whatever it is — an app can be created to satisfy that need. As such, enterprise apps need to be able to do a lot of things that vary from industry to industry and from business to business. For example, a retail company will benefit from an inventory management app, while a law firm will do better with an app that compares marketing regulations across different sectors.

Enterprise Application Development Trends

Enterprise applications do a lot of things, but more importantly, they increase productivity and empower workers to do more. Their adoption is also increasing dramatically as it becomes easier and cheaper for businesses to develop them. This adoption, in turn, is reshaping how these organizations function and respond to demands, whether internal or external. But, as with all technologies, enterprise applications change over time with evolving trends. Failing to take notice and act on these trends will only prove detrimental in the long run, which is why it’s extremely important to stay on top of any and all developments. For example, these three enterprise application development trends that are currently making the rounds.

1: Increased Popularity of Progressive Web Applications

Progressive web apps (PWAs), originally proposed by Google, are applications that combine the best of both worlds — mobile and web. In essence, they’re applications that take advantage of the best features modern browsers support. They have an app shell with cached content that loads instantly, and then use service workers to fetch dynamic content for a well-rounded experience that’s cheaper to create than native app development.

Another way of thinking about PWAs is as web applications or websites that have a native mobile app feel. They not only work offline and have extremely fast load times, but are also responsive and work for all users, making them ideal for our mobile-centric world. This mobile distinction is important because it’s one of the driving factors behind their popularity growth. We live in a world that prioritizes speed and inclusivity, and PWAs offers both of these things while native or web apps tend to fall short in or the other.

2: More Focus on Security

Security is getting an overhaul because breaches have dominated the news recently and it’s making everyone uneasy. Enterprises are worried about their systems getting hacked and end-users are worried about their sensitive information being leaked. There are many contributing factors that go into each and every breach, but a recurring theme is that apps are commonly built with vulnerabilities that make them a prime candidate for hackers. Backtracking, what’s causing these vulnerabilities?

As Julien Bellanger, CEO of Prevoty, says, it may be because developers aren’t security experts.  “Application developers are rarely (never?) hired because of their security expertise,” he says, “[t]hey are hired to deliver new applications and new functionality. In order to attempt to stay ahead of hackers, security professionals need to spend a lot of their working lives monitoring the “state of the art” in terms of publicly available knowledge around vulnerabilities. It takes a thief to catch a thief. Developers were not hired to do this, they don’t have the time to do this and their skill sets are not best placed to implement mitigations against complex attacks.”

Another issue has to do with management. In many cases, management doesn’t consider security a big issue until something actually happens. It’s a sort of trade-off — more security means slower apps, and many don’t think that their own technologies are vulnerable. This is made worse by the fact that many applications are a one-time endeavor that doesn’t get much-needed updates and security patches until, again, something happens to spur action.

3: Rapid Mobile App Development and Citizen Development

Rapid mobile app development (RMAD) uses code-free programming tools that speed up and simplify the development process, and citizen development uses easy to build processes that can be operated by users. In essence, both allow users to quickly build and manage internal apps, and function to lessen IT dependency. As this article states, “IT has at least one major opportunity left to lead the digitization of the remainder of our organizations. Trends like low code and the resulting citizen developer that it can enable are going to be one of the key catalysts for next-generation IT that unleash a new wave of local, more decentralized solutions at scale within our organizations.”

Enterprise Application Development Programming Languages

As we’ve covered, enterprise application technologies are extremely important today, and their uses are vast. Similarly, the programming languages used to create them are also quite extensive, and they vary based on personal preference, the organization’s established code base, and so on. For example, let’s take a look at some of the most popular backend languages for enterprise app development:

1. Java: Java is popular among cloud providers and is universally supported by cloud APIs. It’s also simple, intuitive, object-oriented, robust and secure.
2. SQL: SQL is a staple of backend development because it’s used to extract and update records from databases, and most backend services include a data store.
3. PHP: PHP is very useful for dynamically generating content on Web servers. It can also be embedded directly in an HTML page.
4. JavaScript: One of JavaScript’s biggest benefits is that JavaScript for Web apps is code compatibility across client and server modules, meaning that it can run both client-side and server-side.
5. C/C++: C is efficient and flexible, and C++ is a more modern version that adds object orientation, operator and function overloading and templates.
6. C#: The latest to come from the C family, C# is like Java in that it can compile to an intermediate form that uses the .NET runtime interpreter and sandbox, and eliminates mistake-prone tasks like memory management.
7. Python: Python is an interpreted language that’s object-oriented and its syntax is extremely clear and understandable, leading to its popularity in introductory computer science courses.
8. Ruby: Ruby is an object-oriented language that shares many syntactical elements with Python. It’s commonly used as a Web backend and usually paired with the Rails framework.

Final Thoughts and TL;DR

Here’s the tl;dr version of everything we covered today in case you’re too busy for the full read:
The importance of web and app development cannot be understated in today’s marketplace
If there’s a need, an app can be created to satisfy that need
Enterprise apps need to be able to do a lot of things that vary from industry to industry and from business to business
Enterprise applications do a lot of things, but more importantly, they increase productivity and empower workers to do more
But, as with all technologies, enterprise applications change over time with evolving trends such as these:
a. Increased Popularity of Progressive Web Applications
b. More Focus on Security
c. Rapid Mobile App Development and Citizen Development
As for the most popular programming languages for enterprise apps, the top 8 are: Java, SQL, PHP, JavaScript, C#, C/C++, Python, and Ruby

Best of luck!

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