What Are You Worried About?
At the beginning of July the editors at SDTimes wrote a fairly snarky opinion piece entitled, "Cloud? Mobile? We get it." In it they questioned the hype-ridden focus on these two spaces and flatly stated that "cloud computing is only peripherally a developer issue" and that "mobile is more about a changing platform target ... than a new programming paradigm."
The issues that the editors pointed to as more germane to the development community were things like Oracle's plans for Java, IP, and increasing productivity of development teams. Unfortunately, they lamented, these just aren't that sexy.
While I agree that there is a good deal of hype around cloud (with the emergent practice of "cloud washing" being just one example thereof), I disagree that cloud computing is only peripherally a developer issue. On the one hand, there is a significant segment of the cloud market itself focused on development. I'm thinking both of IBM's Smart Business Development & Test cloud as well as the platform plays of Google, Salesforce, and others.
It seems to me that infrastructure aimed at facilitating cost reduction and promoting efficiency during the development process, not to mention the emergence of successful, in-demand development platforms, can be called a lot of things but "peripheral" isn't exactly one of them.
On the other hand, both ISVs and companies with mature software portfolios seem very intent on introducing new SaaS solutions aimed at competing with existing, license-laden software options while simultaneously trying to figure out how to deliver SaaS versions of existing products. I guess one could argue that the SaaS model is more of a business issue than a development issue, but if developers divorce themselves from business concerns, does that bode well for the future of development?
In other words, the software business will dictate what and how software will be developed going forward. If the business is headed cloudwards, then it would be safe to say that, while it may seem "peripheral" at the moment, it won't stay that way for long.
As far as mobile goes, while it might not represent a brand new paradigm, it certainly brings up numerous business model challenges both in terms of emerging app marketplaces and in terms of its impact on ecommerce and web development more broadly. Again, the changes taking place in this space, while "hype-y" in some aspects, really can't be ignored by the development community.
I mean, if more and more software is going to be running on mobile devices, particularly in an app-centric or even componentized framework, shouldn't the people designing and building this software be taking that into consideration?
That all being said, I agree with the editors that there are other big issues that effectively fall below the radar of companies like Apple and Microsoft as they try to figure out ways to move product. The issue of productivity in software development and how to increase it, for instance, may not be of much importance to the big dogs but is of central importance to us at Ness and, in fact, will be the topic of an ongoing blog series written by our own Neil Fox (you can see the first installment here).
So, what are you worried about? If it's not cloud or mobile, then what is it?
Image Source: spaceodissey.
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