CIOs look to outsource Enterprise Mobile Development

Mobile app development remains one of the hottest areas within the technology world. Users increasingly prefer using their smartphones and tablets for a wide variety of purposes, both personal and business related. Organizations building apps with an eye towards reaching this audience are increasingly looking to outsource this work instead of engaging their internal development teams.

Why don’t CIOs trust their own programming staff when it comes to mobile apps? Is a skills gap leading to a desire to outsource their solution needs? On the other hand, if your company specializes in this area of software development, business opportunities abound, provided your team delivers a quality app.

Study reveals the Distrust Executives hold for Internal Mobile Development

A recent study by mobile development platform provider, Kony, reported on in Application Development Trends Magazine, took a look at CIO attitudes towards mobile app development. In addition to a skills gap with mobile programming technology, executives also worry about limited development budgets and cybersecurity. The Kony survey reached out to over one-thousand CIOs and business executives.

According to the survey, the demand for new mobile apps as well as new features in existing apps remains large. 97 percent of the survey respondents reported either individual employees or divisions within their organizations requested new applications or enhancements. Improving collaboration and productivity were the two biggest reasons behind these requests.

As noted earlier, the lack of internal mobile development talent and/or budgetary concerns are the primary reasons CIOs look towards third-party providers for their mobile application needs. 65 percent of the surveyed executives whose companies currently build mobile apps in-house are dissatisfied with the overall results. They report poor user experiences as well as difficulty in managing the software development process.

A Business Opportunity for Third-Party Mobile App Vendors

This dissatisfaction has created an opportunity for companies specializing in mobile application development. 81 percent of the survey respondents noted a preference for engaging third-party vendors for their mobile programming needs. Of the 73 percent that have worked with external mobile app vendors, 96 percent of those reported problems with the development process, including cost issues and the difficulty in app customization.

92 percent of the CIOs who went the external vendor route feel their published apps aren’t meeting expectations. Some of the issues include poor performance, substandard customer service, and lower employee productivity. 82 percent of those respondents actually ended up abandoning an app after its release, with lack of adoption being a leading reason why, in addition to performance issues.

While business opportunities for mobile app vendors are on the upswing, the survey results are still cause for concern. Mobile software shops need to work on properly setting customer expectations, in addition to focusing their development efforts on building compelling user experiences with top notch app performance. Still, companies of all sizes will continue to outsource their development needs so they are able to focus more on internal business operations.

In the end, “current IT departments simply lack the skills necessary to manage new and emerging technologies, all with limited budgets and resources,” the survey concluded.

Keep coming back to the Betica Blog for additional dispatches from the wide world of software development. As always, thanks for reading.

GitHub Analysis reveals the Changing Face of Programming Language Usage

One obvious constant in the technology industry is its rapid pace of change, and the practice of programming offers no exception to this rule. What was once a popular language at the turn of the century might hardly get used for applications today. On the other hard, new programming languages seem to appear on a monthly basis.

Data from the source code repository, GitHub, offers a window on this changing face of software development. Let’s look more closely at their analysis to check the latest trends in programming language usage. Perhaps these insights might be of use in your own team’s development efforts?

393 Different Programming Languages at GitHub – in One Year!

GitHub boasts 4.5 million users who maintain around 10 TB of source code at the repository. Incredibly, those development projects are written in 393 different programming languages. Even more impressive is that data only represents one year of GitHub usage statistics!

Those numbers have only increased since the original July publication of an article by Waren Long at the source{d} blog used as a reference for this post. Another interesting point is their analysis doesn’t even include JavaScript, one of the most widely used languages, because of GitHub users’ propensity to refer to popular libraries, like Node.js or React.js, as a project’s language instead of JavaScript.

Long’s methodology for determining programming language is quite detailed, so refer to the link in the previous paragraph for additional insights, if interested. 

The Current Most Popular Programming Languages on GitHub

There are few surprises listed among the most popular languages currently in use at GitHub. Python and Java rank at the top of the list, with a popularity percentage of 16 and 15.3 respectively. That doesn’t necessarily mean both languages have more lines of source code stored in the repository. That honor lies with PHP, even though it only ranks at #5 on the popularity scale.

Other languages in the top 10 include the venerable, like C, C++, and C#, along with relative upstarts like Ruby, Objective-C, and Go. Apple’s newer programming language for iOS applications, Swift, rounds out the top 10. A related analysis adding in Google search queries to the GitHub data notes that Go is currently the “hottest” programming language.

Moving from One Language to Another

The original source{d} blog article also looked what languages programmers are transitioning into over time. This is useful information for both individual developers as well as software development shops. For example, many Visual Basic developers eventually transition into C#, which isn’t surprising for programmers working primarily on the Microsoft technology stack.

PHP developers, on the other hand, tend to move into Java, Python, or even C#. Python’s current popularity is confirmed by the fact that 24 percent of programmers working in the five other most popular languages — Java, C, C++, PHP, and Ruby – eventually work with Python. The “walled garden” nature of Apple platforms is revealed by the high percentage of programmers switching between Swift and Objective-C for project work.

Ultimately, anyone working as a programmer or a manager of software development needs to dive into the source{d} analysis of GitHub’s data. It’s truly fascinating.

Keep coming back to the Betica Blog for additional insights from the software development world. Thanks for reading!    

Finding the Heart of Agile

Even with its wide popularity across the software development world, there are more than a few programmers who simply don’t like Agile. The reasons for this antipathy range from a resistance to change, to simply being averse to the meetings and procedures typical of many Agile frameworks.

Bringing these prodigal sons – and daughters – back to fold is an important part of building a successful application engineering team. Some tech thought leaders feel returning to the simplicity of Agile in its earlier days will help. Let’s take a closer look at some of their concepts to see if they may help your staff.

The Modern Movement to return Agile to its Roots

There are two main movements hoping to lessen the animosity towards Agile by instead focusing on what caused its growth in the first place. Modern Agile is something we’ve talked about previously on the blog. Guided by four simple principles, this flavor of Agile is continuing to attract proponents hoping a simplified methodology leads to happy developers and a subsequent boost in productivity.

The other newer movement within the Agile community is called the Heart of Agile. It was first developed by Alistair Cockburn, one of the original authors of the Agile Manifesto. Like Modern Agile, the Heart of Agile also focuses on four simple principles Cockburn feels are essential to the original methodology.

The Four Keys to the Heart of Agile

In 2014, Cockburn began to feel Agile had become too dependent on procedures and policies; “overly decorated” was the term he used.  With Agile getting away from the simplicity he felt was vital to its initial success; it seemed like a good time to restate the core concepts of the methodology. Of course, Cockburn stays away from calling the Heart of Agile a framework, methodology, or process; instead he refers the curious to its four core actions: collaborate, deliver, reflect, and improve.

“Collaborate” is the first action and one many software engineering professionals feel is one of the most important aspects of Agile and related frameworks, like DevOps. “Deliver” is self-explanatory, and remains a focus at any software shop, including those striving to achieve continuous delivery.

“Reflect” is an important concept helping individual developers and software engineering teams understand their own previous project work and where they can become better. “Improve” is the fourth action to Cockburn’s new manifesto and serves as the natural result of any reflection.

Cockburn emphasizes that these four actions are practiced by anyone in the software development industry on a daily basis. “Each one unpacks into unendingly complicated skills, actions, tools, and all. Each is rich with nuance. And still, we can fold back up all the nuance and complications, and remind ourselves: ‘Collaborate. Deliver. Reflect. Improve.’” says Cockburn.

Ultimately, his most important point is to never lose sight of these four simple concepts no matter the relative complexity of an organization’s Agile framework or the increasing number of tools required to manage a mature DevOps organizational structure. They are words worthy of periodic reflection. Keep returning to them on a weekly or daily basis.

Thanks for reading this edition of the Betica Blog. Keep returning for additional insights and philosophies from the world of software development.