News from the World of Software Development – September 2017

With autumn now upon us, it becomes time to train our eyes towards the latest software industry news to see if any interesting stories provide meaningful insights on how your team builds applications. If you want to check out last month’s stories, simply click on the following link. Stories on the use of AI to improve continuous delivery, and a new DevOps metrics tool await you.

CCleaner Malware Attack places renewed Onus on “Cybersecure” Development

One of the last month’s biggest stories in the technology world involved the malware attack on CCleaner, a cybersecurity application from Avast, one of the most well known anti-virus companies in the industry. Hackers were able to infect the development team at Avast, interjecting malware into versions of the deployed application – both CCleaner and CCleaner Cloud.

Ultimately, the over two-million users who installed the application on their own systems effectively provided cyber criminals with a gateway into their computer. End-users feeling they are taking the right steps to protect their desktops ended up getting burned by a cybersecurity company unknowingly serving as the middleman for hackers. News and analysis of this insidious cyber attack was published on eWEEK, as well as many other sources.    

Avast acquired the original developer for CCleaner – Piriform – in July. The attack took place some time in August, with all versions of the application installed from August 15 to September 12 affected by the malware. Since the CCleaner install had a legitimate digital signature from a respected antivirus company, effectively all users installed the program unaware of the hacked code within.

The places the onus on software engineering teams to secure all computers and digital signatures involved in the development process, a point echoed by Craig Williams, a senior technical lead with Cisco. “The fact of the matter is, when it comes down to supply chain attacks, if the attacker is in your build system already, you’ve lost. Once the attacker has all the certificates and all the keys and all the passwords, there is not a lot you can do,” said Williams.

Artificial Intelligence changing Software Quality Assurance

AI continues to influence many aspects of the software engineering process, so it isn’t surprising quality assurance is also taking advantage of machine learning routines to improve its efficacy. A variety of companies specializing in QA services – Infostretch, Appdiff, and dinCloud – are now including AI-based functionality in some of their testing products. News about the inroads artificial intelligence is making in the QA world was published this month in Tech Target

Infostretch’s new service is called Predictive and Prescriptive QA. It relies on data analysis and machine learning to quickly give software testers the information they need to find defects. The other two companies’ products essentially are testing bots aimed at software development organizations already taking advantage of automated QA as part of their DevOps implementation.

The introduction of AI and robotic testers doesn’t mean QA engineer jobs are at risk. Instead, these tools only help them become more productive and ultimately better at finding software defects.   

Keep returning to the Betica Blog for additional news and insights from the world of software development and QA. As always, thanks for reading!

News from the World of Software Development – August 2017

Welcome to our regular look at interesting stories from the ever dynamic software development world; this time from the month of August. Hopefully, you find a bit of actionable information to help in your daily coding activities or perhaps the strategic direction of your organization. If interested in last month’s news digest, simply click on the following link.

New Product helps Companies keep track of DevOps Metrics

As DevOps continues to become part of the technology mainstream, companies struggle with determining the return on investment on their transition to a new methodology. DevOptics, a new product from CloudBees, aims to provide a means to track the efficacy of an organization’s DevOps processes and procedures. News about DevOptics appeared in August in Enterprise Times as well as other sources.

One of CloudBees’ major features is a real-time view of an organization’s software development pipeline, allowing managers and other key personnel to track the status of code changes as they are pushed from development to QA and eventually production. The hope is to lessen the number of meetings that tend to siphon productivity. Sacha Labourey, the CEO of CloudBees, commented on DevOptics.

“This is about data. We go through a lot of code changes, use a lot of tools, make a lot of modifications but all of the data vanishes. DevOps has been adopted in many, many cases as a feature that we replicate across the organizations. It’s a feature at scale not an enterprise solution. Now we are moving towards building a system of record for IT processes,” said Labourey.

If your organization is interested in how DevOptics can help keep a handle on your DevOps implementation, contact CloudBees to schedule a demo of the product. It just might be the missing piece of the puzzle for managing your software development projects.

Continuous Delivery – powered by AI – is the Future of Software Development

A recent article in The Next Web wonders if continuous delivery, assisted by artificial intelligence algorithms, is the future of software development. Considering how often we cover DevOps and continuous delivery here on the blog it is safe to wonder if that future is actually already here.

The Next Web article cites recent survey data from Evans Data that shows while a majority of companies – 65 percent – are using continuous delivery as part of their software development process, they only leverage it on a subset of their projects. Only 28 percent of surveyed organizations use it for all their applications.

Leveraging AI and machine learning as part of automation will play a key role in making continuous delivery commonplace. This is the opinion of Diego Lo Guidice of Forrester Research. “AI can improve the way we build current software; it will change the way we think about applications — not programming step by step, but letting the system learn to do what it needs to do — a new paradigm shift,” said Lo Guidice.

Expect artificial intelligence to continue to make inroads throughout the software development world, but especially in improving processes currently using automation. Once it does, continuous delivery – and DevOps for that matter – will truly become an industry standard.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional insights from the wide world of software development. As always, thanks for reading!

News from the World of Software Development – January 2017

Welcome to a brand new year and a fresh look at the latest news from the constantly evolving world of software development. If you are interested in checking out the stories from the end of December, simply click on this link. Leverage this month’s insights and information to help make your application engineering process more efficient and productive. Good luck!

The Cloud is making Software Engineering Faster

Software development teams are increasingly using Cloud-based services to produce new applications, make enhancements to current apps, and fix bugs at a faster rate. Collaboration with remote development teams and a new Features-as-a-Service (FaaS) API model for code reuse appear to be two of the most common use-cases for Cloud-enhanced software engineering. This growing trend was reported on this month in TechTarget.

The TechTarget article also covers the wider use of containers, something we also mentioned in our 2017 Trends in Software Development post. Tools like Docker, Vagrant, and others allow software engineering shops to leverage virtualization – either in-house or Cloud-based – to make managing development, production, and QA environments a more efficient process. Companies hoping to achieve a Continuous Delivery model are increasingly using Cloud-based virtualization as part of their methodology.

Cloud-based APIs and services – increasingly marketed with the FaaS moniker mentioned earlier – allow development teams to meet deadlines without having to “recode” the wheel. Code reuse has been in the wise developer’s toolbox for decades, and Cloud-based services simply make it easier. Amazon and Microsoft are continually adding new routines to their own publically-available Cloud-based APIs.

Componentization and microservices are two other ways development teams are using the Cloud to improve their software engineering process. Expect to hear more information on microservices in an upcoming blog post.

Tom Nolle, the writer for TechTarget, sums up this growing trend. “The most important impacts of the cloud on faster software development are being felt only now, and it’s clear that we’re heading for a true software revolution in just a few years,” said Nolle.

AI and Data Science are Important Skills for New Developers

Anyone interested in moving into software engineering, or current developers hoping to keep their skills up to date, need to ramp up their knowledge of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science. That is the opinion of an article published this week in InfoWorld. The IT magazine spoke with Jim McHugh, vice president and general manager for Nvidia’s DGX-1 supercomputer, to get his insights on the growing importance of AI in the industry.

The DGX-1 is largely used in deep learning and data analysis scenarios. McHugh feels the supercomputer and its employment of AI and data provides an example of how the process of writing software is being transformed. “We’re using data to train the software to make it more intelligent,” said McHugh. 

Part of the application infrastructure, like the interface and flow, are still coded using largely traditional methods. The actual meat of the app, however, uses data analysis to influence new feature sets. McHugh mentioned developers manage and curate the data while guiding the app through learning its new enhancements.

The influence of AI in the software development process is definitely an area to watch over the upcoming decade.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional insights and news from the ever-changing software development universe. As always – thanks for reading!