News from the World of Software Development – December 2017

base-1Welcome to the final 2017 edition of our news digest, where we train our eye on a few stories of interest to software developers and QA engineers. If you are interested in checking out last month’s digest, simply click on the following link. Hopefully, this month’s edition offers some inspiration for your own projects in the coming year and beyond.

WebAssembly gets your Browser Close to the Iron

The venerable and versatile JavaScript language continues to drive browser-based user experiences to even higher levels. Software engineers leverage a vast number of JavaScript libraries to add more functionality and otherwise become more productive when building web apps. We previously covered React Native, one of the most popular of these libraries.

Now, a brand new and potentially revolutionary tool is gaining steam in the web application world. Called WebAssembly, it promises to provide a significant performance boost to web apps by adding a compiled byte code binary library written in JavaScript or other languages. News about WebAssembly is percolating within the industry, including this week’s article in DZone.

WebAssembly, or wasm if you prefer, essentially serves a similar role as the JVM or .NET, but within a web browser. It replaces JavaScript’s own browser-based virtual machine with its own, and improved performance is the primary result. Most importantly, every major web browser on the market now supports WebAssembly.

The following statement from the WebAssembly FAQ hints at speed boost provided by this new format:

The kind of binary format being considered for WebAssembly can be natively decoded much faster than JavaScript can be parsed (experiments show more than 20× faster). On mobile, large compiled codes can easily take 20-40 seconds just to parse, so native decoding (especially when combined with other techniques like streaming for better-than-gzip compression) is critical to providing a good cold-load user experience.   

DZone writer, Federico Tomassetti, feels WebAssembly, and its improvement in parsing performance promises to bring formerly native desktop applications – like virtual reality or high-end video games – into the web browser. In some cases, a browser can execute these applications today, but wasm speeds up the parsing process, greatly reducing load times.

If your team is working on large high-end JavaScript applications, or even any other language that compiles to wasm byte code, WebAssembly needs to be on your radar. It just might be the biggest news in web development in the last decade. Perhaps you’ll read more about it in a future article here at the Betica Blog.

Artificial Intelligence becomes a Business Standard in 2017

AI and its related offshoot, machine learning, are now commonplace throughout the business world. This software-based innovation helps companies with a myriad of tasks: everything from data science to automated driving. SD Times published an article this week covering the inroads AI made in 2017.

The software development process also benefits from machine learning routines performing in a QA role. It is able to detect, fix, and even predict the existence of bugs. The biggest players in the tech world – Google, Microsoft, and IBM – are all investing a copious amount of resources in AI research as well as practical applications for the technology.

The fact the two major tech industry analyst groups – Forrester and Gartner – both predict the continued growth of AI in the business world in 2018 means you likely encounter it sooner than later in your own software engineering work. Hopefully, AI makes you a more productive programmer.

Keep returning to the Betica Blog for additional dispatches from the changing world of software development. Thanks for reading!

News from the World of Software Development – October 2017

Welcome to this month’s edition of our news digest here at the Betica Blog. With the year end rapidly approaching, your organization needs to burn the midnight oil to achieve its annual goals. Hopefully these interesting stories from the software engineering world inspire your own efforts.

If you interested in checking out last month’s digest, simply click on the following link.

Innovative Continuous Delivery relies on Automation and AI

As many software organizations now leverage Agile and DevOps with an eye towards achieving the Holy Grail of continuous delivery, automation is playing a larger role. One example of the growing importance of automated software delivery is the $20 million in venture capital awarded to Harness, a company hoping to make enterprise-level CD available to businesses of all sizes. News about the Harness VC appeared earlier this month in SiliconANGLE.

Reaching continuous software delivery is a challenge for the largest companies in the industry, so naturally it’s even more difficult to implement at a small to medium sized business. The smaller firms able to meet this goal end up relying on manual interaction to fix any problems and errors within the process. Harness hopes to change all that, and are led by an executive team filled with industry veterans with experience in DevOps and state of the art software development technology.

Harness CEO, Jyoti Bansal, formerly led AppDynamics, known for their app monitoring software. He commented on what Harness brings to the CD table.

“At AppDynamics, our customers were happily using our platform to monitor their complex software applications, but almost all of them told me that the process for delivering rapid changes to those applications remained a huge problem. Software engineering teams need a platform that’s intuitive and powered by modern AI to meet demand for incredibly fast, high-quality releases,” said Bansal.

The Harness solution leverages AI and machine learning to provide automated monitoring of the software delivery process. It learns about an application and becomes able to initiate rollbacks when detecting irregular behavior. This allows for continuous updates without the worries of downtime. If interested, Harness is offering free trials of its application at the following link.

Quality Management Software Market Grows

Organizations in a variety of industries rely on quality management software (QMS) to ensure consistency in what they produce, be it software, consumer products, or even manufactured goods. This need is leading to a rapid growth in the market for this type of application, which is now projected to grow to $24 billion by 2022. News about this growth appeared this month in the Nasdaq GlobeNewswire.

Some of the major drivers of this growth include increased usage of quality management software at small and medium sized businesses, greater need for QMS in the automotive industry, and the emerging Cloud-based business sector. North America is predicted to be the leading region for QMS usage over the next five years, but the rest of the world is also contributing to the overall market expansion.

Forward-thinking software companies need to consider entering the lucrative QMS market to take advantage of these newfound opportunities.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional news and insights from the growing software development industry. As always, thanks for reading!

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!