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!

News from the Worlds of Software Development and QA – October 2016

Microsoft Teams is the next Slack competitor; How containers is becoming hot item on serverless infrastructures and more news this October!

With the Autumn season in full force and Halloween approaching, it is time to take another look at a few interesting recent news stories from the software development and QA industry. If you want to check out last month’s news digest, simply click on the following link. Hopefully, this month’s digest gives you and your team some inspiration and insight on your own development and testing duties.

Microsoft to release a Slack Competitor

With the Agile and DevOps methodologies requiring software development teams to communicate better with each other as well as business stakeholders, clients, and network engineers, highly functional messaging apps are currently in vogue in the industry. We previously talked about the growth of ChatOps, and Slack is another popular application aimed at fostering collaboration at the enterprise.

Those watchful eyes in Redmond have been taking note of Slack’s popularity, as shown by the recent news Microsoft is planning to release their own competitor to the app. Called Microsoft Teams – it was known as Skype Teams during development – the tool is expected to be available early in November.

In addition to text messaging, users are able to share files, aggregate texts into different channels, as well as embed emojis and other graphics. Integration with Microsoft’s Cloud-based storage service, One Drive is also expected, along with a built-in calendar. In short, these are many of same features provided by Slack.

ChatOps functionality, including integration with Microsoft’s Visual Studio and other third-party development tools, will make Teams more attractive to the software development community.

Docker making the QA Process more Efficient

Docker’s emphasis on container-like structures to hold development and testing environments continues to make aspects of software development and network management more efficient. This growing trend now impacting software testing was noted this month by InfoWorld magazine. The article serves as a primer for QA team leads and development managers hoping to leverage containers to streamline the QA function at their shop.

The author notes the small size of a Docker container enhances their portability, especially when compared to virtual machines. Their simplicity in Cloud deployment makes it easy to perform load testing on a web app or API. He also discusses how Docker facilitates the testing and deployment of individual services in applications using a microservices architecture.

Anyone interested in using Docker as part of their development and QA processes needs to read the full article, as it is filled with great tips and insights on how to implement the tool in QA environments.

Containers revolutionizing the Software Development World

Containers are definitely a hot item in the software development news this month. This week, the Wall Street Journal published an article describing how container infrastructures are ushering in an era of “serverless” computing. Seen by many industry pundits as a maturing of the Cloud services market, serverless computing essentially means an application is hosted within a container at a Cloud-based provider.

“If you’re moving into the next generation of big shifts like [artificial intelligence] and machine learning, the underlying infrastructure that supports that stuff will be serverless,” said the CTO for GE, Chris Drumgoole. One major Cloud provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has been offering a serverless product, called Lambda, for nearly two years.

Expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future, as businesses of all sizes – and the developers building applications for them – strive for more efficiency and a stronger bottom line.

Keep visiting the Betica Blog for these and other insights from the always evolving worlds of software development and QA.

News from the Worlds of Software Development and QA — July 2016

Welcome to this month’s look at a few interesting stories over the previous few weeks from the worlds of software development and QA. Last month, the new continuous testing QA methodology and the hope for standardized software testing practices in the video game industry were some of the topics we covered. Read further to see if any of July’s news inspires your own development and testing efforts.

Leveraging the Scrum to improve the QA Process

Companies that are veterans of the Agile methodology typically use scrums to promote communication between developers and their business stakeholders. These daily stand-up meetings ensure project statuses get reported and important action items aren’t missed. In a July article for TechRepublic, Transworld Data President, Mary Shacklett, talks about the benefits gained including QA personnel in the scrum.

She describes a variety of software failures in her past that could have been prevented if only collaboration between QA and developers were improved. This needs to happen throughout a project, but it is especially vital at the beginning when application design and prototyping take place. In the past, we’ve talked about the importance of catching software (or design) errors early in the process, as the cost of fixing issues increases exponentially later in the SDLC.

Shacklett also feels both developers and QA engineers need to be involved with executing unit tests, a task typically falling to the developer who wrote the code in question. End users and business stakeholders also need to be involved at important points during the SDLC, most notably before the app (or enhancement) is deployed into production.

Popular Developer Phrases that annoy the QA Engineer

As we just noted, it is important that software engineers and QA professionals work well together on the same team. That doesn’t mean developers don’t have their pet sayings that annoy their software testing colleagues, as noted in an article in DZone. While humorous on the surface, they do reveal a need for better collaboration — something improving in the industry with the increased adoption of Agile. Here is a quick sample.

“But it works on my machine” — is a common refrain after a QA engineer finds a bug in code that probably passed the developer’s unit tests. Maybe that company needs to use a better environment manager, like Vagrant

“Are you sure you are testing the right version?” — which is a phrase potentially illustrating the poor management of versioning and builds.

Check out the DZone article for other similar examples of programmer-speak.

The Hottest Technologies for Software Developers

A recent survey of software engineers from Evans Data reveals the hot technologies currently in vogue with developers. Four technologies stood out from the rest of the pack. The Internet of Things was noted by 45 percent of the surveyed Big Data developers, while the Cloud is considered hot by 27 percent of all developers.

Over half of the data mining app developers are working on robotics applications, and nearly a quarter of all developers are involved in machine learning development.

It is surprising to note the importance of parsing massive amounts of data among IoT and robotics applications, which probably speaks to the higher adoption rate of those two technologies in the industrial sector compared to the home.

Come back to the Betica Blog for additional news and insights from the related worlds of software development and QA.