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Top 10 software development stories of 2020

Over the last few years, with the shift to insourcing, many organisations have begun rebuilding software development as a core competency.

On the one hand, software developers are helping businesses create applications that take advantage of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things and blockchain, but software development also has an important role in application modernisation and digitisation, to build new software-based functionality using modern cloud-native architectures.

What has become apparent over 2020 is a shift to deskilling software development through the use of low-code/no-code tools and robotic process automation, which enable business people to create technology-driven initiates without having to rely 100% on highly skilled software developers.

These applications are not standalone – ideally, they connect to back-end internal systems and, possibly, to external systems. The connectivity is not something an average no-code/low-code user should have to deal with. Instead, the software development team builds the necessary integration with back-end and external computing services, which are then surfaced as application programming interfaces (APIs).

Over time, as the business requests access to more back-end functionality, more APIs are surfaced. Taken to its logical conclusion, the work the software development team within the IT department does to build out software-powered functionality for the business will eventually be handed over to teams of business analysts and programmers working within individual line-of-business functions.

These people use the APIs to help them build low-code/no-code applications that connect to the company’s core systems. The business may also decide to open up some APIs to external business parties or third parties. Such a strategy helps the organisation to develop a more seamless customer experience across its partner network, extended and enhanced by value-added services developed by third parties.

Here are Computer Weekly’s top 10 software development articles of 2020:

1. The art of developing happy customers

AI is playing a growing role in modern software development, but how well can an AI build applications that deliver great customer experience?

2. Portrait of the software developer as an artist

Many programmers see themselves as artists – of a sort. Computer Weekly investigates what it means to be a modern software developer.

3. Designing software to include older people in the digital world

The Covid-19 crisis has accentuated the importance of including older people in the digital world. How can software firms design products to include generations that came to maturity before the internet?

4. How to overcome application modernisation barriers

Most businesses are not lucky enough to be able to build a new cloud-native architecture. We look at how to take legacy applications forward.

5. Microsoft Windows’ future is all about users

We look at how Microsoft is evolving the Windows desktop operating system platform and providing developer flexibility.

6. Fix bottlenecks before tackling business process automation

Business processes evolve over time, and intelligent automation requires a thorough assessment of what is not working optimally.

7. How crowd simulation modelling enables organisations to develop social distancing strategies

Crowd simulation modelling has a role to play in maximising the Covid security of offices and other buildings by facilitating social distancing to help get people back to workplaces. 

8. Applications: Combining the old with the new

We look at how organisations can integrate legacy applications with newer digital platforms. 

9. What are the drivers for application modernisation?

Application modernisation is not something that just happens, nor is it just driven by digitisation and cloud-first strategies.

10. From Pixar to GovTech: The inside story of Singapore’s AI whizz

After nearly a decade at Pixar, GovTech’s Chong Jiayi is leading a team of experts to solve hard problems in robotics and artificial intelligence.



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