SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

Related Topics: Java IoT, Eclipse

Java IoT: Article

i-Technology Viewpoint: The Future of Software Tools

i-Technology Viewpoint: The Future of Software Tools

In a recent press interview I was asked what I thought were some of the important trends for the future of software tools.

It's an interesting question, with many facets, so I was not sure how to respond. After some thought, here are the five areas I chose to highlight from my context of design and construction tool strategy. These are areas that have been occupying much of my thinking and discussions lately with customers, IBM Research, and the Rational teams. These are changing the kinds of software tools we are delivering, and the features the tools support.

1. Connecting business with IT: Business-driven development. The importance of understanding the business context for IT investment has never been more obvious than it is today. More organizations are recognizing the role of IT as a determining factor in the efficiency of their operations, and a bottleneck in their ability to innovate.

I am spending a lot of time with customers who want to explore business alternatives, drive IT projects more directly from business needs with well established business goals and ROI, choreograph services to realize their business processes, and monitor those services in execution to relate operations to the needs of the business. Support for that flow (in its myriad variations) is essential. As we use the current generation of tools in this context we are seeing the emergence of new roles, usage scenarios, and support needs. The lessons from this work are leading to a complete refactoring of tooling capabilities.


2. Greater transparency in the software development process:
Auditing, traceability, and accountability. Software plays a pivotal role in all our lives. It runs our financial institutions, controls the power and utility infrastructure, is embedded in almost every useful device we use, and so on. With this important role comes a certain responsibility.

Government regulators, lawyers, and auditors are beginning to pay increasing attention to the software industry to verify that the software we all rely on has been developed according to some provable quality standards. Sarbanes-Oxley and BASEL2 are just the tip of a very large iceburg. For example, in discussions with those in the auto industry I was overwhelmed by the role software plays in the design, manufacture, control, and management of automobiles, and the kinds of requirements they need fulfiled by the software tools they are using.

Suppose there is a major design flaw in the software managing the anti-lock brakes on a popular model of car that results in injury of a number of people. How does the manufacturer of the braking system prove that it was not negilgent in the design and implementation of that software? Were the engineers developing the software certified against some recognized standards? Were the processes used to develop the software audited for quality? How were software designs analyzed and validated before they were put into production? And so on.

This kind of rigour and auditability will become the norm. Tools must permit this level of access and control. I refer to this as transparency...of prcoess, design, realization, etc. New tooling will emerge that supports and enforces these design principles. Traceability and reporting at all levels will become essential.


3. RAD using new programming models: As Grady Booch likes to say, software drives the world's economies and in some regards we can consider software development to be the most important job in the world!. Yet we all know that the skills and qualities of the best software engineers are in short supply.

It must be possible for a larger community of people to develop sophisticated enterprise solutions and deploy them to heterogeneous runtime environments. We have a long way to go to make this happen. The gap between the way domain-focused users view the problem space and the way in which they must describe systems in the solution space is far too great. In the past, various ways of addressing this gap with CASE tools and 4GLs solved part of the problem, but created their own challenges in return (e.g., proprietary runtime layers, non-standard artifacts, lack of openness to integrate with other systems and services, inflexible high-ceremony design approaches, and so on).

Over the last few years we have seen ways to overcome these limitations with the emergence of robust patterns and frameworks for application development in many technology and business domains. We can raise the abstraction of programming model to be closer to the end-users' mental model of their problem space and use the patterns and frameworks to transform that to the solutions space for today's technologies. Techniques such as generative programming and MDA are a realization of this. We are seeing a lot of innovation in the software tools here.


4. Collaboration among individuals and teams: Much of the inefficiency in software development is a result of the friction between individuals and teams as they work together to share a common understanding of some element of concern, investigate issues from multiple perspectives to make a balanced decision, solve multi-dimensional problems, and so on.

There are many great advances in collaborative tools for interaction and sharing. It's great to be able to start a chat session in a new window while understanding a new piece of code, to view a remote desktop to see the problem a customer is experiencing in their environment, or to create a teleconference as needed to resolve a design issues among colleagues. But there is much more to be done to make those kinds of capabilities part of the software tools workbench of the teams. We'll see those ideas become much better aligned with software development tools so that software engineers can more easily work together on all aspects of the design process, and we'll see design practices evolve to take better advantage of their capabilities.


5. "Pay-per-use" software tools:
New licensing and subscription offerings. There are many pressures on software tool vendors to change the way in which tools are packaged and delivered. Initiatives such as open source software and hosted services via ASPs challenge conventional thinking on software tools.

We've seen some reaction in the marketplace (e.g., open source development tools workbenches such as Eclipse, and on-line testing services from different vendors). Customers are demanding more -- greater flexibility in how software tools are delivered, less overhead in upgrading software tools, more creative pricing based on how the tool is used, when it is used, and how much of it is used.

We are working on different kinds of software tool offerings in response to this by re-factoring the products we offer, increasing the ease with which different tool capabilities can be interchanged, and allowing access to software tool capabilities in a variety of access modes (various flavors of fat client and thin client access). Safe-to-say that lots of people building software in the future will not be buying, installing, and using tools in the way they do today.

Alan W. Brown blogged these comments originally at developerWorks.com. Reproduced here with the kind permission of the author.

More Stories By Alan W. Brown

Alan W. Brown is a Distinguished Engineer at IBM Rational software responsible for future product strategy of IBM Rational's Design and Construction products. He defines technical strategy and evangelizes product direction with customers looking to improve software development efficiency through visual modeling, generating code from abstract models, and systematic reuse.

Comments (2)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
Moroccanoil®, the global leader in oil-infused beauty, is thrilled to announce the NEW Moroccanoil Color Depositing Masks, a collection of dual-benefit hair masks that deposit pure pigments while providing the treatment benefits of a deep conditioning mask. The collection consists of seven curated shades for commitment-free, beautifully-colored hair that looks and feels healthy.
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
We all love the many benefits of natural plant oils, used as a deap treatment before shampooing, at home or at the beach, but is there an all-in-one solution for everyday intensive nutrition and modern styling?I am passionate about the benefits of natural extracts with tried-and-tested results, which I have used to develop my own brand (lemon for its acid ph, wheat germ for its fortifying action…). I wanted a product which combined caring and styling effects, and which could be used after shampo...
The precious oil is extracted from the seeds of prickly pear cactus plant. After taking out the seeds from the fruits, they are adequately dried and then cold pressed to obtain the oil. Indeed, the prickly seed oil is quite expensive. Well, that is understandable when you consider the fact that the seeds are really tiny and each seed contain only about 5% of oil in it at most, plus the seeds are usually handpicked from the fruits. This means it will take tons of these seeds to produce just one b...
Steaz, the nation's top-selling organic and fair trade green-tea-based beverage company, announces its 2017 "Mind. Body. Soul." tour, which will bring authentic experiences inspired by the brand's signature Mind. Body. Soul. tagline to life across the country. The tour will inform, educate, inspire and entertain through events, digital activations and partner-curated experiences developed to support the three pillars of complete health and wellness.
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
ScaleMP is presenting at CloudEXPO 2019, held June 24-26 in Santa Clara, and we’d love to see you there. At the conference, we’ll demonstrate how ScaleMP is solving one of the most vexing challenges for cloud — memory cost and limit of scale — and how our innovative vSMP MemoryONE solution provides affordable larger server memory for the private and public cloud. Please visit us at Booth No. 519 to connect with our experts and learn more about vSMP MemoryONE and how it is already serving some of...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
Platform9, the leader in SaaS-managed hybrid cloud, has announced it will present five sessions at four upcoming industry conferences in June: BCS in London, DevOpsCon in Berlin, HPE Discover and Cloud Computing Expo 2019.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
When you're operating multiple services in production, building out forensics tools such as monitoring and observability becomes essential. Unfortunately, it is a real challenge balancing priorities between building new features and tools to help pinpoint root causes. Linkerd provides many of the tools you need to tame the chaos of operating microservices in a cloud native world. Because Linkerd is a transparent proxy that runs alongside your application, there are no code changes required. I...