The Evolving Web Application Development Landscape

Barry Libenson, Global CIO, Experian
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Barry Libenson, Global CIO, Experian

Over the past few years, the traditional methodology of developing web applications has changed considerably. Not only the age old systems of Waterfall model— hiring a set of developers and building an application using Java or C++—has changed but also the delivery platforms has highly advanced. Moreover, the underpinning technologies that are used to deliver applications today are focused on mobile and web.

The modern mobile and web enabled solutions is transforming the process of application development. In addition, technologies like Micro services and API enabled applications that provide connectivity and efficiency have totally simplified the development process while changing the pace of application development.

Choosing the Right Development Model

The nature of how software is being build today have changed from software engineers developing applications to common users adopting various tools to build their own applications. Identifying the right development strategy from the traditional Waterfall model and the modern Agile model is moreover the key to perfect application development. However, building a monolithic main frame application using the Agile methodology is a tricky task.

 The organizations have to evaluate their ability to embrace an Agile methodology to successfully develop and gravitate for using their own team to build their application portfolio 

As the nature of agile development is an iterative process, it requires a huge amount of input between the business and the development team. However, most organizations don’t realize that for a successful agile development, it takes a significant commitment, not just from the development organizations but from the business as well. The organizations that are prepared to make the investment as well as commitment on the business side of developing an application can be successful. Whereas the ones that believe that such a process can only be managed through development teams often follow the traditional Waterfall model as it requires less interaction.

The organizations have to evaluate their ability to embrace an Agile methodology to successfully develop and gravitate for using their own team to build their application portfolio.

Enriching User Experience

Enriching user experience is another important aspect in application development today. The habitual system of updating applications once or twice in a year has changed. Nowadays, users demand applications to be updated at least once in a week or more frequently to enhance user experience and usability.

On the other side, this changing system is improving the quality of tools as organizations strive to make their applications perfect.

Security Challenges in the Evolving Arena

The earlier versions in websites that were basically first generation HTML pages were more information oriented than application oriented. Today, the evolution of sophisticated systems and tools for web development is transforming the arena where coding and programming have moved out of web designing landscape. Also, as technology evolved, Cloud has become the core of every computing infrastructure.

However, even with the rapid adoption of cloud, security has not kept pace with the current developments. Today, as fast as the developers are fixing the security holes, cyber attackers are finding new ones, which transformed as a never ending loop. Yet, there has been no ground-breaking solution to thwart these security challenges and completely eradicate hacking.

However, the traditional security strategies have changed from monitoring the traffic to capture the vulnerable activities in an environment. There are security solutions that specifically target the end points of the arena. For added security, extensive log monitoring of applications, network monitoring for unauthorized traffic, IP address monitoring, and encryption strategies are widely adopted.

Machine learning has also played its role in enhancing security by getting smarter with time. The algorithms of these solutions ‘learn as they go’ about the normal and abnormal behaviors in a particular environment. Layering security technology on top of other technology to ensure safety from cyber threats is a redundant approach to address the security issues. Furthermore, the deployment of firewalls and IPS technology is also an emerging trend.

The Changing Role of CIOs

As the traditional technology systems are transforming and evolving, the importance of CIOs are also facing a shift from just aligning the technology with the business strategy to deciding how technology can be an enabler and keep business operational. The CIOs’ role has changed dramatically to be more of a business partner as well as the individual who is responsible for keeping the technology operational.

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