Best of TechBeacon 2016: App Dev's rapidly changing landscape
Change is a constant in the application development field. There’s always something new to learn, some myth that's being debunked, or some trend that is emerging. And so it was in 2016.
Here is TechBeacon’s collection of the top 10 app dev stories of 2016.
Most software developers are familiar with at least one or two mainstream languages, such as Java, Python, C++ and Ruby. A smaller number have heard of or actually dabble in languages such as Go, Swift and Haskell, each of which have a respectable number of followers, but haven't yet made it to the big leagues. But what about languages like Kotlin and Crystal and Elixir and Elm? There’s a good chance you haven’t heard of them. TechBeacon's App Dev editor, Mitch Pronschinske, explains why you might want to pay attention to this third tier of languages.
If you haven’t considered Smalltalk because you thought it was an obsolete language, you are missing on a good opportunity to improve your skills as a developer. Smalltalk introduced the world to many of the technologies, processes and features that underpin today’s most popular languages. Learning how to use it can give you an edge in multiple ways, writes Richard Eng of Smalltalk Renaissance.
Considering the relatively scant respect that Perl gets these days, it’s easy to forget how popular it was in the late '90s and early '00s. But it is a mistake to presume that Perl is dead. Though its demise has been anticipated for a long time, use of the Web language is actually thriving, and demand for Perl skills have remained steady over the last several years. Perl expert Curtis Poe drills down into the reasons why.
It used to be that you needed to hold a four-year college degree or some kind of formal certification to get your start in software development. Not anymore. Coding bootcamps that emphasize the languages and skills organizations need, can help launch your career in software development, or help you get up to speed on a new language, much more quickly. Here, Erik Sherman delivers a handpicked list of the 24 best coding bootcamps.
Developers know the feeling. You are concentrating intensely on something, and you're close to figuring out a problem that you’ve been grappling with all day, when someone rudely interrupts your train of thought and you have to start over again. Or, your team has barely completed the core requirements for a project before people suddenly start asking for a slew of changes and updates. What are your gripes? See if you can identify with Mitch Pronschinske's list of the things that developers love to hate.
It’s not just bad programmers who write lousy code; sometimes good ones do it as well. Are your developers forced to put too much emphasis on product delivery, rather than code quality? Are they focusing too much on metrics, and ignoring proven practices? Watch out, writes senior developer Christian Maioli.
As important as it might seem to have some sort of a formal license or professional certification for software engineers, the idea is an impractical one. Your local plumber or electrician can be held to a certification requirement by a regulatory body because the work they do is physical. Software developers can be based pretty much anywhere around the world, so you’d need a truly global regulatory framework for a certification standard to work, which it won't, writes Hewlett Packard Enterprise Senior Researcher Malcolm Isaacs.
There are programming languages and there are programming languages. Do you know which ones are the best fit for your IoT projects? The “things” that you connect to the Internet are,in a sense, computers as well. But there are important differences between writing apps using Java for your desktop and using Java for an IoT app. Developer Peter Wayner lists some of the best choices.
It doesn’t take much to cause programs to crash and for all kinds of things to go horribly wrong. Sometimes all it takes to delete your entire customer database or to poke a security hole in your software is an errant comma or a missed semi-colon, says Erik Sherman.
As a software developer, you have probably heard the term "data scientist" tossed around quite a bit. But do you know what it really means? Or what data scientists really do? Or how they are likely going to affect your life as a developer? Malcolm Isaacs offers this analysis of what to expect.