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Global technology consultancy ThoughtWorks, has today launched its latest Technology Radar as part of the company’s commitment to revolutionise the IT industry. The Technology Radar, which is freely available for download, is created by ThoughtWorks’ Technical Advisory Board (TAB). TAB members bring together thought leadership and insights from client engagements around the world and IT communities to review and assess trends in tech.

The Radar provides insight and advice into the cutting-edge techniques, tools, languages and platforms that are driving next-generation software development.

“The Technology Radar attempts to describe trends we see, both large and small,” said Badrinath Janakiraman, product editor at ThoughtWorks. “For example we often see people, even in what would be considered the enterprise, using many Cloud-based services through a variety of mobile devices without waiting for official sanction. They do this because it brings them a lot of flexibility in how they work.

“This flexibility comes at a cost though - that of data security. The consequence is that corporate data boundaries, which could previously be defined clearly, are now getting more diffuse - harder to pin down. This is what we call ‘The Perimeterless Enterprise’. This is a transformative change that we are going to have to learn to deal with, because whether we like it or not, it is happening.”

Strategic trends highlighted by the latest Technology Radar include:

  • Embracing falling boundaries through perimeterless enterprise, Cloud environments and co-location by telepresence.
  • Applying proven practices like Continuous Delivery for mobile, Database migrations for NoSQL, and frameworks for CSS.
  • Lightweight options for analytics by having all developers involved and work closely with experts when necessary.
  • The implications of infrastructure as code and the need for new tools.
  • Improvements to mobile development with Continuous Delivery and network testing.

Techniques – The concept of Perimeterless Enterprise has grown as new technology helps to break down barriers. Development Environments in the Cloud mean that development infrastructure can be outsourced, so teams need little more than a laptop and an internet connection. Businesses must also rethink fundamental assumptions about data access and network security.

Mobile development continues to be another significant trend, particularly with HMTL 5 blurring the boundaries between “app store” apps and web apps. Continuous Delivery has become an increasingly powerful approach for mobile development, with services like TestFlight making it possible to deploy native apps to real devices multiple times a day. A greater focus on automated testing will also help ensure everything works on actual devices when launched.

Tools – A number of new tools have emerged for the rapidly evolving mobile space, including Testflight and HockeyApp, which both make it possible to manage the deployment of mobile applications and avoid the need for the App Store.

Logstash and Graylog2 are both recommended as tools for tackling the growing challenge of aggregating information as systems involve increasingly fine-grained services spread across more machines. Elsewhere, Gatling is another new player in the automated performance testing space recommended for trial.

The Radar also highlights that many organisations continue to use heavyweight testing tools despite adopting an agile approach. The high learning curves and requirement for specialist skills and training mean they are not suitable for fast moving software delivery as it is difficult for the team to test internally.

Platforms – With even low-volume sites creating vast amounts of data, finding a data management solution remains high on the agenda. The Technology Radar continues to recommend trialling Google BigQuery as an affordable solution to become a data-driven business.

The past year has seen an increased uptake on Elastic Search as an open search source platform. The Technology Radar recommends adopting the platform, particularly with regard to its vibrant community and the number of client libraries available in Java, C#, Ruby and JavaScript. As more than half of the world’s phones are still feature phones, the adoption of SMS and USSD as a UI is now recommended for the growing demand for mobile apps.

Languages & Frameworks – The growing mainstream use of single-page and mobile-based applications has seen growing adoption of JavaScript MVC frameworks, including AngularJS, Knockout and Ember.js. CoffeeScript has become increasingly popular as a method of simplifying JavaScript codebases, and the Radar predicts a high level of adoption.

Popular CSS frameworks Bootstrap has moved back from Trial to Assess in the latest Technology Radar based on the Advisory Board’s experiences with its limitations, though is still recommended for quickly producing sites. The Technology Radar also finds that writing all CSS by hand for anything other than trivial work is now over, thanks to the quality and support for CSS frameworks like SASS and LESS.

The Technology Radar is created twice a year by ThoughtWorks’ TAB, a group of experienced technology leaders, to provide insights for everyone involved in software development, from practitioners through to decision makers.

The report uses a visual approach to divide trends into four groups covering Techniques, Platforms, Tools and Languages & Frameworks, with each area assembled by the Advisory Board’s recommendation to Hold, Assess, Trial or Adopt.

“The world of software development always moves at an incredible pace, and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends at the best of times,” said Neal Ford, director and software architect at ThoughtWorks. "The growing importance of mobile technology has seen a particularly energetic stream of innovations, with new tools and techniques emerging constantly.”

To read the ThoughtWorks Technology Radar in full, please click here.

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