By Eduardo Cruz, VP UK & Ireland, OutSystems.
Mobile apps are fast becoming the main driver of accelerating digital transformation in businesses. Earlier this month we published our fourth annual survey, The State of Application Development: 2017 Research Report, which clearly showed that mobility requirements are soaring. The speed of change within the industry is unrelenting and, as applications play an increasingly important role in the digital business economy, developers are constantly on the lookout for the practical, realistic trends that will make them more efficient and effective in their roles.
Now that January is out of the way and we’ve had the chance to dip our toe into the uncertain waters of 2017, we are in a much better position to take a look at the year ahead and map out which app development trends are set to dominate in 2017…
Expectations from business will continue to accelerate
Regardless of the industry, employees and indeed customers are growing less tolerant of manual, paper-based processes that slow them down. Certain levels of access to a service or information are becoming the norm and these expectations will continue to increase. This in part occurs because some organisations are already doing a very good job of digitising work processes, disrupting their industries, and setting the bar higher for others within it. As a result, those that lag behind are a great disappointment to the growing community of customers, employees, and partners already beginning to live and work in an uberized world. As these individuals get frustrated their loyalties will begin to shift towards those that can keep up. In 2017 this rate of digitalisation will accelerate further, perhaps becoming even more extreme as disruptive tech like AR and VR break out into mainstream business consumption.
Greater focus on app security
Back in 2014 Gartner predicted that by 2017, 75 percent of mobile apps would not pass even basic security tests. Sadly, they were not far off the mark. Many apps still fall short of delivering security and privacy to users who are vulnerable to things like data interception attacks and malware as a result of vulnerable code. On top of this, risks are increased by an emphasis on end-user convenience over security. As a result, organisations tend to lack urgency to address such threats. As IT teams are hit with daily demands to build new apps they are struggling to keep up so it is hardly surprising that this rush to release phenomenon is on the rise. Unfortunately, one of the potential consequences is compromised security.
At the beginning of the year Apple made a series of security changes, stating that all IOS apps must comply with App Transport Security (ATS) data encryption requirements. Despite this requirement, recent research has found that only 3% of enterprise apps are actually fully compliant with the new security mandate. By default, all mobile applications built using the OutSystems platform have HTTPS enabled for all screens and integration to keep data secure while in transit by encrypting it, something clearly specified in Apple’s new mandate. But this is by no means the norm as poor programming practices often mean that numerous apps fail to make use of the security features available on mobile devices. It is hardly surprising then when we hear about the latest major breach on the news. As 2017 pans out, a lot more will need to be done to address such security problems.
The rise of low-code app development
As I have already indicated, we’re currently experiencing a crisis point within the enterprise where the demands for digital transformation have far exceeded the capacity of IT teams to deliver. An increasing number of mobile apps will no doubt be built with low-code platforms in 2017 as IT starts to re-think, re-tool and re-engineer how technology gets delivered. The platforms that will succeed will be the ones that make it easy for developers to build complex apps for the enterprise. The release of OutSystems 10 proves for the first time that a low-code development platform is capable of accelerating the development and deployment of the kinds of advanced mobile applications that previously required extensive hand-coding.
Of course some trends are certainly more exciting than others, but it’s what resonates with the developer community that is key. After all, it will be as result of these that developers will be able to create smart, seamless and intuitive apps to drive digital business through the year ahead.