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App Development Is Dead, Long Live Continuous Application Development

We have a lot of software application management issues, what’s my point?

Technologists will no doubt be working to refine the process of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) for many millennia to come. Application ‘rudiments' from physical code through to more ‘elemental' features including performance, robustness and interoperability will be forever fine-tuned and managed as we seek to perfect our digital interactions with an increasing array of devices.

We have a lot of software application management issues, what's my point?

The issue here is that although we may refine ALM interminably, there is a current tide (if not quite a total sea change or paradigm shift) toward embracing an extra process in the software development solar system.

I'm talking about continuous application development.

This process may suffer from something of a misnomer in some senses, as we are not necessarily continuously developing new applications to replace older ones; instead we are very typically developing new iterations or versions or augmentations or enhancements (call them what you will) to existing software.

Where do we see this scenario played out?

Very often we might experience continuous application development in Agile (yes, with a CAPS A!) development methodology environments. Here of course the concept is one of "deploy regularly and often" so that we can get the customer, client or user happy that a workable version of the software has been delivered - even if all requirements have yet to be fully met. As many developers and managers will know this is also especially useful in a scenario where customer requirements are subject to a lot of change anyway.

But what special elements does continuous application development need?

This is a big question and if we had all the answers we would be in quite a different place. Without trying to compile a definitive list as such, we can say that continuous development requires the following:

  • Common standards for our application platforms
  • Automation controls for application testing and other key ALM tasks
  • Performance management reporting
  • Defect tracking tools
  • Social collaboration tools to communicate on all of the above and more

Who will help bring these elements into one single and cohesive covalent bonded mass?

The reasonably recently coined portmanteau term of DevOps (development and operations) may be a pretty large part of our answer here. The new role has clear aims to bridge the gulf that has caused so many IT shops to grow in disparate disconnected silos.

DevOps personnel will use tools that (... and here is the really important word here) "orchestrate" the development, testing, infrastructure and operations teams. With these guys in place we can move to a world with continuous application delivery, but also very crucially indeed, continuous application performance monitoring as well.

Where do we go from here?

The facts are that application performance may now change as users interact with applications in the cloud or on mobile devices. It's quite interesting to see companies like HP release its latest Application Lifecycle Management 11.5 platform as the firm has engineered preconfigured reports to detail on-going information about application progress.

The product is also integrated with HP Enterprise Collaboration software, so teams can work together on requirements, create RSS feed alerts and support progress discussions on development status.

Is it as simple as switching our software tools then? No not exactly, the adoption of these newer process elements will generally also require some re-architecting at a core level.

Is this the Holy Grail for efficient software application development then? No it's not that either, but many of these concepts around more orchestrated ALM are good and true and will certainly form more of the total fabric of software development in future times.

•   •   •

This post was first published on the Enterprise CIO Forum.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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