Foresight is 2020

Software development trends for 2020

David Cramer
© Shutterstock / HongtaeStocker

Plenty of software development technology has gone through a huge shift in the past few years. DevOps is the norm, the world is application-centric, and framework frenzy is in full swing. Looking towards the next decade, here are a few trends that David Cramer, CEO and co-founder of Sentry, predicts we will see in 2020.

One central theme emerged from the last decade: the world has become application-centric. From payments to ridesharing, online shopping to social media, as users demand more and better digital experiences, organizations across all industries have refocused their resources on building the best applications. This is unleashing the following trends for 2020 and beyond, specifically around frontend development and the tools and frameworks that support it.

Here are a few things we can expect to see as we roll into the new decade:

Frontend will meet DevOps as competencies shift

How people interact with a website is no longer just a marketing concern. The user interface is now critical application code and it contains core business logic. This shift in application importance means frontend development teams will start to look more like product teams as development and operations merge.

These teams are deploying their own code and making changes so rapidly that they are often moving too fast for separate operations teams to have the full context to mitigate application errors. We will see these frontend teams become more generalized in their skillsets and become responsible for development, testing, and operations as the process becomes a continuous cycle of integration and delivery. These teams will be on call for incidents and interacting more with monitoring tools to ensure uptime. Those writing JavaScript are going to learn about getting paged in the middle of the night.

Tool and framework frenzy will continue; Fatigue will worsen

The plethora of tools, languages, and frameworks are adding massive complexity to the application development ecosystem. IT teams are challenged to interconnect these disparate languages and platforms to build applications that are the lifeblood of business in today’s digital economy.

While conference halls echo with cries of tool and framework fatigue, there will not be a clear resolution in 2020. In fact, there will likely be more disruption. Although it seems React.js is approaching victory for frontend development, there are still a number of viable competitors ready to shake things up. On the backend, there is still no standardization, in spite of significant innovation in recent years. PHP, Ruby, Python, Node.js, Java, and .Net are all in use—but there is no clear winner and that won’t change in 2020. As teams struggle to connect it all, even more tools—many of which will be open source—will emerge to integrate technologies, but the challenges of complexity and control will get worse before they get better.

SEE ALSO: How to manipulate dates with JavaScript

JavaScript will win the language debate and emerge as the glue for modern apps

Today, there is no one true programming language choice for building a modern web application, but as the battle for the frontend rages, JavaScript is growing in popularity. Over the next few years, we will see a clear shift toward JavaScript universally becoming the language choice for user interfaces on every platform.

More tools will emerge and adapt for frontend specific applications and JavaScript will be the glue that connects it all.

Pendulum swings back towards consolidation

In recent years, innovation has revealed a host of new tools from big vendors, startups and open source projects, each promising to tackle the next big issue. But it is challenging to maintain compliance and controls when cobbling together a heterogeneous mix of technology at different maturity levels.

And while the next decade will certainly bring more innovation, we can also expect the proverbial pendulum to begin swinging back toward consolidation of platforms and tools as overwhelmed IT teams look for ways to simplify their stacks and reduce risk. Vendors offering universal solutions that span multiple platforms and integrate seamlessly into enterprise environments will continue to see adoption. While companies may continue to offload infrastructure management to third parties—cloud vendors, SaaS providers, and others—in an effort to refocus their resources on building the business, there will be a lagging interest in new tools that offer just the 1% value add.

SEE ALSO: Operations: the last Mile for DevOps

Engineering concerns will align with user concerns, changing how we monitor applications

As we invest more in user interfaces—which will increasingly become the actual application—we will see engineering concerns more closely align with customer concerns, which means a lot of our tooling and accountability will also shift.

We will need to monitor more than just backend server availability. We will need to monitor how the customer interacts with the product and business because each application iteration can impact user experience, whether positively or negatively. When development teams have a more comprehensive understanding of user interactions and application performance, they can more effectively build applications that drive business value.


David Cramer

David Cramer is the co-founder and CEO of Sentry, an application monitoring and error tracking software company that helps software teams discover, triage, and prioritize errors in real time. Previously a software engineer for Dropbox and Disqus, he founded Sentry as an open source project to solve problems he encountered with development. Since 2012, Sentry has grown to serve 50,000 companies and more than 1 million active users.

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Jeff Jones
Jeff Jones
2 years ago

“ Over the next few years, we will see a clear shift toward JavaScript universally becoming the language choice for user interfaces on every platform“

That seems to miss the trend of moving web front ends, and standalone apps, to webassembly (wasm).

JavaScript cannot be complied to Webassembly, while several other languages can. I see JS in decline as wasm replaces it over time.

2 years ago

No mention of Dart& Flutter. The fastest growing language on Github?