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Adopt or avoid?

ThoughtWorks Technology Radar: Jupyter Notebook is new standard, TypeScript rising

Sarah Schlothauer
technology radar
© Shutterstock / zhu difeng

What trending technologies should you adopt and what should you avoid? The bi-annual Technology Radar reveals what the experts in their field think is on the climb and what they caution against. What techniques, tools, platforms, languages and frameworks are on the list?

Twice a year, the software consultancy company ThoughtWorks releases their Technology Radar report examining trending and falling technologies. They examine the latest trends and classify them into categories, in order to help developers determine what’s worth adopting and what’s steadily falling out of favor.

This latest April 2019 edition’s contributors are based on a meeting of the Technology Advisory Board in Shenzhen, China.

According to Technology Radar, these are the techniques, tools, platforms, languages & frameworks industries should adopt (or avoid).

Top techniques

What techniques will become the de facto standard? The technology radar recommends adopting opinionated and automated code formatting tools.

The report raises the notion of polyglot programming. Previously, ThoughtWorks recommended this with caution, but now have changed their stance and recommend using more than one language to solve tricky programming problems.

When it comes to storing and accessing secrets, the radar recommends secrets as a service as a default technique. Micro frontends and the DevOps notion of four key metrics both moved from a mild suggestion into a strong recommendation.

Techniques on the radar. Source.

This time around, ThoughtWorks cautions against several techniques. While Jupyter Notebooks receive high praise as the new Python notebook standard, they warn against the trend of productionizing Jupyter Notebooks.

SEE ALSO: Top Python use cases: Bringing machine learning to the enterprise

The report also warns against puncturing encapsulation with change data capture and templating in YAML (or JSON).

Organizations hopping on the concept of the ‘release train’ receive a scolding. The concept of the release train involves releases happening on a fixed schedule, whether the new features are ready for release or not. This method of release comes with drawbacks and complications.

Moving on up with tools

In the adoption sector, ThoughtWorks recommends a few helpful tools.

Cypress moved all the way from ‘assess’ in 2017 up to ‘adopt’ in 2019. ThoughtWorks says that they continuously receive positive feedback about this front-end web UI testing tool.

Jupyter Notebooks also rose through the ranks. These open source web apps help users share documents with code and visualizations. They’ve been a mainstay in the scientific community for data visualization and machine learning. ThoughtWorks notes that they have quickly become the standard default for Python notebooks.

UI dev enviornments, Terraform, and LocalStack all move up and received a recommendation.

As for what to avoid, the only tool on the ‘hold’ list is handwritten CloudFormation. ThoughtWorks warns that handwritten CloudFormation in AWS CloudFormation does not scale as infrastructure grows and suffers as a result. This marks the first and only time handwritten CloudFormation has appeared on the radar, so developers are instructed to take caution and note its pitfalls.

Positive trending platforms

Contentful stands as the lone platform in the adopt category this time around. According to its website, Contentful is a content management system that’s unified, structured, and ready to deploy. It unifies content all in one hub for the purpose of storing and editing content, and launching digital products. Developers can also use their own tools and frameworks for building websites with Contentful.

Platforms on the radar. Source.

Four technologies changed their positions towards a more positive assessment. AWS Fargate, Kafka Streams, HashiCorp’s Nomad, and Istio move up the rungs from ‘assess’ into ‘trial’. This means that they are deemed pursuing, although they come with a little risk.

Adoptable languages & frameworks

The Technology Radar recommends adopting Apollo, a React library which uses GraphQL for building client applications. ThoughtWorks writes that this framework caught their eye because “it simplifies the problem of binding UI components to data served by any GraphQL backend”.

SEE ALSO: Seven Security Sins: The 7 biggest security problems of agile projects

MockK, the mocking library for Kotlin, moved up from the ‘trial’ recommendation into ‘adopt’. Read more about the basics of mocking this Kotlin blog by Oleksiy Pylypenko.

As for languages, TypeScript moves up into the ‘adopt’ sector, gaining credence from 2014, back when it was only on the ‘assess’ list. TypeScript, the superset of JavaScript, offers minimal configuration management and IDE support, while still providing the benefit of JavaScript libraries. According to RedMonk’s quarterly report, TypeScript has seen a significant rise in popularity.

How did ThoughtWorks compile this data? Why is your favorite framework missing? For more information about the Technology Radar and how ThoughtWorks chooses each technology, see the FAQ.

Author
Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is an assistant editor for JAXenter.com. She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University and is currently enrolled at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany where she is working on her Masters. She lives in Frankfurt with her husband and cat.

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