Click here to close now.


Mobile IoT Authors: Mike Kavis, Elizabeth White, Jim Scott, Yakov Fain, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Java IoT, Eclipse

Java IoT: Article

i-Technology Viewpoint: The Future of Software Tools

i-Technology Viewpoint: The Future of Software Tools

In a recent press interview I was asked what I thought were some of the important trends for the future of software tools.

It's an interesting question, with many facets, so I was not sure how to respond. After some thought, here are the five areas I chose to highlight from my context of design and construction tool strategy. These are areas that have been occupying much of my thinking and discussions lately with customers, IBM Research, and the Rational teams. These are changing the kinds of software tools we are delivering, and the features the tools support.

1. Connecting business with IT: Business-driven development. The importance of understanding the business context for IT investment has never been more obvious than it is today. More organizations are recognizing the role of IT as a determining factor in the efficiency of their operations, and a bottleneck in their ability to innovate.

I am spending a lot of time with customers who want to explore business alternatives, drive IT projects more directly from business needs with well established business goals and ROI, choreograph services to realize their business processes, and monitor those services in execution to relate operations to the needs of the business. Support for that flow (in its myriad variations) is essential. As we use the current generation of tools in this context we are seeing the emergence of new roles, usage scenarios, and support needs. The lessons from this work are leading to a complete refactoring of tooling capabilities.

2. Greater transparency in the software development process:
Auditing, traceability, and accountability. Software plays a pivotal role in all our lives. It runs our financial institutions, controls the power and utility infrastructure, is embedded in almost every useful device we use, and so on. With this important role comes a certain responsibility.

Government regulators, lawyers, and auditors are beginning to pay increasing attention to the software industry to verify that the software we all rely on has been developed according to some provable quality standards. Sarbanes-Oxley and BASEL2 are just the tip of a very large iceburg. For example, in discussions with those in the auto industry I was overwhelmed by the role software plays in the design, manufacture, control, and management of automobiles, and the kinds of requirements they need fulfiled by the software tools they are using.

Suppose there is a major design flaw in the software managing the anti-lock brakes on a popular model of car that results in injury of a number of people. How does the manufacturer of the braking system prove that it was not negilgent in the design and implementation of that software? Were the engineers developing the software certified against some recognized standards? Were the processes used to develop the software audited for quality? How were software designs analyzed and validated before they were put into production? And so on.

This kind of rigour and auditability will become the norm. Tools must permit this level of access and control. I refer to this as transparency...of prcoess, design, realization, etc. New tooling will emerge that supports and enforces these design principles. Traceability and reporting at all levels will become essential.

3. RAD using new programming models: As Grady Booch likes to say, software drives the world's economies and in some regards we can consider software development to be the most important job in the world!. Yet we all know that the skills and qualities of the best software engineers are in short supply.

It must be possible for a larger community of people to develop sophisticated enterprise solutions and deploy them to heterogeneous runtime environments. We have a long way to go to make this happen. The gap between the way domain-focused users view the problem space and the way in which they must describe systems in the solution space is far too great. In the past, various ways of addressing this gap with CASE tools and 4GLs solved part of the problem, but created their own challenges in return (e.g., proprietary runtime layers, non-standard artifacts, lack of openness to integrate with other systems and services, inflexible high-ceremony design approaches, and so on).

Over the last few years we have seen ways to overcome these limitations with the emergence of robust patterns and frameworks for application development in many technology and business domains. We can raise the abstraction of programming model to be closer to the end-users' mental model of their problem space and use the patterns and frameworks to transform that to the solutions space for today's technologies. Techniques such as generative programming and MDA are a realization of this. We are seeing a lot of innovation in the software tools here.

4. Collaboration among individuals and teams: Much of the inefficiency in software development is a result of the friction between individuals and teams as they work together to share a common understanding of some element of concern, investigate issues from multiple perspectives to make a balanced decision, solve multi-dimensional problems, and so on.

There are many great advances in collaborative tools for interaction and sharing. It's great to be able to start a chat session in a new window while understanding a new piece of code, to view a remote desktop to see the problem a customer is experiencing in their environment, or to create a teleconference as needed to resolve a design issues among colleagues. But there is much more to be done to make those kinds of capabilities part of the software tools workbench of the teams. We'll see those ideas become much better aligned with software development tools so that software engineers can more easily work together on all aspects of the design process, and we'll see design practices evolve to take better advantage of their capabilities.

5. "Pay-per-use" software tools:
New licensing and subscription offerings. There are many pressures on software tool vendors to change the way in which tools are packaged and delivered. Initiatives such as open source software and hosted services via ASPs challenge conventional thinking on software tools.

We've seen some reaction in the marketplace (e.g., open source development tools workbenches such as Eclipse, and on-line testing services from different vendors). Customers are demanding more -- greater flexibility in how software tools are delivered, less overhead in upgrading software tools, more creative pricing based on how the tool is used, when it is used, and how much of it is used.

We are working on different kinds of software tool offerings in response to this by re-factoring the products we offer, increasing the ease with which different tool capabilities can be interchanged, and allowing access to software tool capabilities in a variety of access modes (various flavors of fat client and thin client access). Safe-to-say that lots of people building software in the future will not be buying, installing, and using tools in the way they do today.

Alan W. Brown blogged these comments originally at Reproduced here with the kind permission of the author.

More Stories By Alan W. Brown

Alan W. Brown is a Distinguished Engineer at IBM Rational software responsible for future product strategy of IBM Rational's Design and Construction products. He defines technical strategy and evangelizes product direction with customers looking to improve software development efficiency through visual modeling, generating code from abstract models, and systematic reuse.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Most Recent Comments
Nice piece 11/22/04 07:57:23 AM EST

Refreshing to come at this from a tools perspective instead on la-di-da generalizations. The future of technology is better viewed through the lens of tools than the rose-tinted perspectives most CEOs trot out.

Toolsman 11/22/04 07:47:53 AM EST

Much of the inefficiency in software development is a result of the friction between individuals and teams as they work together to share a common understanding of some element of concern, investigate issues from multiple perspectives to make a balanced decision, solve multi-dimensional problems, and so on

How true. The human element is the Great Imponderable that not enough people seem to think, let alone write, about. great article!

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in high-performance, high-efficiency server, storage technology and green computing, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and Embedded Systems worldwide. Supermi...
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Electric power utilities face relentless pressure on their financial performance, and reducing distribution grid losses is one of the last untapped opportunities to meet their business goals. Combining IoT-enabled sensors and cloud-based data analytics, utilities now are able to find, quantify and reduce losses faster – and with a smaller IT footprint. Solutions exist using Internet-enabled sensors deployed temporarily at strategic locations within the distribution grid to measure actual line loads.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.