Software Development 2021

Improving Possibilities

21 Predictions about the Software Development Trends in 2021

Cloud, Edge, Container, Quantum, Blockchain, AI, Deep Learning, Batch, Streaming, Database, Programming, Software Architecture, Web, App, Low Code, No Code

2020 was an unprecedented year in recent history. Humanity has not experienced a global pandemic like COVID-19 in the last one hundred years. It has affected all the countries, sectors, and almost all the individuals on our planet. The good news is that we have vaccines on our doorsteps and finally can embrace the new year 2021 with lots of optimism and hope. 2020 was a significant year for the Software Development industry with lots of tangible breakthroughs in many areas. COVID-19 has sped up the digital transformation significantly, and the trend will be greater in 2021.

One year is almost like a light year in the Software Development industry. Instead of updating the old post, I am creating a new list of predictions of what I expect in the Software Development industry in the year 2021. Making predictions is a risky task. But I will use data, figures, and facts from authentic sources and make a prediction for the future considering the past. If you want to learn what 2021 has in its store for the software development industry, enjoy the reading.

1. Centralized Infrastructure: Cloud, cloud everywhere

During COVID-19, most of the industry suffered heavily, albeit a handful of industries. Cloud is the forerunner industry, which actually becomes stronger than ever during the pandemic. If there were any doubt and uncertainty in terms of Cloud adoptions, COVID-19 has wiped that away.

A global-scale catastrophe like Corona showed that we not only need Cloud for upscale, we also need it for down-scaling, i.e., when demand for our services drops significantly. Think about the tourism and transportation industry that has to maintain their expensive data centers, although their market drops 90%. One year ago, I wrote a blog post to predict the software development trends in 2020:

Cloud, Container, Programming, Database, Deep Learning, Software Architecture, Web, App, Batch, Streaming, Data Lake…

towardsdatascience.com

No matter which industry you are in (Government, Startups, Agriculture, Healthcare, Banking), plan Cloud migration as the entire world moves to Cloud sooner than later. There will be a huge shortage and high demand for Cloud-Native Engineers in 2021 and onwards.

If you are an IT engineer, jump into any MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) to earn your Cloud certificate. The good news is that many of them are offering free months during Covid. Also, the major public cloud providers are offering free courses. Recently the biggest public Cloud provider Amazon has declared that they will give free Cloud Computing training to 29 million people between 2021–2025:

For many years, I have been talking with business and government leaders about how we can work together to bridge the…

www.aboutamazon.com

2. Decentralized Infrastructure: Edge Computing will see exponential growth

In contrast to the Public Cloud where we want to have a centralized Data Center for Data and Compute power, there are many scenarios where we want to have the opposite, i.e. the Data and Compute power near the end-user. Some are very low latency (5 to 20 ms), high bandwidth, regulatory reasons, Real-Time use cases, smart and powerful end-user devices, etc.

Although Edge computing is an old concept and we are using Edge Computing in Content Delivery Networks (CDN), it is gaining popularity in recent years. With the rise of connected vehicles (autonomous Cars, drones), online gaming, IoT, smart devices, and edge AI/ML, Edge Computing will be a gigantic market in 2021 and beyond. Another key reason Edge computing will be key in 2021 is the rise of the 5G mobile devices.

In 2021, two groups of industries will fight for the market share in Edge computing. One group will be the public Cloud providers like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, as reported here:

In the process of building a global e-commerce empire that can deliver goods overnight to much of the developed world…

siliconangle.com

Here again, Amazon is the leader with many services like AWS Snow familyAWS IoT GreengrassMicrosoft is also providing edge services with Azure Stack EdgeAzure Edge ZoneGoogle is also moving its Data Center services to the end-user with Google Anthos.

The other group is the industry that already has the Edge Infrastructure like Telecom Companies, Data Center Providers, Network Providers. If they can move fast and leverage their advantages (i.e., existing Infrastructure), they have the opportunity to lead here. The Hybrid cloud provider RedHat (IBM) will be a key player here with its Hybrid Cloud Platform OpenShift, and engagement in OpenStack. Recently Samsung has joined with IBM to develop Edge Computing solutions:

Samsung this week announced a new plan to collaborate with IBM to develop edge computing, 5G, and hybrid cloud…

www.thefastmode.com

3. Cloud: AWS is leading, but Multi-Cloud will be the future

Among the public Cloud vendors, there is no question about who is the leader. In Q3 2020, Amazon is leading the public Cloud market with a 32% market share, shown below:

Pandemic boosts cloud consumption by a third in Q3 2020 Cloud infrastructure services spend in Q3 2020 continued to…

www.canalys.com

Microsoft had another strong year with its cloud offering and enjoyed 48% annual growth in 2020. In Q3 2020, Microsoft has a 19% market share compared to a 17% market share in Q3 2019.

As it is now, Google is the third-largest public Cloud provider with its 7% market share in Q3 2020.

In 2021, Amazon and Microsoft will keep their position as the first and second spots, respectively. However, Alibaba will take over third place in 2021 as it is just behind Google with a 6% market share in Q3 2020.

Also, the Multi-Cloud initiative will get more momentum in 2021. Many companies also moving to a Multi-Cloud strategy. CIA has recently awarded its Cloud contract to multiple vendors instead of one  single vendor:

CIA officials confirmed Friday what has been rumored for weeks: At least a portion of its massive cloud computing…

Until now, Amazon was reluctant to join the multi-cloud initiative to protect its market share. But as we had already seen with Microsoft 10 years ago, the whole industry and community are bigger than the biggest individual company. Recently, Amazon has silently joined the Multi-Cloud initiative:

It was easy to miss a line on two slides presented during AWS CEO Andy Jassy’s Tuesday morning keynote at re: Invent…

www.protocol.com

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) plays a key role in the Multi-Cloud movement and has arguably surpassed the Linux Foundation. In 2021, we can see more growth in the CNCF. Also, Multi-Cloud service providers like HashiCorp will become more important in 2021.

Some outstanding projects also provide API compatibility with popular vendor-specific Cloud Services like MinIO (providing AWS S3 compatible Object Storage). In 2021, there will be more initiatives like MinIO so that we can easily lift-and-shift popular Vendor lock services.

This is good news for the whole industry as I dream of a world where companies can deploy their application in Multiple Clouds seamlessly.

4. Containerization: Kubernetes is the Emperor, and Docker will slip away

Containerization is the Core Technology of Cloud Native IT, whether Public Cloud, Private Cloud, or even Edge Computing. For several years now, Kubernetes has established itself as the leading Container Orchestration and Management Technology. Like Linux ruled the Data Centers previously, Kubernetes is ruling the Public Cloud and Private Cloud landscape. Initially, Google was the leading force behind Kubernetes, but now almost all Giant Tech companies put their weight behind Kubernetes.

All the major public Cloud providers are now offering managed Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKSAzure AKSGoogle GKE) along with their managed Containerization Services. On the other side, RedHat is offering managed Kubernetes Service in private Cloud with OpenShift.

In 2021, we will see more adoption of Kubernetes as it is the core component in the Hybrid-Cloud or Multi-Cloud strategy. Non-traditional Enterprise applications like AI/ML, Databases, Data Platforms, Serverless, and Edge Computing applications will also move to Kubernetes.

On the flip side, Docker is slowly losing its charm as a Centonization Technology. There are already initiatives to standardize the container format and runtime, and two of them are getting huge traction in recent years. One is the Kubernetes-led Container Runtime Interface (CRI). The other one is the Linux Foundation lead Open Container Initiative (OCI).

Recently Kubernetes has deprecated Docker in favor of CRI and planning to remove Docker completely in late 2021 in its upcoming Kubernetes release (1.22):

The Kubernetes team has announced that it is deprecating the use of the Docker container runtime sometime after the…

sdtimes.com

As Kubernetes is the 800-pound Gorilla in the containerization ecosystem, 2021 will be the beginning of an end for Docker. On the upside, the CRI and OCI will get more momentum in 2021, and especially the CRI based containers will get a huge boost in 2021.

5. Computing: Quantum Computing will get momentum

Quantum Computing is the most revolutionary technology on this list. Like the digital computer, it has the potential to impact every sector. I have created a list of hottest Technology for the 2030s, and Quantum Computing was in the number one spot:

10 Predictions about the Software Development trends in the 2030s

The Major Software Developments trends in 2030 and beyond

towardsdatascience.com

To put into perspective: if we think about today’s most advanced Supercomputers as a normal human being, for example, a Chess Player or an 8th-grade math student, then Quantum computing is the Supergenius like Magnus Carles, who can play with 50 average Chess players at a time or genius Mathematician like Euler.

There were some significant breakthroughs and advancements in Quantum computing in 2020. In June 2020, Honeywell claimed that it had created the most powerful Quantum Computer, beating the previous record set by Google:

In the race to the future of quantum computing, Honeywell has just secured a fresh lead. The North Carolina-based…

www.forbes.com

Only a few days ago, a group of scientists from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) showed that Quantum Computer could beat the most advanced classical Supercomputer comfortably for a particular task (Gaussian boson sampling):

For the first time, a quantum computer made from photons-particles of light has outperformed even the fastest classical…

www.scientificamerican.com

Many governments and Tech Giants are exploring and investing in Quantum Computing. Google and IBM are two of the biggest players in this field. Google even launched an open-source library TensorFlow Quantum (TFQ), for prototyping the Quantum Machine learning models:

Google today launched TensorFlow Quantum (TFQ), an open-source library for prototyping quantum machine learning models…

thenextweb.com

Amazon is also offering managed quantum computing service via its Amazon Braket Cloud Service.

Considering the massive interest and its infinite possibilities, there will be some breakthroughs and jaw-dropping discoveries in Computer Quantum in 2021.

If you want to explore Quantum Computing, then you can use the Open Source SDK qiskit, which is also offering the free course:

An introduction to the world of quantum computing, with an exploration of some of the key quantum algorithms and their…

qiskit.org

6. Blockchain: The roller coaster ride will continue

Blockchain (Distributed Ledger) is also one of the major disruptive technologies developed in recent times. Technology-wise, it has the potential to change the whole industry. Although Cryptocurrency played a major role in popularizing the technology. It also played a major role in moving the Technology in the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” in Gartner’s Hype Cycle curve.

Many rogue entities capitalized on the popularity of Bitcoin and created scam projects to cheat common people who wanted to be rich in a short time. Now Blockchain is going through the “Trough of Disillusionment” of the Hype Cycle curve. Also, Governments are interfering in Cryptocurrencies to prevent scams. Recently the Chinese government has seized a Cryptocurrency scam “Plus Token Ponzi”:

Cryptocurrencies worth billions of dollars have been seized during the police crackdown on the PlusToken Ponzi scheme…

www.coindesk.com

Facebook released its Cryptocurrency Libra in 2019 but got intense regulatory pressure in 2020:

Facebook will no longer make the proposed Libra cryptocurrency the centerpiece of its big blockchain and digital…

www.theverge.com

Other open-source Blockchains like Ethereum are putting a Code in the Block, making it possible to use it as a smart contract, which is the future of Blockchain.

In 2021, Blockchain will be used more as a Smart contract mechanism, and hopefully, it will enter the “Slope of Enlightenment” phase. Blockchain will get a major boost in 2021, as China has put it in its ambitious 500 Trillion “New Infrastructure” plan:

by in Blockchain Blockchain has officially been included in China’s “new infrastructure” together with other emerging…

news.8btc.com

7. Artificial Intelligence: AI will be for all

As one of the hottest Technology in recent times, AI has also seen many breakthroughs in 2020. Another interesting trend is that AI slowly started to enter all sectors with the slogan “AI for all.

In the natural language processing domain, GPT-3 was the biggest breakthrough that came in May 2020. The US company OpenAI created GPT-3, which has made it possible to create human-like text using Deep Learning. Only after four months, the entire world was simultaneously amazed and shocked when the following Guardian Article was written using GPT-3:

am not a human. I am a robot. A thinking robot. I use only 0.12% of my cognitive capacity. I am a micro-robot in that…

www.theguardian.com

In 2021, there will be a breakthrough in Natural Language Processing, where AI will write articles or write small software programs.

The other interesting development was AutoML 2.0which enables Automated feature engineering. In 2021, there will be a major advancement in Full Cycle AI Automation and more democratization in AI.

AI is not unbiased, and ethical AI is getting more traction. Another major trend in AI is explainable AI, which will need an explanation for why AI has taken a certain decision. In 2021, there will be major progress in these fields as the EU has set regulations to explain AI’s decisions.

AI will also see major adoption in the Aviation industry in 2021 and beyond. Only a few days ago, the US Air Force used AI as Co-Pilot to fly an Aircraft:

One of the Air Force’s oldest planes became the first military aircraft to fly with artificial intelligence as its…

www.airforcemag.com

AI will also be the centerpiece in Chinese digital-based infrastructure for the future:

China’s latest set of technology goals for the next decade have been assimilated into an initiative launched this…

www.enterpriseai.news

Expects lots of mind-blowing innovations and democratization in AI in 2021.

8. Deep Learning Library: It will be TensorFlow 2.0 and PyTorch

Google and Facebook are the two dominant players in Deep Learning and Neural networks. Google’s key business is searching capability, and it is the leading innovator in Natural Language Processing. Facebook’s key business is a social network, and it has to handle Images, Videos, and Text. In Image processing, Facebook is the tech leader with many innovations.

TensorFlow from Google was the leading library in Deep Learning, but everything changed in 2016 when Facebook released PyTorch. PyTorch used Dynamic Graph instead of Static Graph (used by TensorFlow) and more Python friendly. Google reacted by creating TensorFlow 2.0 in 2019, which copied many PyTorch features (Dynamic Graph, Python friendliness). It also works perfectly with Google’s Collab, a very modern and powerful Notebook. Since then, Google enjoyed the upturn of TensorFlow 2.0’s popularity. Currently, TensorFlow is the most popular Deep Learning framework, according to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 2020.

In 2021 also, TensorFlow 2.0 and PyTorch will be the “go-to” library for Enterprises and communities. Companies with an existing TensorFlow codebase or who want to use Collab Notebook should use TensorFlow 2.0. Companies or individuals new to Deep Learning or who want to continue with Juypter Notebook should choose PyTorch.

9. Data Store: One size will not fill all

The modern Database landscape is full of choices and wide variations. We have the classical SQL Databases, mainly the big four databases: MySQLOracleMS-SQLPostgreSQL. We also have the NoSQL databases, which mainly comprise a family of Databases: Document, Key-Value, Wide-Column, Time-Series, Search, Graph. There are also many other types of Data Stores.

We have recently seen an upsurge of the so-called Globally distributed ACID transaction databases or NewSQL databases. Google is the leader here with its Google Spannerthe first horizontally read/write scalable ACID compliant database. Amazon also has a horizontally scalable ACID-compliant database Amazon Aurora which offers almost all SQL features but no horizontal write scaling. Outside the Hyperscale Cloud providers, CockroachDB is also a very prominent NewSQL or Distributed SQL Database.

In 2021, the Data Store eco-system will remain as it is now with many options. There will not be a Master database that can serve all purposes. In 2021 also, choosing the right database would be a very challenging task with careful consideration. I have written a blog post that can help you find the right database for your application in 2021:

MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, MongoDB, Redis, Elasticsearch, Cassandra, MariaDB, IBM Db2

towardsdatascience.com

Many popular Databases have changed their licenses (MongoDB, Cassandra, Redis, Kafka) as the Hyperscale Cloud providers, especially Amazon, have abused their innovations and earned money without paying back. The trend will continue in 2021, and other startups or innovative companies will use more restrictive licenses to protect them from the preying Cloud providers.

10. Data-Intensive Computation: Spark will remain the leader

Only a few years ago, Hadoop was the default choice for Data-Intensive Computation or Distributed Batch JobsApache Spark is currently the Vendor Neutral Distributed Batch Jobs platform of choice and almost replaced Hadoop in most cases.

The trend will continue in 2021, and Spark will be used as the preferred platform for Data-Intensive Computation. Spark is a JVM-based system that is resource hungry, and you will get a huge Cloud bill. But unfortunately, there is no resource frugal Framework of Spark’s power and maturity on the horizon.

All the major Cloud providers have their own Cloud Native solution to make Data-Intensive Computation. My two-cent advice will be to use Spark over Cloud specific solution in 2021 to avoid vendor locking.

11. Real-Time Streaming: Flink will be the obvious choice

In recent years, Real-Time streaming is becoming increasingly popular as enterprises are throwing away the traditional Lambda Architecture in favor of Real-Time stream processing frameworks.

Also, two types of frameworks exist here. The one is Micro-Batch based platform led by Spark Streaming. The other one is the Low latency stream processing platform led by Apache Flink.

Apache Flink edges out Spark Streaming for the scenarios where you will need real-time streaming (fraud detection, anomaly detection, rule-based alerting, Ad-hoc analysis of live data).

All Hyperscale cloud providers offer their own solutions as well. I would advise choosing Flink over Spark or proprietary Cloud solution in 2021 as it has unmatched power and capabilities in real-time stream processing.

12. Data Platform: Others will follow Snowflake

Modern data architecture is quite complex. It contains Data Sources, ETL pipeline, Data Warehouse, Data Lake, Data Analytics tool, and many more components. Here is an example use case of Enterprise Data Platform (ABM AMRO’s data Platform):

Snowflake has revolutionized the modern Data Architecture by providing one Centralized data source, one platform, and built many different workloads on it. In classical architecture, the data need to move in different stages, but there is only one “Source of Truth” of Data in Snowflake.

It is not the perfect use case for all. But for many, it will democratize and empower the Data Platform and Data Warehouse. It has already shaken the Data Warehouse market as shared by Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison:

While chiding red-hot Snowflake as “the market’s current darling,” Oracle chairman Larry Ellison underscored that the…

cloudwars.co

In 2021, I expect more innovations to bring Snowflake like one single Data Platform for Enterprise use cases. It will be a great help and game-changer for many companies.

13. Rapid Application Development: Low Code/No-Code will expand

Rapid digital transformation is creating an enormous gap in terms of supply and demand for Software Engineers. Although more and more new developers are joining the industry, it is still not enough. In recent years, the Low Code/No Code initiative is gaining momentum.

There are many low code/no-code platforms in the market, mainly in Web development like Bubble. Their success paved the way for LCNC development in other areas also: No-Code App Development, No Code AI, No Code Machine Learning. LCNC tools can boost business or people with great ideas as written here:

Whether businesses need to fill developer gaps or cut down on development time, low-code platforms are a popular and…

www.techrepublic.com

Also, the Public Cloud providers are offering LCNC services as I predicted last year. Microsoft is offering Power AppsGoogle is offering AppSheetand AWS is offering Honeycode as an LCNC platform to build apps rapidly.

In 2021, LCNC will be one of the hotly contested fields with lots of innovations, mergers, and acquisitions. If you are an individual or enterprise with a great idea, watch out for LCNC in 2021.

14. Software Architecture: Microservices, Monoliths, Serverless will co-exist

In recent years, Microservice Architecture became the preferred choice in large-scale Enterprise Application development. However, designing Microservice Applications is more Complex than a “One size fits for All” Monolithic application. Microservice Architecture needs a set of best practices, as I have listed in the following article:

10 Tips to implement Microservice Architecture the right way

towardsdatascience.com

Like any other Software Architecture, Microservices also has use cases where it excels and corner cases where it fails. It also needs a set of design patterns, as I have summarised here:

Microservice Architecture, Database per Microservice, Event Sourcing, CQRS, Saga, BFF, API Gateway, Strangler, Circuit…

towardsdatascience.com

In recent times, there is a backlash against Microservice Architecture for its complexity and failure in certain use cases. The great Kelsey Hightower has summarized the critic to Microservices in the following Tweet:

It contrasts with the trends we had seen a few years ago when Monolithic Architecture was criticized and deemed old-fashioned. In reality, Monolithic Architecture is also a great Architecture where it fits the best as I have put in the following post:

A reality check of the Modular Monolithic Software Architecture in Modern software development

towardsdatascience.com

Another Software Architecture that got much hype in recent years is Serverless Architecture. Amazon has pioneered the Serverless Compute service with its groundbreaking AWS Lambda service where the developer only writes code and the Service provider manages the Server. It is also an Architecture that is hyped by some and criticized by others. Like Monoliths and Microservices, Serverless is also no Silver Bullet and should be used where it fits (e.g., event-driven and bursty load).

In 2021, all the Software Architecture (Monolith, Microservice, Serverless) will coexist as all of them had their own use cases, pros, and cons. I would advise choosing Microservices for large-scale Enterprise development (where SOA was traditionally used), Monoliths for small-scale development, Serverless for event-driven and bursty loads.

15. Programming (mainstream): Python and JavaScript will lead the roost

The programming language landscape is also going through major changes in recent years. The traditional heavyweight programming languages are losing their market share to the easier and developer-friendly programming languages. In January 2020, I have made an extensive analysis of the in-demand languages and placed Python and JavaScript in first and second place, respectively:

In-depth analysis and ranking of the top programming languages for job seekers and new developers

towardsdatascience.com

Finally, the most popular programming language ranking site TIOBE acknowledged the change and placed Python higher than Java:

Editor at TechForge Media. Often sighted at global tech conferences with a coffee in one hand and laptop in the other…

developer-tech.com

As the Software development industry is booming and a huge percentage of new developers join the industry, the easier, developer-friendly programming languages will be more popular in 2021.

Python is the number one programming language in Data Science and number 2 or number 3 language in almost all other fields except low-level programming.

JavaScript is the undisputed number one language in Web development and increasingly popular in other domains, including Backend development. It is also a perfect language for beginners.

Java is slowly losing its popularity as the most popular programming language. However, with its legendary backward compatibility and embracing changes (6-month release cycle, polyglot Virtual Machine GraalVM), it will remain the number one choice in Enterprise Software development.

C++ is another mainstream programming language which is going through major changes in recent years. C++20 was released only days ago, and it will completely change the way C++ was programmed until now. It is one of the most disruptive C++ releases in recent years and can hugely impact its popularity in 2021 and beyond.

In 2021, the mainstream programming Languages will hold their own, although they will feel pressure from the modern programming languages.

16. Programming (modern): Rust will finally arrive

Another interesting trend in the programming language landscape for the last few years is the rise of modern programming languages. The older languages have past baggage and cannot move fast (Java) or become even more bloated and daunting by adding more and more features (C++).

The modern and newer languages are free of past baggage and can fulfill today’s developers’ demands. Most of them focus heavily on developer ergonomics and support modern features like type inference, null safety, expressiveness, conciseness. Many of them are also designed to take advantage of modern hardware and modern Infrastructure (Cloud, Multi-Core, GPU, TPU).

The modern programming languages led by Rust, Go, Kotlin, Swift, TypeScript are gaining more popularity in each passing day, as I have predicted in the following post:

How Rust, Go, Kotlin, TypeScript, Swift, Dart, Julia can boost your career and improve your software development skills

towardsdatascience.com

The trend will continue in 2021 as well, as they are among the fastest-growing languages.

Among them, Rust will make a breakthrough in 2021 as the industry is finally taking note of it. For the last five years, it is the most beloved programming language according to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey.

Tech Giants are finally using Rust instead of C/C++ for security-sensitive and complex projects. Microsoft recently declared that they would use Rust to fix security bugs:

Microsoft has explained why it’s pursuing ‘safe systems programming’ through efforts like its experimental…

www.zdnet.com

Only a few weeks ago, Amazon declared to invest heavily in Rust and gave their reasoning here:

No, it’s not some strange deal on the mineral exchanges. After Mozilla threw the amazing Rust language under a bus, it…

www.i-programmer.info

Google’s Go is already a mainstream and established programming language. With lots of improvement scheduled for the Go 2 release, it will gain even more popularity in the future.

JetBrain’s Kotlin has already established itself as the second most popular typed programming language in the JVM ecosystem. In Android App development, it has already surpassed Java:

When we announced Kotlin as a supported language for Android, there was a tremendous amount of excitement among…

android-developers.googleblog.com

Microsoft’s TypeScript has firmly established itself as the typed alternative to JavaScript. Recently, it has seen a gigantic leap in popularity as many complex projects (e.g., DenoVue.js) are preferring TypeScript over JavaScript:

TypeScript popularity surged in GitHub’s annual Octoverse report, one of the most comprehensive developer-oriented…

visualstudiomagazine.com

Apple’s Swift has already replaced Objective-C as the preferred language in macOS and iOSIt also sees adoption in other areas.

Backed by the Tech giants, expect modern programming languages, including Rust, will gain more traction, popularity, and use in 2021.

17. Client-Side Web Frameworks: React will continue to Rule

Most of the User-oriented Enterprise applications are Web or Mobile applications. In Web development, the JavaScript/TypeScript based Client-side Web frameworks are dominating for several years now. The trend is to use JavaScript frameworks for UI development and Server-Side frameworks for Backend development where Front-end and Back-end are separate Services.

Facebook’s React is the leader among the Client-Side web frameworks. It is the trendsetter and most widely used framework in the industry. If you want to know more about the JavaScript-based Client-Side frameworks, then you can read my following article:

In-depth analysis and ranking of the top JavaScript frameworks for modern JavaScript front-end development

medium.com

React is by far the most downloaded Client-Side JavaScript framework, as shown below:

Source: NPM trends

Although React is not the most popular Web framework, that honor goes to another JavaScript-based Web framework, Vue.js:

Source by Author

It is also the number one framework in China as the creator of the Vue.js (Evan Youis a Chinese ex-Google developer. Unfortunately, this Chinese connection raises security concerns among large enterprises, and the adoption of Vue.js in the US/Europe is relatively low.

Google’s Angular is lagging React and Vue.js but is still a solid framework. However, the most revolutionary Web framework in recent times is Svelte. Unlike other frameworks, Svelte is a no-runtime framework and focuses on the compile step.

In 2021, all the major JavaScript-based frameworks will learn from each other and adapt features from others. They will converge even more in 2021.

18. Server-Side Web Frameworks: Spring and ASP.NET Core for Enterprises

Server Side frameworks are end-to-end frameworks that offer end-to-end Web development, including view layers via Server-Side rendering. But as already mentioned, the trend in modern times is to use them for Backend only.

JVM-based Spring framework is the number one Server-Side framework in Enterprise development. It also provides all necessary features to develop small and large, complex applications: Inversion of Control, Dependency Injection, Cloud Native development, Reactive, and Event-driven application development, Rapid Application Development. In 2021 also, Spring will remain the number one backend framework for enterprises. In a previous post, I put Spring as the number one Server-Side Web framework:

React, Vue.js, Angular, Spring, Django, Ruby on Rails, ASP.NET Core, Flask, Express.js, Laravel

towardsdatascience.com

Microsoft’s ASP.NET Core is another compelling polyglot Web framework and works seamlessly with popular JavaScript frameworks (React, Vue.js, Angular). In 2021, ASP.NET Core will be a major player in Server Side development for enterprises.

Many startups and small companies want to have an end-to-end framework including the View layer, for rapid application development. Python-based DjangoPHP Laravel, and Ruby on Rails will be excellent options for them in 2021.

19. App Development: Native App will continue to dominate

Smartphones are now a part of our daily life. The number of Smartphone Users is already 3.5 Billion, and it will become 3.8 Billion next year:

Source: Statista

As a result, Mobile Apps are becoming increasingly important for end-users, especially for the younger generation.

In Mobile App development, there are four major trends: Native App Development, Cross-Platform App Development, Hybrid App Development, and Cloud-Based App Development.

Native App development gives the highest flexibility with the best performance and user experience. But it is most expensive to develop as enterprises need to keep two separate teams.

Cross-Platform App development is becoming increasingly popular, as almost the same codebase can be used for both iOS and Android App development. Although the development cost is low, it is less flexible and not as performant as the Native apps.

In recent years, Cloud-based Apps are getting more popular where the Data and the main business logic remains in the Cloud. A device-specific thin client is developed which connects and fetches data from the Cloud. While it is a better choice for Data savvy applications, it is not mainstream for normal App development.

Native app development is still the better choice for normal app development for enterprises, although Cross-platform app development is catching up. In 2021, Enterprises will prefer Native app development, whereas startups and small companies will prefer Cross-platform app development.

20. Cross-Platform App Development: React Native will dominate, but Flutter will catch up

Cross-platform app development is getting increasingly popular as it is less expensive. There are many Cross-Platform app development platforms in the market, but Flutter and React Native are the leaders:

Facebook’s React Native is based on the most popular JavaScript-based Web development framework, ReactIt has the slogan “Learn once, write anywhere.” Facebook is actively developing React Native, and they test its features with 2.7 Billion Facebook users. If a company already has React for Web development and React Native for App development, they can share the components and codebase between Web and Mobile development. Also, React Native is based on JavaScript, which is one of the most popular programming languages. Currently, React Native is more popular than Flutter.

Source: Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 2020

In 2021, React will dominate the Cross-Platform App development as there will be a major update in React and React Native performance.

Google’s Flutter is a relatively newer framework but became immensely popular in recent years. It offers a powerful UI toolkit for building beautiful, natively compiled mobile, desktop, and web applications from a single code base. However, Flutter is not yet a major framework in Web development like React. Flutter uses a modern programming language, Dart, one of the fastest-growing and highly productive programming languages. In terms of performance, Flutter has edges over React Native. It also offers better developer ergonomics, and developers love working with Flutter:

Source: Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 2020

Unlike Facebook, which puts all its weight behind React Native, Google has many frameworks in Web and App development (e.g., Angular for Web) and not putting all its weight behind Flutter and Dart.

Considering everything, I predict React Native will edge out Flutter in 2021 as Facebook is planning major performance improvement in React Ecosystem, the Achille’s Hill for React Native.

21. API: REST for Business Applications

Microservice Architecture and Serverless are becoming increasingly popular in recent years. The Microservices or Nanoservices need to communicate, and usually, Synchronous communication is used over event-driven, asynchronous communication. Even the traditional Monoliths communicate via synchronous communication.

REST is the most dominant API technology in 2020. REST is a communication standard based on Web technology. It is in the industry for quite some time now (20 years). REST and SOAP arrived almost simultaneously, but where SOAP is almost deemed legacy technology, REST continues to rule. Whether it is a large enterprise or a small startup, REST is everywhere. In 2021 also, REST will continue to dominate.

There are also some excellent candidates in the API domain. The most prominent one is Google’s gRPCUnlike REST, gRPC is an RPC protocol like SOAP. Google has learned the lessons from the older RPC protocols, and created gRPC suitable for modern Software Development needs. Instead of JSON, gRPC uses highly performant messaging format Protocol Buffers(also developed by Google). As a result, gRPC is more performant and less readable compared to REST. In Machine-to-machine communication, it is the obvious choice.

Another API technology that is getting increasingly popular, especially for UI developers, is Facebook’s GraphQL. Often the UI needs to make lots of API calls to the backend for getting all the data it needs. GraphQL allows aggregating the APIs to reduce the chatty communication between the UI and the Backend. One major drawback of GraphQL is that it is not suitable for high-security concern development.

All three have actually separate use cases and can complement each other, and the trend will continue in 2021.

Conclusion

Here I used current trends, data, and facts to make twenty-one predictions about the most important Software development trends for 2021. The whole Software Development industry is much bigger, and I could not cover many important areas.

Also, I have briefly discussed some topics, e.g., Data Store, which needs a separate article. On the other hand, I have written in more detail on some topics. Another interesting fact is how the four Tech Giants: Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft, are dominating almost all areas of Software Development. I hope this article will give you a 360-degree overview of the Software development trends lying ahead in 2021.

Software Architect | Tech Writer | Full-stack | Cloud | Big Data | Follow Me On Social Media: https://twitter.com/KamaruzzMd

 

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