What would the smartphone be without an app? Or some type of computer without computer software? Some may possibly disagree, but I’d say they’re bit more than high priced pieces of wiring and computer chips melded together in a tight plastic shell.
Software applications make the world go round. They’re the gasoline to the smartphone engine, the gust of air to the computer windmill. Without apps, there’s almost no reason for an individual to use a phone for such a thing other than making phone calls and sending text messages. Likewise, there’s almost no that a person can do making use of their computer. It’s the app that puts the word “smart” into smartphone. It’s computer software that gives the laptop its functionality.
But where do we go from here? With millions of software applications and billions of downloads, it’s not hard to assume a major shift coming. And while users might not spot the effects of this shift, the businesses and developers behind the apps will certainly experience key changes. Read to find out why many on the market believe the near future of custom software development won’t be custom at all. (At least maybe not in the way we think of it.)
The Explosion of Apps
To comprehend the future of custom computer software development, you have to start with a company grasp of the current state of the market.
According to the newest reports, you will find an estimated 2.56 million apps in the Google Play Store, 1.85 million apps in the Apple App Store, 669,000 apps in the Windows Store, and still another 489,000 apps in the Amazon Appstore.
Here are some more key statistics and data points:
- Mobile apps will generate around $189 billion in revenue in 2020.
- 21 per cent of millennials open an ap 50+ times each day.
- 49 percent of all smartphone users open an app 11+ times per day.
- The average smartphone user uses 30 apps each month.
There were 178 billion app downloads in 2017. By 2022, experts project you will see 258 billion annual downloads. And while free downloads still make-up the vast majority of all downloads, there are plenty of monetization models app developers can deploy in order to generate revenue (either directly or indirectly) from their apps.
It’s impossible to even come close to estimating the number of standalone applications that exist for computers. We do, however, know that you will find more than 26 million computer software developers in the world – a steep increase over numbers from the last decade. When you account for publicly available software (which are available from a vendor) and internal software that businesses and developers create for their own use, you will find probably above 100 million different applications in existence.
There’s an App for That
If you owned a TELEVISION around 2009, you were bombarded with commercials from Apple. And, typically, they all centered around the now-famous catchphrase, “There’s an app for that.”
Looking straight back, there really wasn’t an app for everything – at least to not the degree that there’s today. (As of 2010, when the iPhone truly began exploding, there have been 250,000 apps in the App Store. For perspective, that’s just 13 percent of the apps that are in the store today. But nevertheless, the trademarked statement has stuck.) But if you fast forward 10 years, we’re now living in a global where apps are ubiquitous.
There are functional apps that help you create a budget, track spending, perform advanced mathematical calculations, video call friends, track business expenses, check always sports scores, read news headlines, check always the weather, get a handle on your home’s smart devices, store photos, take photos, listen to podcasts, buy services and products, sell services and products, play games, gamble, get directions, get a handle on your TELEVISION, order food, and other things you could ever want to do.
There are so many apps that you’ll find apps that let you do absolutely nothing (the app is called “Nothing”) an app that allows you to “count” a million virtual dollars, an app where you could have a fake chat conversation with a bot, and an app which will keep your feline friends occupied with unpredictable movements of random objects.
The simultaneous influx of useful and useless apps is exactly how we know that we’ve reached a spot of critical mass. And on top of that, the expectations regarding user experience are greater than ever.
People was previously happy if an app did something basic like record personal finance information in a spreadsheet. Today, users want an app that takes personal finance inputs and creates an auto-generated budget based on their financial goals and spending habits.
And that’s just smartphone apps. We won’t even get into computer programs and SaaS products. Trying to estimate and add these numbers up would make your face explode.
Here’s the takeaway: We – meaning business owners and app developers – have created a beast. We’ve exceeded user expectations every step of the way and so they expect continued iteration and advancement. (That’s a good thing!) The problem is that the future demand for apps will far outpace our ability to generate custom computer software. Thankfully, we may not have to build up truly custom software.
The Future of Custom Software Development
The future of custom software development won’t be all that custom at all – at least maybe not in the original sense of the word. Instead, experts anticipate there won’t be a have to develop vast amounts of custom code for applications. In particular, a developer won’t need certainly to spend quite a bit of time writing custom code for individual features within computer software and applications.
If there won’t be just as much custom code, how will we get these robust, user-friendly features that people came to know, love, and are expecting? It’s pretty simple, actually. It all comes down to Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
An API, since you may know, identifies a set of protocols, routines, and tools for building applications. They’re available in an assortment of forms, including web-based systems, computer software libraries, and operating systems. But when it comes to app development, you typically see them as a set of requirements that indicate what sort of mobile app can communicate and share data with other apps of computer software.
APIs are every-where today. Almost any functional app comes with an API that enables it to communicate with other apps. And it’ll become even more of an expectation in the coming months and years. As an outcome, the software marketplace will be full of APIs that serve distinct purposes.
This begs the question: Why would developers go through the trouble of writing and coding custom features within an app when they can just plug in an API and have it do the heavy lifting for them?
Companies like DEV.co are operating on lean business models that prioritize innovation and functionality without all of the complicated, time-consuming processes that traditional developers use to produce solutions. It’s a new and exciting wave of digital innovation.
That’s the near future of custom software development, folks. It’s a world where developers combine forces to quickly iterate and offer high-value software and applications which can be, for all intents and purposes, custom, but that are actually woven together via a combination of resources.
How Businesses Can Benefit
For businesses, this shift towards API-based custom software development is a significant one – especially for smaller businesses that haven’t traditionally had the resources they have to develop fully custom solutions. Whether for internal or customer-facing purposes, this new wave of custom computer software development will level the playing field.
A small business no further needs to pay a developer to create a totally custom computer software solution. Instead, they can hire a skilled developer to create a basic framework after which source various APIs to populate different features. It’s a game-changer!
Welcome to the New Age
We’re stepping into a new age of computer software and application development. You can think of it as the democratization of custom development. Developers from all around the globe are now liberated to pick and pull various features to produce custom solutions in a fraction of the time (and at a fraction of the cost). That’s very good news for developers, business owners, and users alike.