Staying Grounded in the Future of Software#

One idea for where we might be headed...

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While researching topics for my dissertation, I had a lot of ideas about where I can see the software and computing industries heading. They centered on low-code platforms, cross-platform applications, and ubiquitous computing. With those ideas, the pervasiveness of smart technology is only going to increase as users become dissatisfied with the limited form factors of common laptops and smartphones. As I was reading through papers, I felt I was heading in the right direction but struggled to narrow my research question down. I’d completed the literature review and was well into my research proposal by the time I found Richard Campbell’s 2021 NDC talk so it was validating to see someone thinking in the same way I had, someone with far more experience too.

There are three main tenet’s that I’d like to cover by mixing quotes from Richard with thoughts from me, and a conclusion on the significance of this direction for the future that includes how we might be able to stay grounded as virtual worlds outpace our real one.

1. Low-code prevalence will increase

Low code platforms like Apple Shortcuts, IFTTT, Zapier, and many (many!) more besides have empowered end users to create their own automations and software systems without any knowledge of programming. There’s previously been a focus on commercial processes like farming, manufacturing, or document management. With the introduction of machine learning and natural language processing, solutions popped up for low-code IVR too.

Now that

// instead of producing bespoke solutions from the ground up, LCDPs democratize system development by allowing end-users and programmers to collaborate using shared terms. Rule, block, and language based interfaces can bridge the conversational gap between end-user requirements and a developers coding patterns.

2. “Cross-platform first” will become a dominant approach

“XPF”, …anyone? 🙄 Of course, cross-platform tooling has existing for a long time, I’m writing this on the web after all. Xamarin, Kotlin, Flutter, React, and more, have provided means for programmers to …

WebAssembly represents the next evolution of those tools, where programmers don’t have to learn a specific language…

// why is wasm good?

// is wasm good for all use cases? no

// is wasm the final evolution in cross-platform develoment? no, but XPF will become the dominant approach. Whether this be through the web or other tools “WASM 2.0”.

3. Mixed Reality & Wearables are unavoidable

// smartphones do a lot and they do it well. They’re all black slabs though and they haven’t changed since 2007. //wearables are at the point where they can become an even more intimate extension of ourselves than smartphones ever have been. For better or worse is perhaps a discussion for another day…

Why do these technologies matter?

The diagrams below went unused in my dissertation, but I hope they can show you how the three subjects above could be combined to benefit both end-user developers and programmers alike.

Intermediary LCDP Host
Using an intermediary host
On-device LCDP Host
Using an on-device host

// what’s the benefit?

How can we stay grounded?

  1. PerComp is everywhere already in phones, watches, smart city trials, smart homes, bluetooth beacons, etc etc etc.
  2. People are already less and less connected to the real, physical world around them because of this.
  3. Why is this a problem?
  4. As PerComp amplifies with wearable tech like glasses and ???, this problem will only be exascerbated (sp?).
  5. What’s the solution?
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Thanks for reading! 🙂