What is on our Tech Radar for 2019?

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The new year is officially here and we at Chariot are excited about some of the great work we have planned for this year (including the return of our Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference in April). With 2019 officially kicking into gear, we decided to check in with a few members of the Chariot team who’ve revealed some of the technologies they will be looking forward to working with, or paying attention to, in 2019:

Sujan Kapadia, Director of Consulting:

There are a few things that I’m paying attention to in 2019, starting with “serverless” computing. For years, cloud providers like Amazon have been transforming how we think of data centers, but now they are changing how we even think about servers themselves. Instead of setting up and deploying instances to run your software, you can now focus mainly on business logic and communication. A lot of the details around computing (and storage) are being completely abstracted away, and the notion of a traditional machine is being erased. Ultimately what this means is how you write and architect software will largely be driven by optimizing for this new cloud architecture. I’m interested in seeing where this goes, and how we will need to adapt to it.

Security is something that I will be paying close attention to once again in 2019. You can’t go a week or two without hearing about a significant data breach. This will only become more frequent, as everyday more people are using more third party services, knowingly or unknowingly. How are cloud providers making security a top priority, and how can they “bake it” in to all of their services, such that any development shop can take advantage of the state of the art in security, and stay in compliance with any local, federal, and international laws?

I’m also interested in machine learning. The power of machine learning to find and learn from patterns in our data is mind boggling. The ability to understand human text, speech, images, and video has grown by leaps and bounds. This will transform how we interact with technology, and how technology interacts with us. To ignore it is folly. Here as well, cloud providers are starting to provide machine learning services that anyone can take advantage of, but it’s just scratching the surface.

The underlying theme here is that we should be looking at how the cloud is beginning to provide all of these, and that clients cannot ignore it. If they do, they will surely be left behind.

Aaron Mulder, CTO:

Some of the things I’m looking forward to in 2019 include continuing to expand my use of AWS and its new features, such as Lambda Layers, to streamline my cloud apps. I’d also like to try out Ionic 4 (still in beta at present), because I was always more interested in its components than its Cordova integration, so I’d like to see how well it works decoupled from a specific Angular release and Cordova in v4.

This year, I’m also interested in trying my hand at AR apps, but not very excited about needing separate code for iOS and Android (of course). I also wonder if 2019 will be the year that we’ll finally be able to tie an Alexa device to just one skill, so we could have a dedicated “voice kiosk” at an event, for instance, without requiring the cumbersome “ask my skill name to…” along with everything you say.

Steve Smith, Practice Lead, Mobile:

There has been a lot of talk about cross platform mobile development frameworks in 2018, especially with Google’s release of Flutter 1.0 late in the year. It will be interesting to see if these types of frameworks continue to gain momentum in 2019, or if they only appeal to a very specific set of uses. We have seen the latter occurring more lately with companies like AirBnB and Udacity moving towards the use of ReactNative and then back to pure native for various reasons.

The newer phone OSs have put a lot of effort into ML and AR frameworks. How this changes the types of apps that can be developed on mobile devices could have some real impact on users. It also changes the things companies will be able to do with this new power. How it develops and gets used in the real world beyond gaming could impact the types of apps we are building in the coming years.

Another big trend in 2018 was IoT which seemed to be coming up everywhere. While we have worked with numerous clients on IoT projects, it is interesting to see some standards starting to emerge and mature like OCF. How these standards play out and compete with proprietary solutions like Z-Wave and Zigbee could have a tremendous impact on interoperability between apps and devices. Not only in terms of usage (e.g. smart lights), but also the impact on privacy and security implications across the IoT stack.

Apple is pushing iPads pretty hard as laptop replacements while Google introduced its Pixel Slate that runs ChromeOS, which can also run Android apps. Will 2019 be the year that tablet growth really takes off? It will be interesting to see if there is any uptick in tablet focused development at the enterprise level.

Finally, there is been a good bit of talk and speculation around Google’s Fuchsia OS. Is this a replacement for Android or ChromeOS, or both. Seeing what happens with this project could have a tremendous impact on the Android mobile development space. Or it could just disappear like other Google projects of the past.

Ken Rimple, Director of Training and Mentoring:

2019 will be the year JavaScript really learns to ride a bike in the enterprise. Like it or not, learning the ins and outs of the NPM package.json file, and tools such as Yarn, will help developers better troubleshoot complex dependency trees. The competent developers already understand SPAs and how to run and debug them. The best will also know how to solve ugly problems with the underlying platforms, and the build process and dependency management is one of those messy underbellies of software development. (So, too, are asset management skills with WebPack, style loaders and CSS design, etc…)

We have to answer to our clients, and so the pressure is mounting to get more useful tools and better fluency in this area. Look to the most in-demand skills in this area to be platform troubleshooting and management.

What are technologies that you’re looking forward to working with or paying attention to this year? 2019 is already shaping up to be an important year in tech, and here at Chariot we’re looking forward to playing our role in some of the great things to come. Also, Early bird registration for ETE 2019 ends February 15th, so register today to save $185 on a two-day pass to the Mid-Atlantic’s premier developer’s conference.