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Is Modern Software Development Too Complex?

Whether you know it or not, building and supporting apps can be a nightmare and most people just don't want to think about it! Except us.

We've been thinking about this for almost two decades and we thought it would be a good time to sit down and write about software development and its many complexities. So let's get down and intimate.

4 Key Reasons why Software Development can be too Complex?

These can include but are not limited to:

1. Multiple Devices and Platforms

Hardware, operating systems, browsers, and frameworks oh my! By now, we are familiar with many of the parts that make up the hardware side of software development. From on-premise servers to the multitude of mobile devices that make up the market, there is an endless market of operating systems to contend with on the software side.

Operating systems require updates and can often introduce new UI conventions or depreciate functionality that could disrupt display or just break legacy apps altogether. There is never a guarantee of backward compatibility as updates are downloaded onto our hardware and that doesn't even include the third party libraries or frameworks that are likely used by current applications. This is another layer of software that, while it can reign in complexity in software development, it also requires upgrading. This could lead to compatibility issues that might include vulnerabilities but this is not common. When it comes to the framework, there are rarely major complexities unless the architecture of code needs to be rewritten, even when it comes to the interface in some cases; unless you practice headless commerce which we've written about here.

When it comes to platforms, it can be a matter of timing or effort. If you chose a vendor from a decade ago who is no longer a company, or they changed their tooling too much, you may be forced to re-write your software. Or if you chose a vendor with a locked-down platform and it freezes or no longer serves your needs, you will again have to turn to a new team to start all over. The complexity here can stem from a simple choice to do less work when development began.

whiteboard saying use apis, representing software development complexity


2. UX & UI Expectations

Interface design and user experience have evolved to become the defining factor in brand perception, acquisition, and most importantly, customer retention. For a long time, it was only a matter of having a working web presence that was also mobile friendly. However, user behavior and needs inevitably change over time. The age of mobility and cloud is moving fast and again that means business mentality need to move even faster. Data gives us not only insight into the user but also a way to forecast patterns with actionable insight for a unique experience for sharing and retention.


These expectations and more have become commonplace in adding to the growing sophistication of custom software development and this public-facing part of building the application inhabits many complexities that require layers of integration and agility without disruption to an interface that must remain consistent but modern. It certainly requires much more than just a pretty front page these days! The UX and UI expectations are essentially the virtual first line workers of your business and all the parts that make them unique to your organization must work together seamlessly. Furthermore, advancements in AR and VR, and interactive AI from gesture-based technology to chat bots require ongoing development too.

3. Security

Every new update, integration, or feature will likely introduce more complexity to the back-end and each new form carries with it, more need for security. As you can imagine, this part of software development may seem to be the most complex of all these factors because it's like juggling all these different organic forms that have their own instructions and data and vulnerabilities but are working together to form a whole cohesive operation that will appear and behave the same way no matter where or how it will be accessed. So the software development side must consider all these paths and monitor their health while protecting the data from unauthorized access. Not only is this about security vulnerabilities to external attacks, but the most common denominator in business trepidation toward digital transformation is this idea that cloud-based could mean increased risk and compromised data access.

The reality is that the only way to keep your business and data secure is to keep up with the technology because every new innovation could mean a new form of security and every new update as well. These potential disruptions, attacks, and wide-ranging security issues affect everyone from individuals to large-scale organizations. No one is safe and no one ever wants to be scrambling for short-term solutions to potentially long-term effects.
Security concerns need to always be a concern for your business and there is no better way to stay vigilant than to implement a workflow (or three) that manages these concerns for you and returns a health report. This is one of the largest reasons why the complexity of software development may seem almost all-consuming! But it really only comes down to trusted methodology, partnership, and consistency. These points may seem simple enough, but it begins in the code and how it is written. That means a code audit is the most important first step in establishing the security of your software and how it can be scaled with your business as it grows and branches out into a thriving operation. We wrote more about that here.

4. Scale

It's easy to think here of the costs involved in our relationship to software development. Every software development company seems like a payment company, where you find one and you just keep paying them to do something they specialize in for your industry or their industry. The costs really add up and then when you consider your own business and development work you need to stay relevant, it's enough to just keep your head above water when you see all those support hours!
That is why scaling plays a big role in software development for those companies who are looking to only pay for what they use, when they use it, while also ensuring the integrity of their code is going to be maintained. Rather than giving into the new trends, such as "low code" platforms and other tools that promise to reduce the cost of software by removing bits and pieces and dumb it down, it comes down to finding the right partner to trust in how and when your code is written and how they can help you utilize resources to free up space or maneuver past unnecessary lock-in or contracts to give you the best chance at scalability so you can deliver value through working software.

two people working on a laptop discussing whether software development too complex

 

Final Thoughts

We have just touched on a few major points in the complex nature of software development and the perspective from the back to the front end. As the many platforms expand in cloud and architecture, there has come a growing need for new ways to reduce the complexity for developers.

Over the last decade, the amount of custom code it takes to write most software has been successfully reduced, and with the major growth in cloud-based development, it has only become easier.

From software-assisted development to building an internal platform and standardizing on external services across your organization, there are many great strategies from those inside the machine who are trying to help. This will in turn, improve not only the productivity and livelihood of the people who develop software but also the health and vitality of the code they generate for future projects. But the bottom line is that things change, new conditions will arise to alter norms, and software is always evolving.

Modern software development never truly ends and when it comes to its complexity, there are more than a few ways to look at it. From the back end, it can seem to be a never ending maze of linguistic layers and from the front end, the expectations are just as sophisticated and valued. But, as we have seen innovation bloom in the time of quarantine, so will it bring more solidarity or simplicity to a complex process that we all need.

This is why at CSW Solutions, we are always trying to discover new ways to simplify the complexity of software development by providing a trusted and transparent methodology with our partners. Our gold-certified in-house team means that you never have to worry about who is seeing your data, writing your code, or managing your cloud solutions because you will get to know all of us who will work within your infrastructure and applications every day. It is never too late to choose a partner you can trust to always be in your corner. Software development doesn't have to be too complex for you when you have the right partner. Reach out to us anytime, day or night!

 

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