January 10, 2021
How to build a future proof app
The perception that building an app is a one-time thing that ends after it becomes available on AppStore or PlayStore is a very, very wrong approach. To create an app that will reach its full potential and become future proof, you need to think of it as a long-term investment that requires a smart strategy.
Most software applications survive for a relatively short period of time. Usually, they become outdated when a competitor releases a more sophisticated version with features that are more user-centric than the previous one. For example, most users stopped using Snapchat when Instagram introduced Stories.
Organizations are gradually looking for new technologies to outpace and win over their emerging rivals, from AI and big data to serverless. However, most of them are spending their time on fixing legacy code from the past instead of focusing on more strategic actions that can result in future proof software.
How to create software that can guarantee success in both short- and long-term? These tips can help you:
Create standardized management and development processes
Development teams have to handle various application types. You need different processes for monolith applications in comparison to microservices, for example. Handling different application stacks can result in isolated operations that you have to manage separately.
Setting up some standards can make this much easier. For example, using containers can help you get portable application pieces you can easily replicate. This will eliminate the need for building everything from scratch for each new project. However, to take things one step further, you can start using automation platforms. They have the ability to standardize development processes and easily integrate new technologies like microservices, serverless, etc.
Aim for scalable design
Although it’s quite challenging to put it into practice, scalable design is a great way to create a future proof app, if implemented properly. It requires designing in a way that goes beyond what you originally set forward and takes into account the roadmap for your product.
Scalable design involves finding a point that makes room for more product iterations but doesn’t make previous versions incomplete. For example, if you’re initially releasing an MVP, you should always have in mind the features you might add in the future.
Achieving a scalable design could be a real challenge if you aren’t Google. However, it’s not impossible. Choosing the right tools, including multiple servers, dividing responsibilities, and caching are only some of the practices that can get you there.
Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD)
Leveraging continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) means integrating a set of practices that allow development teams to deliver code updates more often, with greater confidence. This is one of the best practices of the agile methodology that contributes to greater code quality and security. Moreover, it enables teams to adapt and iterate according to business requirements.
CI/CD practices aim for smaller code improvements that happen more frequently. However, each release has to add more value to the app. This could mean more useful features, improved functionalities, or design improvements that hold users for a longer period of time. Teams like Spotify, Facebook, and Netflix use this method to test new features quickly and improve their functionalities on-the-go.
Have security in mind since the beginning
To build future proof software, you have to integrate security since the first day of the app development and delivery process, from dev to ops. Your security processes have to be consistent throughout the entire app lifecycle as well as your app portfolio. Moreover, you have to improve your security practices just like you regularly add updates to your app.
However, security layers shouldn’t disrupt your existing workflows. They should work in the background without requiring you to change anything in your processes.
Tip: Try to avoid “vendor lock-in.” This means that you become dependent on a particular service provider without the ability to switch to another vendor. Try to choose a solution that doesn’t tie you up with a particular cloud provider or an application framework.
Keep things simple & easy to change
To developers, good code is the one that can be easily maintained. To make your software like this, use basic design practices, and keep things simple. Don’t overcomplicate and try to separate dependencies. Choose a platform that can automate testing efficiently, which will make adding changes much easier.
If you are able to maintain your software efficiently, it means you have future proof software. You’ll save a lot of unnecessary costs and offer a product that is going to stick for a while.
Make a cultural shift
Changing solely your software architecture or the application frameworks doesn’t provide you with the necessary advantages of agility and scalability. These changes can bring no benefits if they aren’t followed by changes in culture and processes of creation to sustain the new practices. In fact, you won’t achieve much if you’re limited by bureaucracy.
For example, if you decide to adopt the CI/CD approach we previously mentioned, you need to direct your team towards an agile DevOps culture that practices short release cycles.
Choose an experienced tech partner
Making all these changes in your company can take up a lot of time and resources. Choosing an experienced tech partner instead will save you from a lot of headaches and sleepless nights.
By choosing the right development team, you will get a fast release process and an agile development strategy, resulting in a sophisticated, future proof app.
It takes experience, information, and market expertise to create complex and intensely sophisticated software. You won’t have to learn any of this on your own if you have a tech partner. You’re going to have a team of professionals who will put their entire focus on the app instead.
In addition, your development team will take care of all your requirements, assisting you in identifying market trends, opportunities, and future challenges.