Software development trends change yearly, and 2023 is no different.
While some trends last and even grow (like artificial intelligence and machine learning), others wax and wane. An example of the latter is augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology.
For years, pundits have denounced AR and VR as a fad or said that the technology wasn’t mature enough to be of value. You may recall the spectacular flop Google made with the Google Glass AR in 2013, but Google is trying again ten years later.
And they’re not the only ones.
Let’s look at what software development trends are still going, which ones have come back, and what trends to keep an eye on in 2023.
AI and Machine Learning
AI and machine learning continue to make headlines. In January, it seemed everyone was talking about Open AI’s ChatGPT.
We’ve seen amazing progress over the last year with AI software like DALL-E. In fact, there were over 25 AI-powered art generators like DALL-E, including Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and Craiyon.
But with that progress have come some messy challenges.
The software developers behind these AIs have been criticized for training their software on copyrighted artwork without getting permission from or paying the artists. Other AI-powered apps seemed to have a bias toward racist and sexist stereotypes.
After significant bad press, Stable Diffusion said that artists could opt out of having their artwork included in the Stable Diffusion training set. Other AI companies have also promised to train future versions of their AIs more ethically.
And now there’s ChatGPT which generates text, song lyrics, and even programming code upon request. It’s the latest AI to capture the public’s attention, but it’s a safe bet to say it won’t be the last.
AI innovation will continue making huge strides forward in 2023. We’ll likely see dozens more creative AI applications before the year ends. The challenge will be to make sure they are ethically trained and used.
Privacy and Security
Over the past few years, consumers have become increasingly concerned about their online privacy.
Multiple massive data breaches have made users more aware of how their information is used and shared. As a result, software developers face pressure to increase the privacy and security of their software.
Data security is one of those evergreen software development trends that will continue to take precedence in 2023 and beyond. Prompted by consumer concerns and new government regulations, companies will continue to add more features to their platforms that allow users to control and manage their data.
By providing these types of tools, companies can demonstrate that they are taking privacy seriously and value their users’ trust.
However, it is not enough for these companies to simply offer more features to protect data. They will also need to implement extra security measures to stay ahead of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks and data leaks.
Cloud computing may seem like an established technology, but it’s still maturing and will continue to advance in 2023. How? It’s hard to predict with any degree of certainty, but the following trends will likely continue to shape the industry:
- Increased adoption of multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies as organizations look to spread workloads across multiple providers for greater flexibility, security, and cost savings.
- Greater focus on edge computing, as more data is generated at the edge of networks and the need to process and analyze this data in real-time grows.
- Continued growth in the use of containers and Kubernetes for application deployment and management, enabling greater scalability, portability, and efficiency.
Cloud computing will become even more ubiquitous and essential for organizations of all sizes and across all industries, as more and more services and applications move to the cloud.
Like AI and cloud computing, mobile-first design has been one of the big software development trends for a while now, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t continue.
Most people now use their phones to do things they used to do on computers. With phones getting increasingly powerful, they’ll become the primary device people use for more and more tasks.
It’s a best practice to design a product for its primary use case. Since phones have overtaken computers for many tasks, the primary use case should be the phone. Very rarely is it more convenient to perform a task on a computer rather than a phone.
If this seems like a radical idea, think about how often you use your phone, and what you use it for that you used to do on a computer.
Hand in hand with mobile-first design is a bigger focus on UX design. As more software trends toward mobile optimization, competition for space on users’ phones will rise. Even niche areas will get more competitive. Apps will need to deliver a great user experience to make the cut.
AR and VR Development
Augmented reality and virtual reality have steadily improved over the last few years, but they haven’t really caught fire. Will 2023 be the year AR and VR finally take off? Probably not … but 2024 might be.
AR and VR were big at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year. CES 2023 featured many AR and VR products from companies like HTC, Meta, and Razer. And not all of them were for consumers; Magic Leap 2, an AR/VR headset for surgeons, also made a splash at the show.
And then there’s the big two: Apple and Google. Apple didn’t have a headset to debut at CES, but many expect them to announce one this spring ahead of the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). And as mentioned earlier, Google revived Glass, its AR headset concept.
With Big Tech investing this much interest in AR and VR, it’s not hard to imagine a surge in AR/VR application development this year. If the technology really takes off, it may diminish the role of mobile app development within a few years. It’s even possible that AR/VR-first design will become a software development trend in a year or two.
Despite failing to deliver, AR and VR still have potential, and 2023 could be the year to start developing products for them.
While none of these software development trends are surprising, they all present some opportunities for business success in 2023.
And while they might not all have the glamour of AR and VR, you may want to keep them in mind as you make your software development plans for this year.