IDC: Web and native device app platforms will coexist in 2013

The analyst firm is also optimistic about the adoption of cloud IDEs and heterogeneous parallel processing

"Enlightened coexistence" between Web and native device application platforms will be a key trend in 2013, according to an IDC assessment of how the application development realm will take shape this year.

In a newly released report, "Application Development Predictions for 2013," IDC anticipates continued disruption with mobile platforms usurping client computing and cloud platforms making headway in enterprises. Enlightened coexistence between Web and native device application platforms will prevail, IDC says, and native deployed applications will stay dominant, while Web platform (HTML5) technologies will make significant inroads.

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"We are predicting a bright future for Web technologies, which may someday infuse the majority of mobile applications," says IDC analyst Al Hilwa, author of the report. Web technologies will be supported in development tools that generate installable native apps. These hybrid apps may be written mostly in HTML and JavaScript, using browser components on native platforms and then bundled into "native" applications distributed on application stores. Apache's PhoneGap technology, which is featured in the Apache Cordova project, is one approach to this.

IDC also predicts cloud IDEs will mature for a broader range of software development situations. "As investment in HTML5 and JavaScript continues and the Web further matures, thanks to ever-improving hardware and communication underpinnings, we expect cloud IDEs to also make inroads." Many aspects of application development already have become collaborative and service-intensive workflows best served on the Internet, Hilwa says. Developer clouds, meanwhile, will evolve to offer a broader set of developer services, such as collaboration, social interaction, project and code repositories, and other services.

PaaS (platform as a service) platforms will make inroads into the enterprise by offering private cloud options and stronger operational support. "In 2012, we saw cloud adoption cross an inflection point in terms of larger enterprise adoption," the report says. "In 2013, PaaS will cross the chasm from developer-focused offerings focused on consumer applications to enterprise operation-focused offerings accommodating enterprise applications." IDC also says multitenancy techniques in PaaS platforms will be the subject of experimentation as they become recognized for providing efficiency and density to a successful PaaS.

In other predictions for 2013, IDC says:

  • Mobile application platforms will show signs of diversification, with Google's Android platform exposing weaknesses even as it dominates. New platforms will take hold if they have the right ingredients, focus, and execution.
  • Schedule-based software-release-cycle management will become dominant, gradually replacing feature-oriented release-cycle-management approaches.
  • Device frameworks for integrated multiscreen and second-screen applications will evolve to support usage scenarios that better exploit convergence between personal tablets and shared big-screen TVs.
  • Heterogeneous parallel processing will become more common, with general-purpose applications taking advantage of parallel computation offered by device GPUs.
  • Embedded platforms will start aligning with major consumer device application platforms to leverage developer skill ecosystems.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.