A few predictions for development in 2018.

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Andy, Duncan and Georgy lead out this month with modularity, serverless computing and DesignOps. We’ll follow this up with another 4 things to watch next month. 

Flexibility, reusability and configurability.
Three years is a long time in development, and it has now been just over three years since the first lonely commit for dnadesign/silverstripe-elemental was pushed to GitHub. The slow grind of iteration has transformed a thought into a tactic, a tactic into a strategy, and now the strategy into an official commercially supported SilverStripe module. In fact, it's possible the butterfly effect of this original thought may come to be one of DNA's most significant open source contributions. 

The adoption of Elemental by our favoured CMS creators represents no small achievement for our module and a real watershed moment for content creation in SilverStripe. The flexibility, reusability and configurability of this design pattern has paid off for DNA many times in the past across some huge projects, one of those being WellingtonNZ.com alongside countless other sites of scale, as well as a number of small instances. Now, with its ‘official' endorsement, Elemental will soon come to hold a position of dominance in the choice of editing approach for years to come.

Elemental goes further to bridge the gap between designers and developers, offering opportunities to create systems of reusable components from prototype all the way through to back-end code. The efficiency gains are felt all the way up the food chain. The modularity also provides opportunities to share between teams of the open source variety and we're looking to focus more energy on this in the coming year. 

Andy Dover _ Technical lead.



Serverless Computing in 2018.

One of the latest crazes in the web application industry is serverless computing. Just as virtualisation and containerisation changed the way we think about deploying and managing web application infrastructure, serverless computing promises to shift the proposition between website developers and hosting providers. Known also as Function as a Service (FaaS), it brings us a step closer to the dream of being able to design, develop, and run as it does away with the traditional processes around negotiating managed hosting agreements, platform configuration, and server provisioning. It's a move from "dev-ops" to "no-ops". At its heart, it's about running business logic when required, but also about doing nothing else when not required; essentially, you're not using any CPU time when there are no requests being processed, and you won't have to worry about whether your current Platform as a Service plan will be able to scale to keep up with demand.

Traditional platform management is unlikely to become a thing of the past, however. Serverless computing may not necessarily provide any benefit for those longer running background processes. Additionally, in many situations, you really do want control over the exact computing resources behind your service. It seems likely, then, that the architecture of the modern web application consists of a combination of serverless computing and traditional platform services. Cloud service providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are supporting this view as they aim to bring Amazon Lambda (https://aws.amazon.com/lambda/), Azure Functions (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/functions/), and Cloud Functions (https://cloud.google.com/functions/) products in line with their other cloud-based offerings.

DNA clients will begin to benefit from the advances of these “big three” as our development processes iterate towards this future of computing. We expect to build websites that run more efficiently, get updated more frequently, and scale more elegantly.

Duncan Rumbold _ Senior Developer.

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DesignOps.

2017 saw a new movement starting to get traction in the design community. DesignOps, largely inspired by DevOps, a practice that once brought together engineering and operations, tackles a similar problem - the separation between design and development.

Advocated largely by product companies (Airbnb, Uber and Digital Ocean among many others) having to maintain large design systems across multiple platforms, DesignOps is just as important to digital agencies where “design handoffs” are often a bottleneck in the process.

DesignOps brings changes to processes and new innovative tooling such as Storybook and React Sketch.app to make delivering design iterations quicker, with less friction, using common infrastructure that facilitates closer collaboration between designers and developers.

Georgy Malanichev _ Developer.